Shuddle, a new service for parents to arrange paid rides for their children, launches today. It will be available in San Francisco and nearby areas including the East Bay and the Peninsula. Shuddle is very on trend; it could be described as an “Uber for kids.”
The San Francisco-based company behind the service has raised $2.6 million in funding from Accel Partners, Forerunner Ventures and Comcast Ventures.
Shuddle is much like the ridesharing services that are now becoming familiar in many cities — UberX, Lyft and Sidecar — except the driver is often a professional nanny.
It was actually created by Sidecar co-founder Nick Allen, who has hired a team of nearly 20 people to make it happen.
Sometimes inspiration to start a company strikes because of a personal passion or pain point. Sometimes the market tells you what company to build.
In Allen’s case, he’s not a parent himself, but he was seeing families use Sidecar to shuttle their kids around, particularly in Los Angeles. Then a widely passed around article came out in the New York Times last year with the headline “Mom’s Van Is Called Uber.”
But these businesses aren’t built for that kind of usage. “They don’t have the right insurance, and it’s against the terms and conditions — you have to be 18,” Allen said. “They’re not built for a third person to monitor the ride.”
So that’s exactly what Shuddle does. Kids can get rides to school, sports practice, a friend’s house, the mall or wherever else their busy parents don’t have time to take them. Just like with Uber and Lyft, the cars making the trips are owned by the drivers; supplemental insurance is provided by Shuddle.
Families pay $9 per month for the service, plus per-ride fees that Allen said would be less than a taxi. For now, Shuddle is not an on-demand service: Families have to schedule rides a day to a week in advance.
Drivers must have childcare experience, get a thorough background check and receive in-person training. Because of those requirements, the company’s first 100 drivers happen to all be women — which is very much not the case on other services, Allen pointed out.
“The human element is important,” Allen said. “Yes, we make an app, but this is your most precious cargo and we take that very seriously.”
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.