Thursday, January 31, 2013

Major Changes at Zeta Communities

Zeta Communities, a San Francisco, CA modular factory founded by Naomi Parot and Shilpa Sankaran appears to have gone on a major renovation of management.

Gone are the two co-founders and replacing them seems to be a management team that has had no prior modular home experience. If this sounds familiar, that’s because there have been numerous examples of modular factories being taken over by novice and inexperienced people that have run the modular factories into the ground. We can only hope this isn’t the road map Zeta is following.

Shilpa Sankaran (left) and Naomi Parot
In 2007, Naomi and Shilpa received a $5M investment from Black Coral Capital in Boston, MA. Now here we are 6 years later and they have been eliminated from the company they started and replaced with Black Coral people. 

Here is the current Zeta Communities lineup. 

Notice the lack of housing and modular experience they bring to the table.

All management profiles come from the Zeta websites

Howard Koenig, CEO
Howard is an experienced executive in technology and software-as a service companies. He has held executive positions at ADP, Oracle, and Accenture. Howard has a strong track record of accelerating growth and profitability of both mature and early stage companies. Howard recently led, as CEO, the financing, growth, and liquidity events for a large construction centric, SaaS company. Howard's domain expertise in software/SaaS solutions includes Architecture Engineering Construction (AEC), business to business collaboration, workflow solutions, and workforce optimization. Howard hopes to add technology as another growth pillar to the ZETA Communities differentiation. Howard has an BA and MBA from the State University of NY at Buffalo. Howard serves on the Deans advisory committee for the University of Buffalo.

Jim Ciardella, VP and CFO
Mr. Ciardella joined ZETA Communities in 2011 bringing over 30 years of finance & manufacturing experience to the Company. Prior to that Mr. Ciardella was CFO of NDS Surgical Imaging, a medical device manufacturer from 2004 to 2010. He served as CFO and subsequently, President and COO, at Dolch Computer Systems from 1990 to 2004. Before that, he served in various senior financial management roles at National Semiconductor, other privately-held companies and as audit manager with Deloitte and Touche, CPA's. Mr. Ciardella holds a BS in Accounting from California State University at Chico.

Lee Mullinax, Senior VP - Sales and Marketing
Lee's role at ZETA is to provide leadership and direction of our Sales Team and to help our clients realize cost and time efficiencies within both their existing projects and proposed new developments. With his primary focus on urban redevelopment and master-planned resort communities, Lee Mullinax's career in the building industry has spanned more than 35 years. His vast experience includes providing project design consulting, marketing, and sales services for new developments, condominium conversions, adaptive re-use projects, senior housing developments, and hotels in 22 major markets throughout North America. Lee's extensive industry knowledge and first-hand experience with a wide variety of projects, product types, and market conditions enables him to provide ZETA'S clients with the benefit of his unique insight and expertise during their project's critically important planning and design phases.


You took a reported $60M in investment money. I wonder how long the people that gave you that money will sit on the sidelines before they get antsy and decide they can run the company better than the original Blu Homes people. Read the Article.


Anonymous said...

This reminds me of Champion and Excel Homes. I wasn't aware that Blu Homes got that much money but I agree with Coach; you better watch out.

Anonymous said...

What are the co-founders doing now?

Anonymous said...

Seems the team is quite experienced to me... and they are not all complete industry outsiders... But, on the question of industry outsiders running a company, MIT Sloan school of management research has this to say:

"Outsider CEOs often excel at the rapid cost cutting required to reverse poor performance. Nevertheless, one of the widest criticisms against outsider CEOs is that their newness at the company — and their lack of industry knowledge — prevents them from initiating the changes necessary for growth. Our findings challenge this conventional view..."

Anyway, that's my two cents.

Kenneth Bigler said...

Anonymous 2:37
You must be an MBA because that is what they preach. Fact is that every "successful" modular home factory is run by people that have either worked their way up through the ranks of the factory or came to the factory as a stick builder.
I think Zeta will either be sold in a couple years at a loss, close down or go bankrupt. These MBA types will not be successful.
I would never had known that the founders of Zeta were kicked out without this blog. Keep up the good work

Sonoma Sue said...

Naomi Porat and Shilpa Sankaran can now be found at Alpha Group SF: