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Upon receiving first round financing of $1.3 million, Zipcar is, as CEO Robin Chase describes, “poised for action”. The measures that the company intends to take moving forward will likely determine its future viability as the dominant player in the relatively untapped market of car sharing in North America. Currently, Chase is testing the concept in the single market of Boston, and has ambitious goals to break into other markets along the East and Mid-coast by the end of next year. Having received preliminary positive customer responses, Zipcar has potential to establish a secure market foothold and revenue traction; however, the start-up company is not without problems, namely the short lead time on their competitive edge, the
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It is the latter, however, that will determine the company’s long-term ability to remain competitive. Currently, the software that Zipcar is using is certainly innovative but simply not complex enough to create several years of lead. Whilst obtaining a patent on the technology will usually protect it for 20 years, there is no guarantee that this will deter competitors from entering the market if prospects appear to be lucrative; nor will it impede them, particularly given the potential competitors of car rental agencies and car manufacturers, both of whom have the resources to develop a competing, if not more sophisticated, technology. Given these concerns, Chase will want to consider allocating $300,000 removing any technology risk from the current “wave” and driving a third wave that focuses on innovation and creation of unique attributes that can be associated specifically with Zipcar cars.
In terms of the management team, it is clear that Robin Chase is “running the show” single-handedly, having committed to the venture on a full-time basis. However, her partner Antje Danielson has maintained her Harvard commitments and is due to give birth in the coming month. If Chase intends to seek second round financing, having a committed and cohesive leadership team will become imperative if she intends to make a positive impression on

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