Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Zipcar Leads Funding for Wheelz — a P2P Version of Itself

Wheelz, a college campus-based service that matches car owners with borrowers, has raised $13.7 million in Series A funding. What’s particularly interesting is the lead investor: Zipcar.

Wheelz is basically a peer-to-peer version of Zipcar — one of a few such companies that have sprung up in the past couple years.

Wheelz CEO Jeff Miller

In a release, Zipcar CEO Scott Griffith said P2P is likely to “expand the total addressable market for car sharing,” and that investors could expect Zipcar to explore offering its own “mobility services” in a similar vein.

P2P car sharing has itself become a minor turf war. General Motors funded a very similar service called RelayRides, and is helping expand its fleet through an integration with OnStar in-car communications systems. RelayRides has about $13 million in funding from investors including Google Ventures, August Capital and Shasta Ventures, while another competitor, Getaround, has about $5 million from Redpoint Ventures, General Catalyst, CrunchFund and others.

When I talked to Wheelz CEO Jeff Miller last fall, he said his company’s advantages were its strategy of focusing on the college market and its team’s experience at electric vehicle infrastructure company Better Place and Mercedes Benz.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald