Car rental giant Enteprise Holdings will acquire Zimride; the final sum for the acquisition has not yet been disclosed. The buy-up is a strategic move for Enterprise, as it offers an opportunity to reach a younger demographic.
Zimride is a peer-to-peer matching service that is most popular with college students. According to a recent count, over 350,000 people use it, and it’s active on 125 university campuses.
The company was founded by John Zimmer and Logan Green, who hit on the idea as undergrads at the University of Southern California. Green wanted to create a better way for students to carpool, but he was concerned about sharing a ride with a complete stranger. When Facebook opened its API to developers, this posed a new opportunity to eliminate this anxiety by connecting students online.
Enterprise also owns Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, and Alamo Rent A Car. It will continue to operate Zimride.
This follows Zipcar’s recent sale to Avis for $500 million (our analysis on that here). At the time, Avis CEO Ronald L. Nelson said that he had been skeptical of ride-sharing services in the past but noted that he’d changed his mind. Enterprise’s executives have also been actively looking into ride-sharing.
This acquisition frees up founder John Zimmer to focus on Lyft, which recently raised $60 million in funding from venture firm Andreessen Horowitz.
About 90 percent of the company is currently dedicated to Lyft, the rapidly expanding service that enables anyone with a smartphone rent a car in a matter of minutes.