When I was a kid my mom always used to complain how she had to schlep us around town. Often times she had to be in three places at once and finding alternative transportation wasn’t easy. Not much has changed twenty years later. Talk with any parent today. Many will admit that safe and reliable transportation is one of their biggest challenges. The reality is households are busier than ever and the stay-at-home mom is a relic of the past.
Last October I stumbled across an article in Recode that featured a new startup called Shuddle. The piece described Shuddle as “Uber for kids.” It occurred to me that Shuddle was trying to solve the transportation problem that has haunted families for decades. Several hours later, the article was emailed around the firm because the idea of providing safe and reliable transportation for kids resonated with the group. Everyone agreed that we had to meet this company.
The following month, Rebecca Kaden of Maveron introduced me to Nick Allen, Shuddle’s Founder and CEO. Prior to starting the company, Nick co-founded Sidecar, a popular ride sharing application. At Sidecar, he observed many families were using Sidecar to transport their kids. Upon further research, he discovered that traditional ride sharing companies aren’t built to handle that customer segment. They typically don’t have the right insurance and it’s against their terms of service since passengers must be at least 18 years old. In discussions with many parents, he discovered they don’t trust the existing brands since safety isn’t built into their products. While Nick isn’t a parent, it was clear to me after the first meeting that he was going to build the safest and most reliable transportation product in the world.
So what exactly is Nick Allen building at Shuddle? Shuddle is mobile service that enables parents to schedule rides in advance for their kids (Appstore). Before booking a trip, parents can receive details on each ride including the driver bio and estimated fare. Currently 100% of Shuddle’s drivers are women with experience in caregiving (teachers, nurses, etc.) and a desire to make additional income. In addition to their vetted drivers, there are a number of safety featured baked into the service including: review driver ahead of time, secret passcode to enter vehicle, SMS notifications and GPS tracking, live 24x7 phone support, driver performance monitoring and several others. The service, which is only offered in the Bay Area, has delivered thousands of rides to date and the early customer feedback has been glowing.
After spending the last three months getting to know Nick and the business, I’m incredibly excited to announce that RRE is leading Shuddle’s Series A with participation from Accel, Forerunner, Comcast and angels like Tina Sharkey, Trae Vassallo and Semil Shah. The funding will be used to enhance the product, bolster safety and customer service, hire key executives and expand to new regions. This investment underscores RRE’s commitment to the “on demand economy” and builds on our existing portfolio companies such as Breather and Managed by Q. With that said, it’s my pleasure to welcome Nick and his team to the RRE family. We’re pumped to help you build a category defining company that will help provide safe and reliable transportation for tens of millions of families across America.
Schlaf Co. | Musings From A Coach Newsletter
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