Creating the First Nationwide Youth Transportation Platform
March 5, 2020 | Scott Murphy
Working parents understand the challenge of finding safe, reliable transportation for their kids. The best available solutions for many families and school districts include sending a bus to pick up just a few children or calling a taxi to bring a child several miles to school. Clearly, these options are inefficient and expensive without providing a sense of security.
Three working moms behind HopSkipDrive, an AVG Portfolio company, seized an opportunity in the market while also providing a meaningful solution for families and school districts. The company is creating the first nationwide youth transportation platform staffed by highly-vetted drivers. This model has produced significant growth over the past few years, thanks to expansion into new markets and contracts with some of the largest school systems in the US.
Flexible Transportation with Vetted Drivers
Parents, schools, and government agencies can use HopSkipDrive’s platform to schedule and coordinate alternative transportation for kids and teens and track them during the ride. These can be single or recurring trips between the childrens’ home, school, or other activities, providing parents and administrators with flexible, reliable transportation options.
All of HopSkipDrive’s drivers are highly-vetted via a 15-point certification process, including a multi-agency background check. Drivers must be at least 23 years old with a clean driving record, drive a 4-door vehicle fewer than 10 years old, and have five or more years of caregiving experience. Families and schools can view drivers’ profiles in advance and monitor the trip in real time using the company’s mobile app.
HopSkipDrive currently partners with hundreds of schools in high-density areas of the US, including districts in northern and southern California, the Colorado-Front Range area, Virginia and D.C., Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth, Arizona, Washington state, and Las Vegas.
Alumni Connections Driving a Deal
The team behind that growth has significant transportation and K12 experience, including previous roles at fleet management company Zonar. CTO Sophy Lee previously worked at Shuddle, a transportation startup with a similar mission that was recently acquired by HopSkipDrive.
Lee is also a Harvard alum. When HopSkipDrive was raising its Series A, she used that alumni affinity to start a conversation with The Yard Ventures, AVG’s fund for Harvard alums.
Since then, The Yard and AVG followed HopSkipDrive’s development and remained impressed with the company’s continued growth. Additionally, the participation of high-profile VCs like Upfront, FirstMark, and Greycroft in the company’s Series B appealed to AVG’s strategy of co-investing with strong lead VC investors. The round was led by Repower Group, a division of Cyrus Capital with expertise and an investment focus in transportation and new mobility.
Our investment was led by The Yard with participation from AVG’s Bascom Ventures (for Wisconsin alums), Chestnut Street Ventures (for Penn alums), Fission Ventures (for Columbia alums), Purple Arch Ventures (for Northwestern alums), Towerview Ventures (for Duke alums), and Waterman Ventures (for Brown alums), as well as AVG’s Total Access Fund.