Teaching Resources Library

Leadership

Entrepreneurship

Robin Chase, Zipcar and an Inconvenient Discovery

By

ABSTRACT

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

ROBIN CHASE, ZIPCAR AND AN INCONVENIENT DISCOVERY

Educator Copy*

*An educator (non-watermarked) copy of this case is available only to individuals who hold teaching positions at academic institutions and want to use the case in a course.