With bus driver shortages, the predictability of getting kids to school on time is no longer a given. While working from home has created more opportunities for flexible schedules, it still doesn’t afford many parents the ability to drop off and pick up their kids from school. HopSkipDrive is the ride service app for transporting kids, whether to school or activities, relieving parents of this duty. The company’s CarDrivers all have a minimum of 5 years of caregiving experience, passed a 15-point certification process, fingerprinting, strict background checks, and undergo continuous DMV and background record monitoring. The startup, founded by three working mothers, places a critical emphasis on providing a dependable service with vetted drivers to allay concerns that parents may have. Since its founding in 2014, HopSkipDrive has served more than 1.4M rides. The startup is focused on expanding to eventually provide nationwide service and is currently live in 21 markets across 12 states. The company also works directly with 400+ school districts and counties to assist with their student transportation requirements.
LA TechWatch caught up with HopSkipDrive CEO and Cofounder Joanna McFarland to learn more about the business, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding, which brings the total funding raised to $123.8M, and much, much more…
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We are excited to announce that HopSkipDrive has raised $37M in Series D funding from Energy Impact Partners, Keyframe Capital, FirstMark Capital, Alumni Ventures, Transform Capital, and others who believe in our mission.
Tell us about your product or service.
Designed by protective moms and driven by caregivers, HopSkipDrive is the leader in innovative, scalable transportation solutions for schools, districts, government agencies, and families. HopSkipDrive’s advanced technology platform and industry-leading operational expertise provide school districts with safety, flexibility, and visibility while helping to create opportunity for all through mobility.
HopSkipDrive currently operates in 21 major markets across 12 states, and has contracts with 400+ school districts and county government agencies.
I started the business in 2014 with two other working moms. We were searching for a solution that would enable us to get our children where they needed to go without compromising our careers or sacrificing our kids’ needs due to busy schedules.
From the beginning, it had to be safe enough for our kids, and we designed it from the ground up with safety in mind. For me, the question was: “What would I need to see to feel comfortable putting my child in a HopSkipDrive ride?” Pretty quickly, we realized the solution we built for families was also an important solution for schools, which often have challenges managing all of the varied transportation needs they have while also dealing with bus driver shortages. Safety is the underlying foundation of our business, and it has helped spur our growth as families and schools nationwide trust HopSkipDrive.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We are modernizing school transportation. Schools spend $28B annually on student transportation, and the system isn’t working as well as it could. Our solutions solve bus driver shortages and give school districts much-needed flexibility to make their student transportation smarter.
What’s your business model?
We are a marketplace platform that matches school districts with highly vetted CareDrivers to make student transportation smarter. Our solutions complement a district’s yellow bus operations to make sure kids have the right vehicle to get to school.
How are you preparing for a potential economic slowdown??
Even in an economic slowdown, kids will need to get to school. Schools will need solutions that are smart, efficient, equitable, and safe. That’s where HopSkipDrive comes in. We help districts get kids to school safely and dependably while helping districts save money and also providing a flexible income opportunity for caregivers.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our investors are excited about our mission, our traction and growth, and our unique approach to solving this problem that is so important and in such a massive industry that is ripe for change
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We grew 3x last year and are on pace to grow 3x again this year. We are already serving over 400 districts in 21 states, and we will increase the number of districts we partner with by more than 25%
What’s your favorite outdoor activity in LA?