Name: Ed Goldfinger
Position: CFO of Zipcar
Previous Positions: CFO of Spotfire, a business-intelligence and analytics software company; CFO of the Latin American beverage business at Pepsi-Cola International; senior manager in the audit practice at KPMG.
Notable For: Being finance chief of the largest car-sharing company in the world. Based in Cambridge, Mass., Zipcar has more than 700,000 members in four countries.
His Take-Away: When you’re inventing a new business and innovating a new category, you have to innovate the metrics around the business, too. I actually invented one here, called “weekality.” Everyone has heard of seasonality, and there is a seasonal aspect to our business. But even within a week you have times when people are driving our cars a lot, like two o’clock on a Saturday afternoon. You also have times when the cars aren’t in use that much, like overnight during the week. One thing that came out of this analysis was the idea of an overnight program. If people are commuting into work and they want to use a car for the evening, because they want to do errands or go on a date, they can take the car at night and return it in the morning for far less than they would pay for a day rate. For us it’s a great deal, because those cars really weren’t being used much anyway. So in some ways, the secret sauce to the business is understanding what our trends are around vehicle use and member behavior.