Savas Sirikci was a student at UCLA and found it extremely difficult to find an apartment off-campus that was not only reasonably priced, but also provided a manageable commute. Being inspired by his own housing woes, Savas established Zuma and began to run the company from an at-home office. In December of 2008, Zuma rented its first apartment to UCLA students. The passion and dedication that Savas began with started to translate into his work and Zuma was born.
Zuma began to gain traction in 2009 as word of mouth began to spread, not only on the campus of UCLA, but throughout Westwood. As attention increased, so did the number of apartments. Students who were in need of off-campus housing began to seek out Zuma for assistance. .
As Zuma began to work with more and more students at UCLA, in 2010 the company expanded to providing off-campus housing for students who attend Santa Monica College. The company was growing at a rapid pace as the company was driven by word of mouth as people became increasingly pleased with the generosity of Zuma. While increasing the staff, Zuma still maintained their at-home office and served students in UCLA and Santa Monica.
Finally able to move into its very own office on Westwood Boulevard, Zuma made its biggest leap in the world of Los Angeles real estate. In 2012 Zuma purchased 40 units in Westwood. With the new office space, Zuma was able to be flexible with student hopeful as the staff could take on any concerns they may have, just a few blocks from the brand new units. The new units gave Zuma the ability to personalize each apartment to the needs of students and the vision that Savas had in 2008 began to take shape and materialize.
The International Student Department at UCLA gave official sponsorship to Zuma housing. As a service to its customers, Zuma was now able to work with UCLA to provide the best experience possible for new tenants. Students began to form relationships with each other through Zuma’s shared space layout that the company quickly started to see a positive trend in terms of building connections. The philosophy of Zuma at this time was to not only provide housing, but to connect people who were relocating from all over the world to further their education in west Los Angeles.
Yet another location was formed in the form of Zuma Barrington (west side LA). The Barrington location was massive in comparison to Zumas other dwellings, with 100 units in total space. Keeping its reputation of one of the most credible sources for off-campus student housing in west LA, Zuma began to appeal to those attending EC Los Angeles, The California Language Academy, The English Language Center and Kaplan International English School.
Working with the UCLA Health Department, Zuma was a key catalyst in the David Geffen School of Medicine’s non-profit organization. Zuma housing was able to sponsor the Global Health Environment Program which was able to bring potential doctors and medical students from less privileged countries to UCLA to give them an opportunity to further their education and succeed in their career path. Some tenants have been able to obtain their education with the direct help of Zuma, ultimately going on to work at companies such as Google.