Zipcar is going public. The car-sharing firm led by Scott Griffith that lets you "borrow" one of its 6,500 vehicles for as little as an hour at a time, has filed a registration statement with the SEC for an IPO. Last month, the firm implemented a $70 million ABS program in order to fund further expansion of its fleet. The proceeds from the IPO will be used in part to pay off some of its debt while it continues to grow.
Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the service is available in 71 North American towns and cities, as well as the British cities of London, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, and offers users a range of gas and hybrid models. Although the firm has been around since 1999, it wasn't until Griffith joined that it started making real headway—and changing the face of car rental as we know it. Zipcar merged with rival Flexcar (the brainchild of Steve Case) in 2007 and posted its first quarterly profit last year, around the same time it launched its honktastic iPhone app.
Correction: Steve Case bought 60% of Flexcar in 2005, five years after it was started by Neil Peterson, as a public-private partnership, in conjunction with King County, Washington, points out reader Kevin McLaughlin.