HopSkipDrive, The LA-based “Uber for Kids”, has closed a $10.2M Series A round co-led by FirstMark Capital and UpFront Ventures, with participation from existing investors BBG Ventures and 1776, and new investors Greycroft Partners and Pritzker Group Venture Capital.
The company also announced that it has hired Eyal Gutentag as COO, who previously was general manager of Uber’s Los Angeles operations.
As a refresher, HopSkipDrive lets parents pre-schedule pick-up times for their kids with trusted, thoroughly vetted drivers to shuttle them between school or activities. This vetting includes extensive background checks, vehicle inspection, fingerprinting, participation in ongoing DMV checks, and in-person meeting with the drivers.
The company, which has already raised $3.9M in seed funding, will use the new cash to continue expanding beyond LA, as well as strengthen their product development team.
But while the company has set its sights on expansion, how is HopSkipDrive faring in its hometown of LA? Cofounder Joanna McFarland explained that the majority of the “thousands of families” using the service in LA are using it several times a week. And, the top 25 percent of customers are using the service several times a day.
This retention rate is pretty impressive, and shows that HopSkipDrive’s service offerings have become an essential part of many LA-based families’ daily routine.
But with HopSkipDrive’s drivers being so well-vetted, will there be any worry of parents starting to circumnavigate HopSkipDrive and begin hiring caretakers outside of the platform?
McFarland says no, mainly because the majority of HopSkipDrive’s users are parents who only need 30 minutes to an hour of driving each day. If parents were to hire a caretaker outside of the platform, they would probably have to take them on as a part or full-time nanny. Essentially, McFarland thinks that the value proposition of HopSkipDrive is unique enough that parents would rather use the service than hire outside the platform.
When asked about eventual plans to offer other services, McFarland said that they see potential uses cases where other groups (like seniors or people with special needs) could benefit from HopSkipDrive’s secure ride share platform.
But for now, the company is hyper-focused on geographical expansion of their tried and true model of child-transportation.