By Mike Isaac
When Trae Vassallo’s children hop in the car to head to their after-school sports practice in the San Francisco Bay Area several times a week, it is not Ms. Vassallo, a full-time working mother of three, who drives them. Nor is it her husband, a nanny or any other caregiver.
Instead, Ms. Vassallo, a venture capitalist with her own firm, has scheduled regular rides for her children using Shuddle, a start-up that lets parents book trips around town for their offspring. In Silicon Valley parlance, Shuddle is the Uber for kids.
“It’s obviously leveraging the infrastructure that companies like Uber have figured out how to do well,” Ms. Vassallo, a former partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers who has invested in Shuddle, said of the start-up.
Shuddle is just one of a growing number of services to piggyback on the groundwork laid by Uber, the popular ride-hailing service that lets users request cars with a few taps of their smartphone. Apart from an Uber-like service for the under-16 set, there is now also a service for Bay Area commuters (Chariot), a service for Manhattan (Via) and even a service for vans (Leap Transit).
But unlike Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, which are disrupting the transportation market with all-purpose ride-booking services, these new companies focus on specific markets.
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