LOS ANGELES — HopSkipDrive, the youth transportation solution for schools and families, announced on Feb. 4 that it raised $22 million in funding from Cyrus Capital Partners, State Farm Ventures, and others, including existing investors Upfront Ventures, FirstMark Capital and Greycroft. This brings total funding to $44 million.
HopSkipDrive now partners with over 200 schools, districts and counties across 13 markets in eight states and Washington, D.C. Partners include Los Angeles County, the largest child welfare system in the country, major districts such as Seattle Public Schools, and charter school networks like Green Dot Public Schools. To date, HopSkipDrive has enabled over 1 million trips to or from schools, with more than 7 million safe miles driven.
HopSkipDrive will use the funding to expand to new markets and partner with more schools, districts and counties. The company recently announced its expansion to Las Vegas in January and its partnership with Clark County Child Welfare Services.
Founded in 2014, HopSkipDrive has rapidly gained traction with schools by providing safety, visibility, and transparency for both districts and parents, while helping districts manage increasingly challenging transportation demands in the midst of a nationwide school bus driver shortage. HopSkipDrive’s advanced Safe Ride Support technology, operational expertise and strategic hiring from the education sector drive the company’s success.
Cyrus Capital has extensive experience in transportation, having led early investments in Virgin America and May Mobility. Partner John Rapaport says, “HopSkipDrive is solving a major problem within school transportation, the country’s largest mass transit system, and doing it in a unique way that creates wins for kids, school districts and communities. Their technological innovation, strong leadership, and proven expansion strategy keep them moving in an upward trajectory. We’re proud to invest in HopSkipDrive’s continued success.”
Making an Impact on Children’s Lives Through Transportation
HopSkipDrive’s marketplace model allows districts to meet fluctuating transportation demands with a dynamic supply of “CareDrivers,” rather than having to reroute or add a bus route. This saves money on transportation costs, which can be put back into the classroom.
Leigh Cook, Director of Federal Programs and Academic Compliance at Keller Independent School District in Dallas-Fort Worth says, “[HopSkipDrive] helps reduce the district’s overall transportation costs [and] helps shorten commute times—meaning less time in transit and more time learning.”
The solution is optimized for alternative student transportation, often serving vulnerable populations with needs outside of standard bus routes. These include children experiencing homelessness or in foster care, and youth with special needs who have transportation requirements in their IEP.
HopSkipDrive CEO and Co-founder Joanna McFarland said, “This funding will help us expand into more markets where the lack of safe, reliable transportation is a barrier to children reaching their full potential. We’ve helped thousands of students experiencing homelessness, in foster care, or with other special circumstances, get to and from school and extracurricular activities, and we’ve seen how something as simple as a ride can make the difference between struggle and success. Each new market means we’re bringing opportunity to more children.”
Los Angeles Department of Child and Family Services Education Specialist Tina Garcia illustrates the impact of HopSkipDrive: “Being able to continue attending their school of origin is often the most stability [foster youth] have. That would have been impossible for many of them without HopSkipDrive, an invaluable partner in supporting the educational stability of our foster youth.”
Prioritizing Safety With Advanced Technology and Operational Expertise
HopSkipDrive continues to make safety its top priority, continuously innovating through sophisticated technology, rigorous standards, and an advisory board comprised of youth transportation and safety industry leaders.
Founder and former CEO of Student Transportation of America Denis Gallagher, who joined the HopSkipDrive Board and serves as its representative on the HopSkipDrive Safety Advisory Board, said, “School transportation is evolving and one of the most exciting changes I’ve seen is HopSkipDrive entering the market. HopSkipDrive’s innovation and culture around safety drives their approach to addressing a major challenge in the industry. I’m proud to be a HopSkipDrive supporter and watch them transform student transportation as we know it!”
Designed by protective moms, driven by caregivers, and trusted by schools, HopSkipDrive is the innovator in enabling safe, dependable youth transportation for schools, districts, government agencies, and families. HopSkipDrive’s technology platform and operational expertise provide flexibility and visibility, while helping kids reach their full potential.
Since 2014, HopSkipDrive has expanded to eight states and 13 major markets, partnered with more than 200 schools and districts and enabled more than 1 million trips to schools. HopSkipDrive is a venture capital-backed company, raising $44 million to date. www.hopskipdrive.com