With Zipcar, Robin Chase introduced car-crazy America to the concept of non-ownership. Now she's flipping that model with Buzzcar, which lets you rent your own auto to your neighbors.
If she weren't a proven entrepreneur, you might imagine Robin Chase as a transportation geek, a dedicated civil servant, endlessly refining computer models of freeway traffic. If she weren't such a green-conscious problem-solver, you might take her for a startup whiz. Case in point: In 2000, Chase focused her MIT business training on a car-sharing scheme imported from Europe and co-founded Zipcar, now the largest car-sharing business in the world. Using a wireless key, location awareness and Internet billing, members pick up Zipcars at myriad locations anytime they want one.
Now Chase has launched Buzzcar, a car-sharing service in France with a twist: instead of a fleet of green Zipcars, the service lets users share their own cars and make money off their unused capacity. Call it peer-to-peer auto rental.