Uber for Kids: HopSkipDrive Brings in $37M

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is dot.LA's 2022/23 Editorial Fellow. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

Man and child riding in car
Courtesy of HopSkipDrive

In a Series D funding round, youth transportation startup HopSkipDrive raised $37 million to continue modernizing school transit.

The round was led by Energy Impact Partners, Keyframe Capital, FirstMark Capital, Alumni Ventures and Transform Capital. Having partnered with 400 school districts across 12 states, the Los Angeles-based company will use the cash infusion to build out its RideIQ platform, expand to new markets and reach more school districts.


“This funding fuels our path toward achieving our vision of a modern school transportation system, one that is safe, equitable, efficient and resourced to give kids the opportunities they deserve with both in school and after-school activities,” HopSkipDrive co-founder and CEO Joanna McFarland said in a statement.

Launched in 2014 with the intention to provide transit options for young people, HopSkipDrive’s RideIQ offers ride visibility for on-demand or pre-planned rides. Rides can service groups or individuals, and routes are optimized to focus on underserviced areas, allowing traditional bus drivers to pick up students along the busiest paths.

Replacing underutilized bus routes with smaller vehicles can help reduce the carbon footprint of school transportation, McFarland told dot.LA in an email. While efforts to electrify school bus fleets are in progress, replacing large vehicles with individual cars can quicken that process and allow hybrid or EV cars to service less busy regions.

“School transportation is not sustainable, especially considering the inefficiencies in current capacity utilization,” McFarland said. “A diesel bus filled with students may balance environmental impact with efficiency, but a mostly empty diesel bus is inefficient and harmful to the environment.”

A HopSkipDrive survey found that 88% of school districts are experiencing bus driver shortages; the company partners with schools to provide alternate transportation options. The company launched in Detroit last month and plans to partner with more school districts this year. It currently services the Seattle and Denver public school systems.

Last year, HopSkipDrive used a $25 million raise to launch in 30 new markets and won startup of the year at dot.LA's second annual startup awards.
https://twitter.com/ksnyder_db

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

K-beauty Entrepreneur Alicia Yoon On Taking the Leap From Corporate Consultant to Starting Her Skincare Brand

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Alicia Yoon in black and white
Alicia Yoon

On this episode of Behind Her Empire, Peach & Lily founder and CEO Alicia Yoon discusses her journey from being a corporate consultant to establishing her own skincare brand as well as the necessity of having an airtight business model to become successful.

Read moreShow less

LA Tech Week: Local Climate Investors Assess and Vet Green Startups

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

LA Tech Week: Local Climate Investors Assess and Vet Green Startups
Samson Amore

In a region known for being a national trailblazer when it comes to climate policies, there’s no shortage of green energy startups in L.A. looking for funding. There’s also a plethora of investors and incubators, which means founders looking for cash flow should be extra specific about their value proposition when they pitch to cut through the noise. At least that was the message coming from the panelists at the UCLA Anderson School of Management on Tuesday.

Read moreShow less
https://twitter.com/samsonamore
samsonamore@dot.la
Here's What People Are Saying About Day Two of LA Tech Week
Evan Xie

L.A. Tech Week has brought venture capitalists, founders and entrepreneurs from around the world to the California coast. With so many tech nerds in one place, it's easy to laugh, joke and reminisce about the future of tech in SoCal.

Here's what people are saying about day two of L.A. Tech Week on social:

Read moreShow less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending