Sara Schaer is the co-founder and CEO of Kango, a rideshare app for kids. Previously, she was a product manager for Snapfish were she grew the product team from 2 to 50 globally through their acquisition with HP. Sara led Kango’s pitch round for 500 Startups, where they earned a spot in the 9th batch.
The Stanford University alum also recently championed a first-of-its-kind partnership with Chrysler; the automaker is providing eligible Kango drivers with a 2018 Pacifica Hybrid minivan for rideshare use. Outside of work, Sara mentors young women through the Technovation program, and lives with her husband and two sons in San Francisco.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
We believe in families: working families, playing families, from-here-to-there-to-everywhere families. We celebrate the hard-working parents who continue to chase their dreams and the kids who are just discovering what their dreams are.
As parents ourselves, we believe the entire family should be able to do the things they love without compromising the people they love, so we created Kango, a service that rethinks what it means to provide rides and childcare for kids.
Tell us about your business.
Kango is more than just a way to earn extra cash by transporting a passenger from Point A to Point B. It’s an opportunity to connect, and to care for kids whose lives are busier than ever.
- We find the families in your area that need help
- Whether that be for rides, childcare or both
- We bring the jobs to you
- We post jobs for you as soon as families request them
- We process payments for you automatically
- After the job is done, we’ll charge the customer and transfer money directly to you
- 500 Startup Batch 9
- San Francisco Magazine’s 2017 “Best Uber for Kids”
- Technovation Mentor
Where is your business based?
San Francisco, California.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Honestly, it sounds “too good to be true” but the biggest challenge has been keeping up with the demand for Kango. We’ve had to adjust and scale quickly because we continually exceed our growth projections.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Our solution was a combination of hiring more team members and drivers along with system improvements to meet the demand as quickly and safely as possible. We’d never compromise safety, so that’s always top-of-mind, even if the process we use to vet our trusted drivers takes longer.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I remember that I’m helping make safe transportation and childcare for kids – as well as providing a way for parents and kids to pursue their dreams without sacrificing each other’s activities.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
Kango is different from other “Uber for Kids” services in several ways. We provide rides and childcare to unaccompanied children as young as 2 years old (and younger if a parent or caregiver accompanies them on the ride).
Our childcare can also be requested as a stand-alone service and doesn’t need to be coupled with a ride. Kango is also available for same day service and on the weekends.
We also provide car and booster seats, which is a plus (especially if you’re traveling to SF or LA – you don’t need to bring a booster seat on the plane!). Parents also have the ability to meet a driver in advance and to request their family’s preferred driver(s).
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Anything is possible if you persevere. Never give up!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Don’t give up. Take the plunge and persist. The prerequisite is having something you’re passionate about to get you through the dark times – that mission is what will sustain you.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
Honestly, for me, it’s the Kango app because it gives me the ability to instantly communicate with my whole team without leaving the app.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
A recently published an article by Transportation Disruption expert Tony Seba (Stanford, Rethinkx). Among other things, the report describes what cities are going to look like with the advent of both transportation as a service (Taas) and driverless cars.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
Our mantra is responsible growth. There’s so much need for this service! Kango provides a solution for the age-old challenge of helping people get to all the places they need to be.
There’s a lot of pressure on modern parents, and we’re meeting this need while also adhering to responsible and expected safety rules. We’re always looking for ways to recruit more efficiently without compromising on screening and procedures.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Well, we have a new pilot program in LA so we’re positioning ourselves to take that to the next level in 2018 and add to that team. Secondly, our Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan fleet was recently launched, so starting in 2018, you’ll see us leveraging this more.
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