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Robin Chase, Zipcar and an Inconvenient Discovery

MIT Sloan > LearningEdge > Entrepreneurship > Robin Chase, Zipcar and an Inconvenient Discovery
Abstract
"Robin didn’t have any particular fears about informing people about the ‘handwriting on the wall.’" – Jean Hammond (MIT Sloan MBA ’86), Zipcar’s first investor
In October 2000, with just a couple of weeks until the three-month-old car sharing startup closed on its first round of funding, Zipcar co-founder Robin Chase made an alarming discovery: the amount of revenue that Zipcars had generated for the month of September was half of what she estimated. After spending the previous 10 months networking, building a team, overseeing technology development, seeking funding, and otherwise navigating the confusing maze of twists and turns that entrepreneurs face in launching new ventures this was one set-back she was not expecting. The question facing Chase was what could and should she do to set the company on a profitable course, and fast, while safeguarding the company’s developing relationship with its 430 members.
Learning Objective
To introduce students to the MIT Sloan 4 Capabilities Leadership Framework as a way to evaluate a leader’s strengths and weaknesses; highlight the challenges and trade offs entrepreneurs face in launching new ventures.
Could be taught in the following course(s)
leadership; entrepreneurship