Zipcar Files to Take $75M IPO Ride

Zipcar has set its sights on a new funding vehicle: An initial public offering. The Cambridge, MA-based car sharing service says it wants to raise $75 million in an IPO, according to an SEC filing.

The company, founded in 2000, has changed the way many people think about renting cars. Its members can reserve cars on the firm’s website, use key cards to wirelessly unlock their reserved vehicles, and drive away without ever having to physically check in with the company, as people must do with traditional car rental outfits. The firm’s membership has grown to more than 400,000 people, and its fleet of “Zipcars” covers 13 cities and more than 150 college campuses, according to the SEC filing. (Its areas of operation include Boston, Seattle, San Diego, and Ann Arbor, MI—all of which are covered by Xconomy).

Zipcar, the world’s largest car sharing network, has increased its size through both internal growth and acquisitions. In April, the firm bought the car sharing firm Streetcar in London. Last month, the company borrowed $70 million through a one-year credit facility to buy new cars for its U.S. fleet.

The company’s growth hasn’t been cheap. Zipcar took in $131.2 million in total revenue in 2009, but ended the year with a net loss of $4.7 million, according to regulatory documents. The firm owes most of its 2009 losses to its $137.1 million in total operating expenses last year.

Zipcar’s top institutional shareholders, according to the SEC filing, are Revolution Living of Washington, DC (22.98 percent), Benchmark Capital Partners in Menlo Park, CA (12.64 percent), San Mateo, CA-based Greylock Partners, which has an office in Cambridge, MA (7.12 percent), and Smedvig Capital in Norway (5.57 percent). Scott Griffith, Zipcar’s chairman and CEO, controls 3.92 percent of the company’s stock.

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