Uber for Your Kids?
Like Uber and Lyft, Kango books rides using an app. But unlike them, most of the rides are booked in advance, and the drivers undergo a much more stringent screening service.
Potential drivers are checked using a number of criminal databases, much like Uber, but Kango also does a personal interview and a fingerprint check, and conducts multiple reference checks. Kango is the only TNC carrier (Transportation Network Company) that’s insured to transport kids of any age.
Most of the drivers are part-time and nearly all are female, often teachers, caregivers, or parents supplementing their income from another occupation.
Currently, an average ride costs about $21 with a minimum of $16. Users pay a monthly charge of $9 per family.
One of the unique features is their app can be used not only for booking a ride, but also for communicating with the driver before, during, and at the conclusion of the ride. The parent can also track the location of the car using GPS.
The app allows the parent to message and call, although for safety reasons, messaging is restricted during the ride. The parent gets notified when the ride begins and when the child is dropped off. The app also allows photos to be exchanged, such as showing the drop-off point.
The parent also has the option of meeting the driver ahead of time and even going along for the ride the first time. Parents are able to specify a particular driver when booking the ride. Cars come equipped with the appropriate child safety seat to comply with state requirements.
The premise of the company is to provide a trusted ride service that parents can use as needed, whether it’s a single time when they are away on a trip or on a regular basis. Few parents would ever consider using Uber or a taxi service for very young children, so other than using parents or a neighbor or a friend, there has never been a service to fill this need.
Schaer said one of her investors, who also invested in Uber, told her that he would never trust it to transport his children, but he does use Kango.
Kango began as a part of an incubator in Silicon Valley, 500 Startups, and has both private and venture funding. The company has expansion plans to offer the service in additional cities across the U.S.