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Safe rides for kids anywhere, anytime

Photo of Henry McDonough
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  • Sheprd is addressing an unnoticed problem that takes place 14 billion times / year in the United States: micro transit for America's youth.  Today's enormous market has only two suppliers - neither of which could be described as efficient or tech-enabled. These two suppliers are 1. Mom & Dad in their personal vehicle and 2. the School Bus Industry.
  • Sheprd approaches this market tech first - with a mobile app that lets parents book on-demand, scheduled, and recurring rides for their children with the convenience of an Uber or Lyft experience – and proprietary technology matching dozens of students with others going the same way. Kids are transported in Sheprd’s fleet of safe, fully-insured and licensed 7D-certified SUVs (seat belts, airbags, first aid, safety equipment, etc.) handled by the Company’s W2 drivers (background checked, pediatric first-aid certified, 7D licensed, pre-shift breathalyzer). 

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

Sheprd’s addressable market is broad, but demand tends to increase in areas with: -Low walkability scores -High density of public / private schooling -Households with >1 child Child transportation, primarily related to after-school activities, is a common need across parents with children ages 5-15. Target customer segments include: -Dual-income families that are unable to leave their jobs to pick up kids -Parents with multiple children with differing schedules -Families requiring rides for their kids “on demand” (i.e. in a pinch)

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Pilot - you have implemented your solution in a real-world scenario
  • Ready to Scale - you have completed and expanded your pilot and are seeing adoption of your solution by your intended user

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Our team is our greatest asset. We have a dynamic range of backgrounds whose greatest strength is their desire to work together to solve big problems. At Sheprd, college drop-outs, ivy-leaguers, investment bankers, and small business owners work together in a collegiate environment. We play ping pong at the office and do archery on the weekend because we actually enjoy each other’s company – everyone on our team believes it’s a blast to be here every day.

Size of your team or organization

  • 11-50

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

We would leverage our existing suite of child mobility software (e.g., routing optimization, roster management, live tracking, driver app, etc.) and driver training to set up remote operations in a new market. We would hire 1 FTE to run operations in this test market and to be Sheprd’s liaison. We would deploy an asset light model, where we recruit drivers with their own vehicles; however we would employ the drivers as W2, and install our current standard operating procedures and shift management. We would roll this out with 5-10 drivers and 5-10 parents to test its viability. Similarly to our core market of Newton, MA, we would scale beyond the pilot by; a) raising additional capital to keep expanding operations + sales / marketing in this new market; b) convert to gross profitability in Year 2, to start paying down operating costs and ultimately create a self-sustainable business model.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

We would look at similar metrics that we look at our in our current markets, including: 1) Customer re-booking rate (to get a sense of customer satisfaction); 2) Pickup / dropoff on time % (measure of Operational performance); 3) ride booking growth WoW;


Join the conversation:

Photo of Matteo Cappelleti

Hello Henry McDonough ! Great post! Thanks for sharing and for the video introduction of the team. I am Matteo one of the Facilitators here.
I wanted to congratulate you on a great project and for the great All-star team that you have.
I am curious to know more about the pricing and earning potential of the driver, as well as the pre-shift breathalyzer, could you please elaborate a little deeper on these two aspects?

Thanks again for a great post!
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Matteo C

Photo of Henry McDonough

Hi Matteo Cappelleti . Thank you so much for taking the time to learn about Sheprd! I am happy to elaborate on earning potential for drivers as well as the process surrounding our pre-shift breathalyzers.

Currently in our pilot market of Newton, MA, drivers are employed part time and earn a starting wage of $20 / hour. In addition, drivers are given the unique ability to take the Sheprd vehicles home with them. Sheprd pays for gas, washes, and any other services that the car requires. While Sheprd currently owns all vehicles in the fleet (easiest way to ensure that they are all up to regulations), we are exploring the potential for drivers with approved vehicles to use their own cars. This change would allow for fixed costs such as vehicle acquisition and insurance to decrease which could lead to increases in wages for drivers (~$30 / hour).

The pre-shift breathalyzer is one aspect that we feel differentiates Sheprd from the competition. Before each shift, drivers are REQUIRED to blow a reading of 0 into a BACtrack breathalyzer. Right away, the Sheprd operations team can see whether the driver has completed this step and what the breathalyzer score was. If the reading is 0, the shift can be approved and the driver may begin. If the score registers as anything else, the driver cannot begin their shift, and reprimanding action is taken.

Thanks again for your interest and I hope I was able to address your questions adequately. Please let me know if there is anything else!