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Zipcar gears up for an IPO

The Mini Muswell zipcar

Jeremy Hobson: Today Zipcar is going public. The car-sharing company which is popular among city dwellers and college students was founded about a decade ago. And it's grown to more than a half a million members since then.

Marketplace Steve Henn reports.


Steve Henn: Zipcar has ironic ads, cool cars and a growing customer base. It even bought a competitor in London. But there's one thing Zipcar doesn't have: profits.

Michael Millman: Yes, after 10 years I would think they should have shown a profit.

Michael Millman is a rental car analyst and isn't convinced that Zipcar will succeed. But Kathy Smith is more optimistic. She researches new IPOs at Renaissance Capital.

Kathy Smith: The company is making money in the early markets that it has started.

If you break it down, the company is turning a profit in Boston, New York and Washington D.C. And Smith says Zipcar's plowing that cash into new markets.

Smith: The reason it's not making money is it's expanding very quickly.

Smith thinks Zipcar could spark a new multi-billion dollar industry -- but even she expects bumps in the road.

In Silicon Valley, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.
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