Spark didn’t meet Zum through a fellow founder or investor, we learned about it from my 12-year-old son. Well, more exactly, it was my 12-year-old son’s Montessori school reaching out to let us know that Zum would now allow a stranger to drive my son to and from school if we wanted.
My initial instinct was one of skepticism, strangers driving around my kids? But as we went on to read about how the drivers are individually interviewed and vetted, and that they all have previous child care experience, we decided to give the service a try. That skepticism almost immediately turned into a feeling of empowerment. My son has a budding interest in theatre, but due to scheduling issues it was going to be impossible to get him a ride to a community theatre after school. Problem solved.
Today, over 60% of families in America have both parents working. People can’t necessarily be home at the end of the school day to shuttle kids to and from activities. Hiring part-time nannies is an expensive luxury out of reach for most, and even then it’s a high turnover role given most childcare professionals need full-time work.
As we reached out to Ritu and learned more about her business, we learned the many ways it was allowing parents to gain back valuable time in their week, as well as empowering kids to have more freedom.
Just as important, we learned that Zum was a valuable cost savings for the schools it partners with. It turns out there are many instances where school busing is a massive and inefficient cost sync, for public and private schools. Zum’s growth is not only helping create flexibility for parents, it’s creating cost savings for increasingly budget constrained schools. That has led to some phenomenal growth for Zum in it’s short life, and it now serves over 1,000 schools.
Zum started out as a product that my family has learned to depend on, and we are happy to be partnering with Zum and leading their Series B funding, along with prior investor Sequoia. We are excited about the opportunities that the Zum team is creating for families, drivers, and schools, and feel honored to be partnering for the ride.