‘Uber’ for ECEC taking off in the US
A US-based ridesharing service that delivers children to early childhood education and care services has raised $3.6 million to expand its operations.
Founded in 2012, Kango is a free app available on iPhone and Android designed to help working parents safely arrange ridesharing for their children to get to childcare. According to Kango, the service has been used by thousands of parents throughout California. Kango also partners with schools, camps and other youth organisations to transport children to their designated activities.
Kango’s capital raising was led by a strategic investment from National Express, a transportation firm which operates a fleet of more than 25,000 vehicles. As part of the funding agreement, Kango also announced that David A. Duke, Senior Counsel at National Express, is joining its board.
“Now more than ever, the technology and services that Kango provides will fill a growing need by catering to busy families in both the childcare and transportation spaces. We are confident in the business model in which Kango operates and feel that their focus on safety and reliability sets them apart from any other company that is currently operating within this space. Furthermore, our investment in Kango will allow their management team to continue to seize upon current growth opportunities by expanding in other metropolitan cities throughout the United States,” said Judith Crawford, CEO of National Express Transit and Shuttle.
Another Kango investor is Structure Capital, an early Uber investor, and the company also has strategic partnerships with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in which the Chrysler brand provided a fleet of new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid plug-in minivans to eligible Kango drivers for an affordable lease, to promote safety and environmental stewardship.
Kango said it is also the most comprehensive rideshare solution for children available, being the only rideshare insured to drive children of all ages and the only child-focused service to offer on-demand same-day rides with no cutoff time for booking..
As part of Kango’s commitment to trust and safety, the company said it has a rigorous screening and in-person interview process for all drivers and childcare providers; the process includes multiple background checks, DMV record checks, employer reference checks, vehicle inspections, fingerprinting and TrustLine caregiver certification.
“When my co-founder and CTO, Kaliyuga Sivakumar and I launched Kango, the success of a ridesharing service for kids (sic) was far from guaranteed. We were confident that it filled a crucial need, but we didn’t know what the adoption rate would be,” said Kando co-founder Sara Schaer. “Now, it’s evident that the marketplace has been validated as parents rely more and more on Kango’s service, and it’s exciting to see the demand coming from cities across the country. Kango is committed to continuing to be the most reliable, trusted, safest rideshare service and we’re looking forward to this new period of opportunity and growth.”