With Every Ending, There is a New Beginning … Goodbye Shuddle

Ridesharing for Kids

One may wonder, is it really the funding that shut Shuddle out or the market?

Other ride sharing startups are on the rise. Let’s take a look at three ride-hailing childcare services: Zum, Kango, and HopSkipDrive.

San Mateo-based Zum debuted mid 2015 in the Bay Area and recently raised $1.5M from investors. Zum was born out of a working mother’s need to be almost ubiquitous, especially for her child. Ritu Narayan had to do something and many other parents were in the same boat. So, she started Zum and functioned as CEO.

This on-demand service caters to children ages 5 to 15. Like Uber, the Zum app allows parents to hail a driver for their child. The app provides driver details: photo, background, tracking, and notification information. Parents are free to choose a suitable companion for their child.

Zum’s app also lists additional services along with a payment tool.

Learning of Shuddle’s demise, Narayan absorbed more than 100 Shuddle drivers and 600 customers. “It has really worked out,” she shared. Zum went the distance by providing additional services. More than delivering the children to their destination, Zum extends the service by offerng caregiving services when needed. If the parent is not available, the Zumers can stay with the child/children. “What we’re building is an on-demand trustworthy platform for family services,” Narayan explained. The services are tailored to the needs of the family.

To ensure familial bonding and trust, families are assigned no more than 6 drivers. Zum drivers pass stringent qualifications before being hired. The interview process is rigorous and background checks from Trustline, the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI are required. A Zum employee must also have years of child care experience and a “clean driving record”. Insurance is provided both for riders and drivers. Now, out of its beta stage, the company is in six Bay Area counties: Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Contra Costa and Marin. Expect them to expand to Chicago, New York, Washington D.C. and 11 other cities in due time.

“It’s a concept whose time has come,” professed Zum user Lesley Matheson, who operates a commercial construction business with her husband. Her kids whose many after-school activities happen one after the other: swimming, trumpet lessons, tae kwon do — ages 7, 10 and 12 is a logistical plea for sanity. “I could end up spending five hours a day in the car,” she expressed. Nannies are becoming a thing of the past. For Lesley, she uses Zum 5-10 times a week, albeit additional child care. “It’s a great tool for a mom who has a career,” she said. “My kids know the handful of drivers for our area; they have their favorites and trust them.” Suffice it to say, Zumers are an extension of a mother’s love. No wonder, services like these are often founded and operated by moms who experienced a need for an extension of what may be dubbed as mommy moments.


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