Zimride reinvents the carpool with Facebook

Hitchhiking is so yesterday. A San Francisco-based startup called Zimride is using the power of social media to connect drivers with people needing rides -- saving people money, helping the environment and sometimes helping its customers make new friends.

Zimride reinvents the carpool with Facebook

"Zimriding is really fun," says John Zimmer, the company's co-founder and chief operating officer."We've had people who have met a girlfriend or boyfriend, or found a new job."

When I first heard about Zimride, I was dubious. Is there really a business in car pooling, especially when it requires riding with a stranger?

After talking with John, and learning more about the company, I've changed my mind. Zimride could grow into a nice business. It's off to a good start: Built on college campuses, around workplaces and events, Zimride by last summer had formed more than 26,000 carpools, created more than 100 million shared miles and saved drivers more than $50 million in expenses. Last September, Zimride raised $6 million in venture capital from investors Mayfield Fund, Floodgate and K9 Ventures. Facebook's fbFund provided $250,000 in seed funding back in 2008.

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