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Taxi-for-kids service Shuddle plans to close, citing fundraising challenges

The tough fundraising environment has claimed another victim -- Shuddle, the Bay Area taxi service for kids, which announced that it will shut down Friday.

"As we all have seen in today’s headlines, it is an extremely challenging environment for raising new capital,” Doug Aley, Shuddle’s chief executive, said Thursday. "We worked hard with our existing investors to find new financial resources that would help us continue to grow. But we could not raise the funding required to continue operations."

Shuddle was one of several California companies that contracted with vetted caregivers to transport minors -- a kind of Uber for kids. Parents could book and pay for rides ahead of time.

The company, which launched in fall 2014, operated only in the Bay Area and had 32 employees. Its last funding round was $9.6 million, raised in May 2014.

A spokeswoman for the company declined to say how many drivers worked for Shuddle, but said it had provided some 65,000 rides across the Bay Area. Like Uber, Lyft and Shuddle’s Los Angeles counterpart HopSkipDrive, drivers for the service were independent contractors.

The shuttering of Shuddle follows the closure of SpoonRocket, an on-demand meal delivery company that went bust in March, citing intense competition and an “ever tightening funding environment.”

On-demand transportation service Sidecar also ceased operations in December, selling its assets to General Motors. Its chief executive, Sunil Paul, said at the time that the company was unable to compete with Uber, which had raised significantly more capital. 

Meanwhile, HopSkipDrive raised $10.2 million in January and hired the former general manager of Uber L.A., Eyal Gutentag, to be its operations chief.

Twitter: @traceylien

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