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“Uber. There was if car the car sharing service launched in 2000. Right here in in boston. I caught up with the company s president tracy zhen and discussed operating the city.
We re based out in an innovation district. Which is where the tech hub is so for us that vibrant community of companies. But people it s been a huge success for us and on top of that for us that is a car the most important things people is our talent. So we re really lucky because we have access to great technology companies in boston.
But also access to top universities outdoor stuff. I mean boston has got to be kind of a great test lab in general right because you do think a lot about urban planning in or the urban environment. Sure absolutely it s one of those cities that s growing fast. But also like a good size where lots of testing.
So what you see is a lot of mobility companies being based in boston and doing tons of testing and it s emerging so it s really exciting i gotta ask you about you know the demographics. A zipcar today because i you know it kind of floored. Me when i went back and did some research that it s 20 years that this company has been around right. I remember when it was introduced so tell me a little bit about what is your typical zipcar user today.
Tell me little bit about you know your top and bottom line. Growth. Tell me about user retention give me an idea sure. Well i ll bet remember base.
Everyone thinks we re millennial brand. Because our brand is so fun and innovative. But we actually have members that range from 18 years old to 93 wow. Right.
But 40 of our member base are over 40. So we re actually you know a bit skew older and we re really serving the people the city their urban. They re smart. They re savvy and they live in and live and work in the city that s our core base and we don t really comment on financial just because we re part of the ava script.
So i can t say too much. But our member top line growth is growing really rapidly and i think as more and more people feel comfortable shedding their car and using services like zipcar. It s been a huge momentum for us. It s great that you bring that up because we were thinking about this talking in the newsroom.
That you guys are kind of a great test experiment or a great experiment of that whole idea of the sharing economy. There s been a lot of research about teenagers not so interested in getting you know drivers permits or driver s license anymore. And it s not just in the us. But it s a global phenomenon.
What are you guys seeing as kind of the experiment that of that idea of the sharing economy and people maybe eventually saying. I don t need to own a car well you know it s fascinating us the company was found in eighteen years ago. As you mentioned at the time. There was no such thing as a sharing economy.
There was no iphone right this is how long ago. It was so at the time when the company was founded the vision was really bold. It was this view that in the future that consumers are going to want to pay for the trip and not the car. So that was how the sharing economy.
Was born and being pioneers in the car sharing space. We ve been really fortunate because we ve had 19 years to innovate in to experiment on how usage is changing and i think has more and more services as you mentioned netflix spotify. What have you right i think the movement towards paying for access and less less ownership is really going to continue to evolve well from what you guys are seeing over these 20 years tracing as you said. There s more options now that play into the sharing economy.
When people say there s gonna be a day when we re not gonna own a car. Do you see that actually happening based on the numbers and the data that you re seeing absolutely i think especially in cities. You know today over 70 of urbanites still owned a car and we ve been chipping away at that for the last 19 years. And the number slowing just fade.
Away. I think as more people start to question well hey. There s so much congestion. Do i really want to drive right.
But to their own at the cost of ownership is just outweighs that the hassle and so on so forth so i think services like ours is really going to help propel the the reduction of personal korona shape over time so when somebody becomes a zipcar member and part of your community dude. I don t know what data do you guys see that they either give up their car or give up plans to buy a car. What do you know about that we see tons of people who are considering buying car and after they join not only do they not obviously buy a car but they also use a lot more of the forms of public transportation cycling and walking so overall. They become much more green and how they how they behave and how they live in a city or so which has been huge for us through dude.
But you do see them giving up and saying i m not gonna own a car. Absolutely we have so many members to tell us you know would have bought a car. But i don t need to anymore because we use i use your service every single day. We actually have a commuter program that we just piloted that really giving access for reverse commuters monday through friday and they re like well i had to purchase a car to get to work.
But now i don t need to about retention because i always think about any of these service you mentioned on netflix like all of these services they spend some of them spend a lot on marketing right and reaching out to consumers and then holding on to their existing user base give me an idea about that is that become a bigger part of your financial pie. You ve got to spend more time and money on that effort well i think for any subscription business retention. It s got to be a number one metric for the business. I think for us well we really focus on is great member experience and i think it comes down to am.
I getting a great service. But is it a good value so so when we think about retention. We ve just anchor on how do we continuously improve our member experience and as we do more and more of that retention will naturally come okay. I want to ask you about uber and lyft is that your chief competition.
Who do you see as the competition. So how competition has always been as i mentioned our ownership right if you think about that pie. It s huge right 70 of urbanites owned a car and if we can chip away at that that s a huge ” ..
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“May.14 — Zipcar President Tracey Zhen discusses the car-sharing company s member base and competitive environment with Bloomberg s Carol Massar on “Bloomberg Technology.””,