Zing Rides: When Safety has to be an Obsession

Candice Saffer - Zing Rides.jpg

“As a company owner who becomes responsible for thousands of children, I have to make the technology flawless. It’s the backbone to our whole operation. The need to fill is there, but if we don’t get it right, it's a child's life that is in danger.”

Have you wondered what life was like before ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft existed? In a world that continues to get easier with the click of a button, CEO of Zing Rides, Candice Saffer, is on a mission to make the life of parents a little more manageable. Now, if your kids need to be in two places at once, help is one ride-share away.

What is Zing Rides?

Zing Rides is a safe and reliable platform that provides pre-booked and on demand rides for kids 8 years and older. The platform assists parents in getting their kid(s) from one place to another, while providing location tracking and notification updates so parent’s get peace of mind. We have launched in Miami, Florida and have plans to leverage our technology to take it to scale and bring it to new cities around the world.

What inspired you to start Zing Rides?

I started Zing two years ago after a lightbulb went off in the middle of the night. I was awake at 3:00 AM trying to figure out how I was going to explain to my son that I wasn't going to be able to take him to Water Polo the next day. At that point I was raising three kids on my own, ages 15, 14, and 10, and getting them all to their competitive sports games and tournaments each weekend caused contention in the house. It was always a question of who I would drive personally, who I would juggle with to get them to an activity, and on this occasion, who just wouldn’t be able to get there.

And carpooling wasn’t always an option. With traveling teams I didn’t get a chance to develop relationships with the other parents deeply enough to establish trust. Other times the parents whom I did know would also be juggling carpool schedules, making it nearly impossible to coordinate.

That’s when the idea was born.

Like any entrepreneur driven by the excitement of an idea that could change the social landscape, I immediately set up a company. It took me roughly seven months of research to determine what the service was going to look like. The biggest challenge revolved around safety. If the parents didn’t buy into it, then what customer base did we really have? I sent out some surveys, launched operations, and officially transitioned out of my other job to get Zing off of the ground and into parent’s hands.

Clearly safety is a major concern for you. How are you addressing it and where are you getting the resources to understand how it should be addressed?

Safety is the number one concern at Zing. My husband is in cyber security and I’ve leveraged his knowledge regarding an alert system for the ride itself and hiring the right drivers. The dream for Zing is a very ambitious one. We’re not just a ride-sharing service with Uber and Lyft drivers behind the wheel. We’re building trust by having parents, teachers and caregivers drive while doing extensive background checks on all drivers. While we meet each of the candidates during the interview process to ensure a human touch point, we also filter drivers based on their FBI or DMV profiles.

Additionally, we stay on top of the constantly evolving technology surrounding safety in order to evolve with it. I attend major events and conferences around risk management to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the technologies that exist and how we should be applying these solutions to our own software.

It’s hard to know what you don’t know when you’re an entrepreneur. How did you know to look for these conferences as an opportunity to gather information?

I’ve done an incredible amount of research and due diligence. As a mom, I've always had an inclination for security. As a stickler for safety, I do a lot of background research on schools and companies that my kids and I are involved with and eventually it became a bit of an obsession. When Zing was born, I was dedicated to being as diligent as possible in my research around best practices in safety standards. As a part of that research journey, I starting digging into the gold-standard for insurance policies, which required me to read an extensive list of pre-requirements. Once I went down that rabbit hole I did additional research on who I was working with on LinkedIn and that started shining a light on conference opportunities. It felt a little overboard at the time, but it was a surefire way to get all my bases covered and ensure we would keep kids safe.

You’ve seen some exciting growth and were even named as one of the startups to watch in 2018 in Forbes. Alongside of your wins, what do you see as a challenge?

The hardest part about being an entrepreneur is knowing you are never going to get it as perfect as you want it. When you're a perfectionist, it's very hard to let go. You have to consciously tell yourself to slow down and regroup in order to gain perspective and see everything that you’ve accomplished to date.

Being an entrepreneur introduces different levels of excitement and stress that go hand and hand. What is the thing that keeps you going on the really hard days?

Understanding what you can improve is really important. There are high and lows in every entrepreneurial life cycle. During the low times, you still have to be the cheerleader because you’re the person that ultimately decides if the company moves forward or not. It can feel like you're on an island by yourself. Then you come to the realization that it takes a while to get it right. You’re not going to start a company in a new industry and solve everyone’s needs in a day. Sometimes entrepreneurs get a rush of anxiety that can be detrimental because they try and take on too much at once. I always try to scale back and tackle the small stuff before moving on.

What made you apply to WIN Lab and why?

There is an incredible energy surrounding the ecosystem I live in because I am around so many entrepreneurs. More importantly, though, collaborating with other women who are putting a service out there that's going to improve people's lives is an amazing opportunity. I love to collaborate, so to be a part of a group and share my experience and learn from fellow founders is an honor