Robert Zakari began his career as General Counsel and VP of Business Affairs for 1-800-US-SEARCH shortly after graduating from New York Law school.
With no prior legal department at US-SEARCH and, for newly graduated Mr. Zakari, no prior on-the-job experience, the company presented many challenges from day one. Mr. Zakari rolled up his sleeves and dove in, quickly building the internal structures and policies that eventually led US-SEARCH to an IPO three years later.
With nearly 100 percent of US-SEARCH's revenue being generated from television advertising, Zakari embarked on a mission to expand the company's reach to the Internet, ultimately landing the service on every major online white-page directly.
To stay at the forefront, US-SEARCH voluntarily joined the Internal Reference Group (IRSG), an independent trade group comprised of information giants like Experian, Trans Union, Acxiom, and LEXIS-NEXIS. As such, US-SEARCH committed to upholding to the highest standards in disseminating public record information, earning Price Waterhouse Coopers' seal of approval at the conclusion of an independent audit.
Upon the company's successful IPO, US-SEARCH began trading on NASDAQ under the symbol SRCH. The milestone marked the culmination of years of work that began when the company was founded in 1994.
Zakari faced his greatest challenge, however, dealing with the media attention and disruption that came when an employee of US-SEARCH discovered the 39 bodies of the Heaven's Gate group in Rancho Santa Fe. That morning, Zakari was leaving the office to do legal research when he noticed a package for US-SEARCH employee.
When Zakari was notified that the San Diego Sheriff's Department wanted to speak with the employee, Zakari represented the employee throughout the investigation. When it was determined that the group had chosen to take their own lives, and that the US-SEARCH employee was not involved in the matter, the media insatiable appetite for more information reached a feverish pitch. In his first attempt at crisis management, Zakari was able to move US SEARCH beyond this one event, and get the company back on track.
After the IPO, Zakari left US-SEARCH to join a small technology start-up named X:Drive, which delivered technology to allow consumers to store their data online and access it from anywhere in the world via the Internet. X:Drive was a pioneer in cloud computing at a time when bandwidth, and storage costs were vastly more expense than today. Today, Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive offer the same services to users with access to much better technology and bandwidth.
At X:Drive, Zakari was fortunate to meet and work with may pioneers of the tech world including Chris DeWolfe, Tom Anderson, and Josh Berman, the trio behind MySpace. X:Drive raised significant funds as it grew to become the leader in cloud storage.
Zakari reunited with an old colleague to work on public record services, whose philosophy was to utilize technological advances in Internet connection speeds, storage capabilities, and search algorithms to give the public the most powerful and thorough way to locate information about individuals. Zakari and a team re-invented the way people searched for public records much in the same way US-SEARCH did in the 1990s. However, there remained one more paradigm shift. The day would come when the same high-quality public search information would be made available for free.
Though many white-page like services had offered free addresses and phone numbers for years, it was not until the advent of ZabaSearch.com that consumers had access to the kind of free public record search the public was seeking.
ZabaSearch was the first step in the democratization of information that had previously been available to attorneys, the government, bill-collectors, and financial institutions for years. With the advent of Zabasearch, access to that same information was open to everyday citizens. ZabaSearch was sold to Intelius at in 2008.
After the sale of ZabaSearch, Zakari continued to work on various business projects that he co-founded, including Global Agora, an early-stage venture capital fund and SUP ATX where he worked as acting CEO for almost two years. SUP ATX manufacturers and sells Stand Up Paddle boards and accessories to customers directly and through the SUP USA brand at Costco.com.
In February of 2012, Zakari joined his former colleague and start up veteran Josh Berman at BeachMint as Vice President of Business Affairs and General Counsel. BeachMint was backed by major venture capital firms including Accel, Anthem, NEA, Scale , and Trinity. There, he was able to help guide the executive team and board of directors through the company's meteoric growth, and eventual merger with Condé Nast's Lucky Magazine to become The Lucky Group. In early 2016, The Lucky Group's readers and users were welcomed as part of the Glamour family.
Zakari's reputation as a no-nonsense leader and advisor led to his being asked by a board member of DigiTour, a media company based in Culver City, to advise the co-founders on helping them grow their business. DigiTour's investors include Viacom and Ryan Seacrest.
It was another former colleague, Chris DeWolfe, who finally lured Zakari to his current position at Jam City, a mobile game development studio. His role as EVP Corporate Development & General Counsel brings together Zakari's skills as a successful operator and deal maker, as well as his two-decade long legal experience together in a fast moving and fun environment.
Robert lives in Calabasas, California with his wife and children, and two Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
Casual Connect, Seattle WA
Executive - Entrepreneur - Husband - Dad
Agoura Hills, CA
Santa Barbara, CA
Mulholland Drive, CA
Tough Mudder Celebration
Casual Connect, Berlin Germany