One of the major issues facing ridesharing companies is transporting young children. With teenagers, Uber instigated the UberTeen ride, but with children, it's a different operation altogether. This is where ridesharing startup HopSkipDrive comes into play. They recognized the problems that parents have when needing that afternoon time after school to transport their kids to and from various activities. The new venture came up with an original idea, instead of worrying which parent or babysitter will accompany the kids, the Uber driver will double as a driver and caregiver.
HopSkipDrive has been operational in Los Angeles and Orange County as well as in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last three years. This silent start-up had already raised $14.1 million and is not raising a further $7.4 million to fund expansion.
The extra $7.4 million comes from HopSkipDrive's school bus alternative partners Student Transport Inc. Other investors in this round include FirstMark Captial and Upfront Ventures.
Upfront Ventures partner Greg Bettinelli stated that HopSkipDrive had unlocked a potentially exponential growth factor when they decided to take on the school bus ride alternative, which has the potential for massive growth all across the US.
Los Angeles Office of Education will also work with HopSkipDrive, asking them to provide rides for foster kids.
The main issue with HopSkipDrive is how they screen their drivers, and CEO Joanna McFarland stated that her company policy was to maintain stringent no negotiation requirements for drivers. They need to be the best of the best to provide a safe ride, a secure and protective condition as well as a stabilizer for kids when alone. HopSkipDrive has 15 points for certification, which is the strictest in the country according to McFarland. One interesting fact is that most of the drivers are female, 99% to be exact and all are above 23 years of age.