If summer means extra stress, there’s a good chance that you’re a working parent.
The employment market is competitive and benefits are on the decline (BI, Fortune, Forbes). Full-time nannies charge up to $20/hour. If you’re feeling the heat, you are not alone. Last year, more than half of family households reported that they worked full-time. In the wake of this culture shift, at least one working mother has figured out how to lend a hand to more than just her neighbors. In doing so, she is reshaping what it means to parent in the 21 century.
Sara Schaer, founder and CEO of Kango, the care and transportation service for children, says that she never set out to create an “uber for kids.” As a working parent herself, Sara created an app to help organize her local carpool 4 years ago.
“Back in 2012, as a working parent, smartphones helped me juggle my work-related tasks, but when it came to providing transportation and care for my children, a mobile device alone couldn't solve the problem. I needed trustworthy people to help me with my kids. It takes a village, but that village needed to go digital!”
Four years later, Sara’s “virtual village” has grown to cover SF and the Bay Area.
“At first the app only allowed parents to help each other with carpools. When we realized parents wanted us to screen and find trustworthy drivers for their kids, we added our Rides and Care service, providing safe rides (and childcare) for kids from pre-screened, background checked, fingerprinted drivers and sitters. We expanded the service outward from SF in January of this year, and now cover the entire Bay Area. We're the only licensed service insured to drive kids of any age, and we provide a booster seat or car seat on request. You can even browse driver profiles or request your preferred driver if available.”
Not surprisingly, Kango has found that a majority of its customers are working parents, and this new trend of childcare “on-demand” is following suit.
Sara says that her company is especially appealing because working parents can get their kids safely where they need to go, despite conflicting priorities at work such as a late meeting, or a business trip. She says a key is that the app allows parents to schedule rides days or weeks in advance, but also on demand for same-day needs.
“We allow their kids to sign up for and enjoy after school activities early in the afternoon, when parents are still at the office and help save money on childcare, because they no longer need to hire a nanny in order to get part-time coverage - Kango drivers can also babysit before or after a ride, oversee homework until parents return home, etc.”
With the rise of these “Uber for X” companies, it’s clear that parents across the country will soon have these options.
As of now, Kango is the leader in the Bay Area, HopSkipDrive serves Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco, Helpr services Los Angeles and Hello Sitter just launched in NYC.