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USATODAY: Uber-for-kids is Shuddle’s parental pitch

Nick Allen, Shuddle’s 36-year-old founder, brainstormed his idea for the kid-centric company while working at ride-hailing startup Sidecar, whose drivers often called in saying they had requests to transport children. (Photo: Courtesy of Shuddle)

Reporting for USATODAY, Marco della Cava introduced parents to the new startup Shuddle, best described as an “Uber for kids.”

Busy working parents plus super-scheduled children equals car-shuttling madness and missed appointments. Shuddle, A new ride-hailing start-up hopes to improve that calculus. Shuddle, which operates throughout the Bay Area, provides rides to children — post-booster seat age — while promising parents peace of mind through its network of vetted drivers with a range of child-care experience.

Brian Solis shared his thoughts on the new service and also on whether or not Uber will also compete in this space. To set up Brian’s perspective, della Cava shares the story of Bruce Merrol in Mill Valley.

As a divorced father who works for a large financial institution, Berrol was finding it increasingly difficult to take his teenage son to all his after-school appointments. Now he uses Shuddle up to three times a week. “The first time, I was nervous and texting him the entire ride,” he says. “But I find it’s a solution that works, whether you’re a busy parent or maybe just lazy.”

Berrol’s initial hesitancy is one of a few hurdles Shuddle will face as it tries to scale nationally, says Brian Solis, principal analyst with Altimeter Group.

“Two things they need to confront head on, one is making sure that through their marketing they make it OK for parents to outsource this sort of role, and the other is to make sure it remains relatively affordable for those outside of wealthy neighborhoods,” says Solis, adding that he has put his teens in Uber rides but often was met with frowns from fellow parents.

Solis says Uber could easily swoop in and steal this market share, but “it would have to work on its brand image first,” a reference to a number of instances — from sexist ad campaigns to charges that drivers assaulted passengers — that have plagued but not hobbled the $40 billion global juggernaut. “Uber isn’t helping Uber.”

Read the article at USATODAY.

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