Feature StoryMeet Your Haas Network
Scott Kucirek and Juan Mini, both MBAs 99
Scott Kucirek, MBA 99, (pictured above) who founded ZipRealty in 1999 with fellow Haas alumnus Juan Mini, MBA 99, helped turn the home-buying business on its head by creating the first full-service web-based real estate firm. ZipRealty’s online service reduced the commission that sellers paid and also rebated a percentage of that same commission to buyers.
“I think what Zip did and will continue to do is bring the customer back into focus,” Kucirek says. “It isn’t about the agents. It’s about the buyers and sellers.”
Kucirek and Mini launched ZipRealty while at Haas -- the business plan for the company made it to the final round of the UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition in 1999. Since its founding, Zip has closed more than 33,000 real estate deals worth more than $11 billion. The company, which went public in November 2004, is now doing business in 11 states. Sales have increased as the company has pushed into new markets, jumping 84 percent to $62.3 million between 2003 and 2004. Deloitte recently named Zip to its annual list of 500 fastest growing technology companies, ranking the company number 59.
Like many entrepreneurs, both Mini and Kucirek have moved on to new pursuits. Mini left first, when he returned to Guatemala in 2002 to run his family’s commercial real estate business. Last fall, Mini started an Internet company he hopes to launch in March. He’s keeping details close to the vest, though he says he hopes the startup will help encourage entrepreneurs there to move beyond “advertisement-only” websites. Kucirek resigned as Zip’s vice president of new market development last fall and was just appointed general manager of Prudential CA/NV/TX Realty, the 10th largest broker in the nation.