By Patrick Kennedy
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The “Who’s Driving App” promises to make communication easier and build trusted carpool networks. The key to success is users who invite trusted drivers into their networks.
Busy parents who know the difficulties of arranging carpools for their kids now have a new application, Who’s Driving, to help.
Entrepreneurs Paul and Anne Cramer created the app because as busy parents, they realized there had to be a better way than group text messages to manage rides for kids.
In late August, their Minneapolis-based startup, Who’s Driving Inc., launched its namesake app for iOS and Android platforms in time for the back to school carpooling season. Initial response to the app’s release was strong but the company soon had to pump the brakes on additional development as it hit a funding snag.
The Cramers had contributed about $400,000, and Paul Cramer was also conducting a SAFE investment that has now raised $275,000 of a $500,000 goal. A SAFE investment (simple agreement for future equity) is a form of financing that can attract many smaller investors and are popular among Silicon Valley startups. It’s an alternative to convertible notes and debt financing and generally leads to traditional Series A venture financing round.
A friend of the Cramers with three busy kids brought them the idea a couple of years ago and the idea percolated until the couple had the time and resources to pursue the idea further. One of those key resources was the availability of another friend, programmer Mark Wilkie.
Last year, Wilkie left his job as chief technology officer of New York-based BuzzFeed and moved with his wife and daughter back to Minneapolis. Until recently, he was on the Cramers’ payroll as he built out the app with a team of remote developers in Montevideo, Uruguay.