Just when you thought the car-sharing business couldn’t get any hotter, Zipcar has announced plans for an IPO worth as much as $75 Million, reports the Boston Globe. Already the largest car sharing company in the US (and one of the only for-profits), the company plans to use proceeds to take care of debt, though continued expansion and innovation are likely in the works.
Zipcar has already expanded to dozens of US cities, and the UK, where a year ago we reported on its launch of the first all-electric car sharing pod. But with this kind of expansion come inevitable costs, and the company has yet to turn a profit. To make matters more complex, competition from traditional rent-a-car companies has emerged.
Zipcar is clearly the industry leader, buying itself time as car-sharing catches on across the country. But will Zipcar’s IPO give it the boost it needs to bridge a few more years of financial losses? The one certain thing is that in many markets car-sharing has emerged as a viable and affordable alternative to vehicle ownership which certainly has market potential. Whether Zipcar remains the leader or whether the likes of Hertz and Enterprise rise to fill the gap, the green-minded consumer stands to win.