Busy parents could benefit a lot from ridesharing, but they can’t send their children alone in an Uber until they are 18 years old.
That’s why several startups are trying to build an “Uber for kids” concept, acting as a shuttle to take kids from school to soccer practice or home. There’s HopSkipDrive and Shuddle (which shut down), but now a newer entrant, Zūm is said to be gaining traction.
Impressed with the progress since its early 2016 launch, Sequoia Capital is leading a $5.5 million Series A round for Zūm.
Zūm is becoming a “one-stop shop for busy families,” said Sequoia’s Bryan Schreier. And “they’ve done an especially good job working with schools, in addition to parents.”
Partnerships with schools is one way that Zūm hopes to set itself apart from the pack. The startup has been working with more than 800 schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and Orange County, looking to provide a better alternative to a school bus.
With an emphasis on childcare, CEO Ritu Narayan says there’s “higher trust and safety because we provide a consistent set of drivers to the family.” Zūm hires people with childcare experience like nannies, nurses and teachers.
That’s because Zūm hopes its users will view the service as more than just a way to get their children from one activity to the next. The startup charges about $16 for a single ride and then $6 for every 15 minutes of care. (Group rates are lower per child and there are also monthly plans.)
Narayan says that the newly raised capital will help the business expand in new geographies and also hire more employees in marketing, operations and engineering.