John Zimmer

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John Zimmer
John Zimmer.jpg
BornJohn Zimmer
(1984-03-14) March 14, 1984 (age 30)
OccupationCo-founder and COO of Zimride
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For the American ornithologist, see John Todd Zimmer.
John Zimmer
John Zimmer.jpg
BornJohn Zimmer
(1984-03-14) March 14, 1984 (age 30)
OccupationCo-founder and COO of Zimride

John Zimmer is the co-founder and COO of Zimride, which he founded with Logan Green in 2007.[1][2][3] Zimride currently has over 350,000 users and partnerships with Facebook, Zipcar, and 125 universities.[4][5][6][7]

Early life[edit]

Zimmer grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut.[8] In 2006, Zimmer graduated first in his class at Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and was a member of the Quill and Dagger society.[1] After graduation, Zimmer worked as an analyst in real estate finance at Lehman Brothers in New York City.[9] While at Lehman Brothers, Zimmer spent most of his time creating real estate models in Microsoft Excel.[8][9] Zimmer left Lehman Brothers three months before it declared bankruptcy.[9] The decision followed a conversation with a friend’s mother who, upon hearing his plan to leave and develop Zimride, asked how he could leave the security of Lehman Brothers.[8][9] Zimmer identified that moment as the time when he thought, "Screw this, I’m really going to leave."[9]



While at Cornell, Zimmer was inspired to develop a rideshare program by filling the empty seats he had during his rides home over school breaks: “I was driving from Upstate New York to New York City and all around me were these empty seats.”[10] As a student at Cornell, Zimmer took a City and Regional Planning Class, called Green Cities (taught by Dr. Robert Young, now at the University of Texas at Austin).[8] The class discussed the principles of simple design changes to large infrastructure, which would later influence the development of Zimride.[8] He states, "If you look back at other forms of transportation … there’s always that idea of networks and the idea of routes. We feel that this is the natural way to move toward a ubiquitous form of transportation."[7] Noting that 80% of the seats on American highways are empty, Zimmer says that ridesharing, "is a huge opportunity to create efficiency to save a lot of money and to reduce our environmental footprint."[11]

Zimmer and Green were introduced through a mutual friend on Facebook.[12] Green had posted details about his new company called “Zimride,” which interested Zimmer, who had been keeping a journal about carpooling ideas.[9]

Co-founding of Zimride[edit]

Within a week of being introduced, Green flew out to New York City to meet with Zimmer.[9] Zimride launched the first version of its rideshare program at Cornell University where, after six months, the service had signed up 20% of the student body.[6][13] Later in 2007, Zimride was active on both the Cornell and UCSB campuses.[11] Green and Zimmer promoted the service through guerilla marketing campaigns; in particular, the pair would dress in frog suits and hand out flyers to students on the Cornell campus.[9] Later, while on a Lehman Brothers recruiting trip, Zimmer was recognized by a potential recruit, who asked "I swear I recognize you—were you in a frog suit on Saturday on campus?"[9]


Zimmer quit his job at Lehman Brothers to work with Green full-time on Zimride.[6] When asked why he quit, Zimmer said, "The feelings I had about what I wanted to do and what was important to me didn’t match up with the culture in Wall Street. There was a focus on money, there was a focus on what people were wearing, and things that didn’t seem to lead to productivity."[9]

Green and Zimmer focused the service on carpooling between connected users and making carpooling fun and interesting.[14] Zimride is currently the largest rideshare platform in the United States.[15] As of April 2012, Zimride has raised $7.5 million in funding, has facilitated more than 26,000 carpools, has helped users travel over 100 million miles, employs 29, and has created over $50 million in savings in vehicle operating expenses.[16] The service is active at over 125 universities including USC, University of Minnesota, UCLA, UCSF, Cornell, Harvard, and the University of Michigan.[9][12][17][18]


In 2009, Zimmer and Logan Green were named finalists in Business Week’s list of America’s Best Young Entrepreneurs.[19]


  1. ^ a b John Zimmer | Co.Exist. Fast Company.
  2. ^ Startup Stories Cornell. August 10, 2011.
  3. ^ Nicole, Kristen. Zimride Launches Carpooling Network for Facebook. Mashable. April 14, 2007.
  4. ^ Lazlo, Luz. Zimride offers college students cheap -- and checked out -- rides. The Washington Post. December 30, 2011.
  5. ^ Nelder, Chris. Bikes, Car Shares and Buses: The New Transportation Era is Here. The Txchnologist. April 17, 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Sullivan, Colin. Startup Bets that Social Networking Will Spur Carpool Craze. New York Times. July 29, 2009.
  7. ^ a b Kessler, Sarah. Zimride Brings Carpooling to the Masses. Mashable. August 17, 2011.
  8. ^ a b c d e Bogusky, Alex. Digital Hitchhiking with Zimride. Fearless. February 28, 2011.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Shah, Semil. Why Zimride’s John Zimmer Left Wall Street to Start a Company. TechCrunch. April 19, 2012.
  10. ^ Shaughnessy, Haydn. How to Win Friends AND Cut your Travel Costs. Forbes. November 18, 2011.
  11. ^ a b Booking a ride in someone else’s car. Smart Planet. April 9, 2012.
  12. ^ a b Cohen, Deborah. Former Lehman’s banker drives startup Zimride. Reuters. September 15, 2010.
  13. ^ Schomer, Stephanie. Zimride: Carpooling for College Students. Fast Company. January 5, 2011.
  14. ^ Kwan, Connie. Zimride’s John Zimmer. Triple Pundit. November 1, 2010.
  15. ^ Car Sharing and Pooling: Reducing Car Over-Population and Collaborative Consumption. Stanford University. April 9, 2012.
  16. ^ Takahashi, Dean. Zimride raises $6M for ride-sharing car service. VentureBeat. September 21, 2011.
  17. ^ Tsotsis, Alexia. Carpool Community Zimride Lands $1.2 Million In Seed Funding. TechCrunch. August 23, 2010.
  18. ^ Hargarten, Jeff. UMN Morris acquires ride-sharing network. Minnesota Daily. October 7, 2011.
  19. ^ 2009 Finalists: America’s Best Young Entrepreneurs Business Week.

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