SOURCE: HopSkipDrive

HopSkipDrive

July 14, 2015 10:30 ET

HopSkipDrive Raises $3.9 Million to Eliminate the Family Carpool Chaos

The First Rideshare Service for Families Founded by Parents Raises Seed Funding to Scale Operations Throughout Southern California and Beyond

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - Jul 14, 2015) - HopSkipDrive, a family-focused transportation company, today announced it has raised a $3.9 million seed round led by Upfront Ventures with participation from FirstMark Capital, Maveron, BBG Ventures, angel investor Joanne Wilson and others. HopSkipDrive will use this funding to scale operations, further establish its leading presence in Southern California and expand to new markets to help more families get kids where they need to go safely and reliably.

Founded by three moms, HopSkipDrive is a safe, convenient and reliable way to schedule rides with experienced caregivers for children ages seven and up. "We created HopSkipDrive to solve the problem we each faced getting our own kids to school and activities," said Joanna McFarland, co-founder and chief executive officer. "With eight children between us, we were constantly struggling with the need to be in multiple places at once. We designed HopSkipDrive to be safe enough for our own kids to use, and in doing so, have developed a scalable transportation solution that has been game changing for families."

HopSkipDrive launched in late March 2015 after a short pilot period and has seen exponential month-over-month growth. The company has delivered thousands of rides to date all over Los Angeles and has more than 100 CareDrivers(SM) on the platform. HopSkipDrive CareDrivers are parents, nannies, teachers, nurses and other caregivers with a minimum of five years of childcare experience, almost all of which are women.

"We've built in stringent safety measures before and during the ride, as well as behind the scenes that go above and beyond those offered by any other rideshare company," said McFarland. "For example, all of our CareDrivers must pass a rigorous 15-point certification process that includes background checks, vehicle safety inspections by a licensed mechanic, monthly DMV checks, extensive reference checks, driver training and meeting each CareDriver in person. We have unique insurance for transporting kids and a support team that monitors all rides in real time. Plus, we fingerprint all our CareDrivers, and they are all TrustLine certified, the gold standard in childcare background checking -- something no one else in our industry can claim."

Unlike general-purpose ridesharing platforms, HopSkipDrive allows families to schedule rides in advance, as well as view their CareDriver's picture and bio prior to the ride. Families select a code-word that the CareDriver uses to confirm the ride at pick up. Parents can track the entire ride in their app, including receiving notifications when the CareDriver is on their way, at the pickup location, when the ride starts and when the child has been safely dropped off at their destination. HopSkipDrive support staff also monitors every ride in real-time and is available via phone, text and e-mail for parents and CareDrivers. 

In May, HopSkipDrive made ridesharing history by becoming the first, and only, rideshare service to fingerprint every CareDriver on its platform. "Driving kids requires safety features that driving adults may not. People who work in a school undergo fingerprinting as part of their background checks, whereas people who work in a regular office setting do not," said McFarland. "We think it's critical this same standard is applied to ridesharing when children are involved."

"We're excited to invest in a L.A.-based company that's creating a whole new category and solving such a real problem for families," said Greg Bettinelli, Upfront Ventures partner. "HopSkipDrive's founders are a passionate and accomplished team who bring their unique perspectives as parents to this challenge faced by busy families across the country. General ridesharing solutions don't meet the needs of this unique market -- pre-arranged rides, strong focus on safety, and specialized logistics not required for adult riders. We see a real growth opportunity with this differentiated approach."

About HopSkipDrive
HopSkipDrive is a ride service for kids founded in 2014 as a safe, reliable solution for families juggling today's busy schedules. It was created by three professional women who, as safety-obsessed moms themselves, understand the struggle of getting kids to all their activities. HopSkipDrive CareDrivers are carefully hand-picked via the most selective screening process in the industry, a stringent 15-point certification process that includes background checks, vehicle safety inspections by a licensed mechanic, monthly DMV checks, extensive reference checks, driver training and meeting each CareDriver in person. HopSkipDrive is the first and only rideshare company that requires every CareDriver to be fingerprinted and registered on TrustLine -- the gold standard background check for California nannies and babysitters.

About Upfront Ventures
Upfront Ventures is the largest and longest-serving venture capital fund in Los Angeles having invested more than $1 billion since 1996 in companies such as Maker Studios, TrueCar and Overture. While Upfront is a national investment firm, it invests at least 50% of its capital in Southern California based technology companies from San Diego to Santa Barbara.

To learn more, visit www.HopSkipDrive.com

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