How this Cleveland startup can be your go-to transportation solution
Between school and activities, transportation can be a challenging part of any family’s day. But what if there was a service that was safer and more reliable than typical ride-sharing apps while still being affordable for working-class parents? That’s the solution Cleveland startup Parents In Motion is offering. Developed by moms for moms, the company has created a network of drivers and riders that adds safety and dependability to existing models. This isn’t just another ride-sharing app, it’s a family-oriented solution to transportation challenges.
“Parents In Motion is a ride-sharing service that connects families in need with drivers who want to help busy families throughout northeast Ohio,” said Chanel Williams, co-founder and CTO. “We coordinate that effort and create a driver network that is based on the values of reliability, safety and transparency. We have an 18-point safety process in which we really vet the drivers who we connect with families and organizations.”
The inspiration for Parents In Motion came from co-founder Charisma Curry. A working mom with two kids, Curry found herself without the ability to get where she needed to go after her car broke down in the middle of winter, bringing the lack of reliable transportation to the front of her mind. Out of that extreme stress came Parents In Motion.
“She was taking two buses to get her kids to childcare and then go to work,” said Williams. “So when she was late three times, they let her go. She was thinking, ‘If I actually had some support or some type of service to help me, I could make it.’ She knew she couldn’t be the only mother in that situation. We know how much of a deal-breaker it can be when a good opportunity presents itself but you don’t have good enough transportation to pursue it.”
Pretty quickly, Curry’s intuition was proven correct. She was certainly not the only one in need of transportation help, and found that other families and organizations were looking for the same thing. Now, when Parents In Motion reaches out to an individual or organization, they’re almost always met with support and thanks.
“Organizations tell us, ‘We needed something like this. Our families love this,’ and the families themselves tell us it’s fantastic and reliable,” said Williams. “Families have been so positive, and they appreciate that we’re dependable and emphasize safety. That’s really cool to hear. And organizations tell us that meeting their transportation needs helps with things like attendance, which they really like. But that’s our mission, so it benefits us both.
That feedback is what drives Parents In Motion, whose leaders are always ready to emphasize their “mission-driven” approach to the startup. The company wants to make an impact on people and communities, and they believe that impact can spread all the way across Ohio and beyond.
“We are providing livable wages for our communities through the people that we employ for our company,” said Williams. “And another marker of success is that we are actually able to help families in a very impactful way by giving them peace of mind and providing a service that actually helps their lives. Work-life balance is important, and it enables the students and parents to pursue new opportunities. For instance, last summer, we partnered with Tech Corps, who is teaching computing to at-risk youth. We were transporting people from all over who wouldn’t otherwise have been able to take advantage of that opportunity without affordable transportation.”
Since its founding in 2016, Parents In Motion has found its own way to expand through partnerships and word of mouth. The startup currently supports about 60 families, and has been collaborating with organizations like Urban Squash Cleveland, the Hawken School and the Ratner Montessori School in addition to Tech Corps. Williams said the startup is certainly aiming toward a national presence one day, but expansion throughout Ohio is next on the agenda.
“When I met Charisma, this was an idea, a concept, a Facebook page,” said Williams. “Now it’s a client base, a driver network and a mission-based organization that’s making an impact on families’ lives. We created a business that’s working with nonprofits and families and schools. That’s where we are now. And we’re growing into other cities, with plans for Columbus, Akron, Canton and more while we continue to flourish in Cleveland.”