Monday, July 21, 2008

ZimRide.Com Success Story

Link of the day - Free $50 Kmart card.

To launch his first company, 24-year-old Cos Cob native John Zimmer is taking a road trip.

Zimmer, a 2002 graduate of Greenwich High School, has embarked on a cross-country journey from New York City to the West Coast, part of an effort to promote his new online ride-sharing service,

Ride-sharing is "easy, saves money (on gas) and will impact our environment and the future of travel in the United States," Zimmer said while driving through upstate New York. That, and "it's just a lot of fun."

Launched in 2007, Zimride allows car poolers with similar travel plans and preferences to connect with one another using the popular social-networking Web site Facebook, on which Zimride is featured.

To use the service, users sign on; type in their travel times, departure points and destinations; then peruse a database of other car poolers with similar preferences, like driving speeds, the kind of music they like and whether they smoke.

Once they've selected like-minded car poolers, users correspond via email to hammer out the details of their trip.

The idea of this system, Zimmer explained, is to take advantage of Facebook's "community-building" features.

Whereas other ride-sharing programs, like eRideshare or Craigslist, allow users to scour long, impersonal lists of car pools, Zimride lets people read personal profiles, view digital photos and interact with prospective travel buddies. "It's a lot easier to get into a car with somebody when you know something about their personality and share common interests," he said. "That aspect - the social aspect - is really what sets us apart."

Since launching the site in 2007, Zimmer and his founding business partner Logan Green have watched the number of users skyrocket from about 3,500 to more than 300,000.

Now they're hoping to boost those numbers higher by taking their eco-friendly message on the road.

Joined by a rotating crew of car poolers, Zimmer will spend two weeks traveling to such cities as Detroit, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. At each stop, he'll meet with environmental groups and other, young "eco-entrepreneurs" to share ideas about saving the environment and aiding the economy, Zimmer said.

He'll also be joined by his friend Trevor White, a 23-year-old filmmaker who will document the entire journey for a documentary to be titled, "The Change We Seek."

"John's trip is perfect because it shows there are people in our generation who aren't lazy, who are at the forefront of global change, who are making an impact," White said. "Hopefully people can watch John and be motivated to do something, too."

[Via - GreenwichTime.Com]