By Tracey Lien
Los Angeles Times.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Thousands of parents use HopskipDrive and Shuddle (basically Uber for kids) every day. The niche market is growing, and investors have taken notice. For many women in business who are juggling the demands of the office and family, the sharing economy services are real lifesavers!
When Kelly Aluise first heard of HopSkipDrive, a transportation service that parents use to book rides for their kids, she had some concerns.
Like most parents, she was nervous about putting her 12-year-old daughter, Emma, in a car with a complete stranger.
But Aluise, 49, was in a bind: The Los Angeles-area real estate agent was struggling to juggle her full-time job with chauffeuring her daughter to and from swim and surf practices. She was spending almost $200 a week on babysitters to help shuttle her daughter around.
“It was stressful,” she said. “I was in a panic.”
Up in the Bay Area, Mary Inman had a similar problem. Both she and her husband work full time. Their sons, Miles, 14, and Devin, 9, had afterschool activities on different sides of town. She’d heard of a service called Shuddle, often described as an Uber or Lyft for kids, and decided to check it out.
More than a year later, Aluise and Inman are frequent and loyal HopSkipDrive and Shuddle customers (the former is only available in Los Angeles County, while the latter is available only in the Bay Area).
Thousands of parents use the services every day. The niche market is growing, and investors have taken notice.
Last month, HopSkipDrive announced a $10.2 million funding round, led by venture capital firm Firstmark Capital. The Los Angeles company also snapped up the former general manager of Uber LA, Eyal Gutentag, to be its operations chief.