HopSkipDrive -- "Uber for Kids" is Expanding to Denver

Uber's partnership with HopSkipDrive is expanding to Denver. HopSkipDrive is a Los-Angeles venture started by three mothers that sought out a rideshare solution with babysitting services for their kids and came up with the HopSkipDrive rideshare idea that Uber decide to integrate into their services too.

HopSkipDrive has been active since 2014, so they have racked up some quality experience and perfected their service. The main difference between HopSkipDrive and Uber driver requirements are that HopSkipDrive demands drivers have at least 5 years of child-care experience as well as passing a 15-point background check, the applicants must also agree to a fingerprinting procedure.

Another major difference between standard rideshare driving and HopSkipDrive is that HopSkipDrive monitors their drivers constantly during a ride. This goes beyond GPS location and includes constant messaging to see that everything is all right with the kids and the driver. There is also a HopSkipDrive Pool version that costs $6 per family, while the standard ride fee is $15.

Joanna McFarland, CEO and one of the three founding partners states that "We do far more than most families do to vet a nanny or a babysitter. We really set ourselves apart with our dedication to safety."

So far this company has raised $21.5 million from private investors in 3 rounds, the first was in 2015 where they managed to raise $3.9 million from 6 investors, the second round was in 2016, where they managed to raise a further $10.2 million form, 6 investors, and the last round was in 2017 where they managed to raise a further $7.4 million from 4 investors. The leading investors are Upfront Investors, Pritzker Group investors, Firstmark, and Student Transportation Inc. (STI)

STI distributes 1.25 million children to and from school every day for education systems including the Los Angeles Unified School District. The group chairman Denis J. Gallagher sits on HopSkipDrive's board of directors.

This is a great service, although I never use it. I either take my kids or ask one of the parents of another child. I am still not comfortable with total strangers even if they come with the greatest resumes and backgrounds.

At least Uber is not Uberizing this into a blitz marketing takeover, but on the other hand, maybe they should. I understand that their main issue is driver qualification. I think that if Uber would quickly place this into all markets, just another service, and call for drivers that can meet the strict requirements, it will solidify Uber’s status and give it a leading edge over Lyft. After all, if a Lyft family finds out that Uber offers kiddie services, they would all go over to Uber rather than split the load. If Uber takes a page out of Lyft’s book, then they could offer an “UberFamily” service, where special pricing is given to families that only use Uber for all their needs. I know that this can be problematic, how do you prove they only use Uber, well the answer is simple, give them a deal they cannot refuse.

I think that Uber should expand this service everywhere, its an amazing service and a much needed one.