A sound business startup doesn’t require a revolutionary technology. Sometimes a solid new corporation is built around an innovative way of delivering a service to an already established market. That’s the approach of Zimride, the San Francisco company that is altering mid-distance travel.
Zimride started an online service in August of 2011 that arranges ridesharing along popular routes, such as San Francisco to Los Angeles. The company has even partnered with musicians – such as Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews Band, and Jack Johnson – to provide ridesharing to their events.
The popularity of the service connected thousands of people with new friends who shared car transportation expenses. Zimride has now raised $6,000,000 of capital to expand the routes offered by drivers with empty passenger seats.
The California company’s service capitalizes on two trends – saving money and using the web to power community experiences. Zimride co-founder and CEO, Logan Green, developed the idea to copy grassroots transportation systems in other countries. He teamed up with his friend John Zimmer in 2007 to start the new business.
Since launching its service this year, Zimride has arranged more than 26,000 car pools. The company estimates that this has helped people travel over 100 million miles and save $50 million in vehicle operating expenses. The service has gained acceptance at 120 universities and corporate campuses in 30 states. Zimride presently has 350,000 registered users. The company’s goal is attaining a presence in 300 locations by the end of 2012.
Zimride users connect via Facebook. This permits ridesharing partners to view each other’s profile information. That facilitates a trusted match between rider and driver. In addition, Zimride adds security for colleges and large corporations by requiring ridesharing between people from the same school or business.
The online system allows for posting reviews about past trips. Reputations of both drivers and passengers are readily accessible. Drivers post transportation opportunities on the site and locate potential riders for the destination. Each solicited rider has 24 hours to accept or decline an invitation.