HopSkipDrive, a ride sharing startup, has raised $3.9 million in seed funding round led by Upfront Ventures along with other participants like FirstMark Capital, Maveron, BBG Ventures and others.
Launched in 2015 by three mothers, HopSkipDrive is a ride-sharing startup that helps kids get from one place to another with thoroughly vetted drivers and a smartphone app. Families schedule rides in advance and can view their “CareDriver’s” picture and their details ahead of time. It works like Uber or Lyft but it’s meant for kids aged 7 and more. Parents can arrange a code word with the driver as an extra safety measure and can also track the ride with the help of the app. They would be notified when the kid reaches the destination. The pre-booked rides starts from $20.
The startup has more than 100 drivers now who have gone through the 15-point certification process, pass background checks and be TrustLine certified with at least five years of experience in child care experience. The company also offers insurance for the kids travelling with them, fingerprints of all its drivers and monitors all the rides in real time. The company wrote in the blog post, “Those naysayers said we couldn’t create a scalable business with safety built into every aspect of what we do. Thousands of rides later, with hundreds of CareDrivers fully screened and fingerprinted and driving on our platform, we are proving them wrong every day. ”
Just like most other companies, the startup plans to expand its operations to additional cities in US and to expand its overall business. The specific locations for expansion has not been revealed by the company.
The business model is slightly different from other ride sharing companies like Lyft or Uber for they have a payment system that allow parents to buy and schedule rides for $20 each. The company gives a discount if the parent schedule a package of rides for their child and the rates fall to around $12 per trip. By trip, it means a trip that is less than five miles distance or around 30 minutes times. If the trip exceeds the limit, the meter begins to add on $1 for every extra mile and $0.50 for every minute after 30 minutes.
While ride sharing apps like Uber or Lyft have become common to fill the space in the market, Joanna McFarland, co-founder of the company thinks their startup HopSkipDrive will beat them as competition because of how they have designed it to be kid and parent-friendly. Also, unlike Uber, the drivers are allowed to drive with their own children in the car which is seen as a safety advantage.