What It Does: Carpooling site
Founders: Logan Green, 25, and John Zimmer, 25
Web Site: zimride.com
Based: Palo Alto, Calif.
On a trip to Zimbabwe, Logan Green watched locals get around by sharing rides in minivan taxis. A member of the city's transit board back home in Santa Barbara, Green was inspired to start a Web-based service to let American carpoolers do the same thing. Green, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, met Cornell grad John Zimmer through a mutual friend on Facebook. (Logan had coincidentally dubbed the idea Zimride before meeting Zimmer.)
Their goal is to "build a new form of transportation" by connecting people looking for ride shares through existing ties, like having mutual friends or going to the same college. They launched Zimride as a Facebook application in 2007 (winning a $250,000 grant from a fund for Facebook apps) and soon expanded into a Web-based service for universities and companies that want to help people coordinate commutes. Zimride's 35 clients are mostly colleges but include corporate customers such as Cigna (CI) and Wal-Mart (WMT). Though pricing varies, universities pay about $10,000 per year to use the platform. Zimmer says the firm, with six employees, expects revenue of $400,000 this year and is now profitable.