Trying to turn around a failing technology company is almost always a futile task — just ask Marissa Mayer at Yahoo or whoever it is who now runs BlackBerry. In the months that Zenefits has been rebuilding itself, a spate of competitors have set their sights on its business. One of them, a well-financed start-up called Gusto, has put ethics and culture at the core of its appeal, and it has been scooping up disaffected Zenefits customers.
That’s the situation David Sacks faced in February when he was elevated to chief executive of Zenefits, a once-admired business software start-up and “unicorn” that spectacularly lost its way. Among other problems, Zenefits, which makes human resources software for small companies, said it had discovered that one of its founders and a former chief executive, Parker Conrad, created a program to allow sales representatives to skirt requirements on a state insurance licensing course. Zenefits’s operations are heavily regulated, so the software cheat could have been a company-ending event. Mr. Sacks has since pushed a series of reforms that have essentially remade Zenefits. Continue reading the main story