Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2003 (Revised May 2005)

Zipcar: Refining the Business Model

by Myra M. Hart, Michael J. Roberts and Julia Stevens


Zipcar is a start-up organized around the idea of "sharing" car usage via a membership organization. This case describes several iterations of the Zipcar business model and financial plan. These iterations include a very early version and a version developed just prior to the launch of the business, as well as data from the first few months of operations. Students are called on to analyze the underlying economics and business model for the venture and to discover how these assumptions are holding up as the business is actually rolled out.

Keywords: Service Operations; Renting or Rental; Business Model; Business Plan; Entrepreneurship; Economic Growth; Management Skills; Transportation; Business Startups; Financial Strategy; Corporate Finance; Growth and Development Strategy; Transportation Industry; Service Industry;


Hart, Myra M., Michael J. Roberts, and Julia Stevens. "Zipcar: Refining the Business Model." Harvard Business School Case 803-096, January 2003. (Revised May 2005.)