Startup Update: HopSkipDrive Raises $7.4 Million In Strategic Funding

HopSkipDrive, and their partner STI, can now expand their services by helping school districts offer rideshare and carpool solutions where it doesn’t make sense to utilize a full school bus.

HopSkipDrive Founders: (left to right) Carolyn Yashari Becher, Head of Policy and People; Joanna McFarland, CEO; and advisor Janelle McGlothin.

HopSkipDrive, the leading ride service for kids, recently announced the closing of $7.4 million in strategic funding led by Student Transportation Inc., an industry leader in school transportation, safety and fleet services throughout North America.  These funds will be used to help HopSkipDrive accelerate growth in new and existing markets and scale its operations to meet an ever growing demand as busy families need help getting kids to school, to after-school activities and back home.

“HopSkipDrive is thrilled to partner with STI and is excited to leverage their expertise in K-12 school transportation,” said Joanna McFarland, CEO of HopSkipDrive. “We help get thousands of families to and from schools safely and dependably every day, and have partnered with hundreds of schools to offer innovative and flexible rideshare and carpool solutions. STI transports 1.25 million children to and from school every day and their investment and partnership is a great validation of not only our service but also our commitment to safety.”

Together, HopSkipDrive and STI can offer schools a full suite of solutions to manage transportation logistics and costs more effectively, including offering rideshare and carpool solutions where it doesn’t make sense to utilize a full school bus both in HopSkipDrive’s existing core markets and potential new ones across North America, or using rideshare to bring groups of kids together to a school bus stop to more efficiently fill bus capacity. This first of its kind partnership demonstrates how technology startups can partner with, rather than disrupt, established legacy businesses.

HopSkipDrive currently helps families get to and from more than 2,500 schools across Los Angeles, Orange County and the Bay Area and has directly partnered with over 200 private, public and charter schools, and non-profit organizations to provide student transportation rideshare and carpool solutions.

Our investment puts us in great company with a visionary, entrepreneurial CEO, plus an exciting, innovative management team. We know they are excited as well to benefit from our expertise, our infrastructure, and valued core competencies in safety, maintenance, procurement and fleet management, let alone the ability to assist them in scaling the business as part of our investment,” stated Denis J. Gallagher, Chairman and CEO of Student Transportation Inc.

As part of this investment, Denis J. Gallagher of STI will join HopSkipDrive’s Board of Directors and will work with the rideshare company to rapidly scale its partnerships with schools in new markets. Existing investors including FirstMark Capital, Upfront Ventures, and other insiders, as well as new investors Skyview Capital and Halogen Ventures also participated in the investment.

Stemming from HopSkipDrive’s demonstrated commitment to safety and reliability, the company has entered into a pilot program with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), the Department of Children and Family Services, and L.A.U.S.D. to ensure students in foster care have the ability to remain at their school of origin even if they have been moved to out of home care.  Through this program LACOE will utilize HopSkipDrive services to transport foster youth from their new home to their school and back again.  HopSkipDrive will work alongside LACOE to offer these services to the community of over 28,000 foster youth in LA County.

“Students in foster care face multiple and sometimes ongoing trauma, including removal from their homes,” said Rachelle Touzard, LACOE project director. “Keeping them in their school with familiar teachers and friends can help minimize that secondary trauma and dramatically increase their potential for academic success. By partnering with HopSkipDrive on this pilot transportation program, students will now be able to remain at their schools when it is in their best interest.”

For more information about HopSkipDrive, please visit www.hopskipdrive.com

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