Both Volvo and BMW announced Thursday they have invested in Zum, a startup aimed specifically at children. The California-based company provides rides for children to and from school and other after-school activities, and requires that its drivers have childcare experience. Think of it as Uber or Lyft, but made specifically for your kids to get home from soccer practice.
Volvo's investment was made through the automaker's Volvo Cars Tech Fund venture-capital arm. The company says it has made no firm decisions about how it could work with Zum in the future, but suggests there might be opportunities like offering Volvo vehicles for use by Zum drivers, or for integrating the service into thesubscription program.
BMW also invested into the company through its venture-capital fund, called BMW i Ventures. The company offered fewer specifics on how it might collaborate with Zum. In a statement, BMW i Ventures managing partner Ulrich Quay said, "We're proud to be supporting Zum and look forward to seeing its momentum as it continues driving funds back into schools."
Zum said this round of investment, which included BMW, Volvo and others, raised a total of $40 million. Zum currently operates in 2,000 schools in California but aims to expand beyond that state this year, with Chicago and Dallas listed as regions "coming soon." The startup aims to double its footprint by 2020. Drivers for the service must have past childcare experience and must pass background checks, the company says. Parents and schools can monitor the ride-share vehicles' locations remotely.