While Steve Sarowitz ranks among the richest Americans — Forbes says his net worth is a whopping $2.9 billion — the Paylocity founder and chairman’s previous business ventures haven’t always panned out exactly the way hw envisioned. At age 25, for instance, he lost all his money on the now-defunct Ying Yang’s Express, despite four years toiling away, hoping to make the Chinese take-out joint a success. Then there’s the $1 million flitted away when he switched gears, focusing on the online payroll industry before finally landing on the proper software.
Barring those obvious bumps in his journey, though, the Chicago entrepreneur still has managed to propel Paylocity — the cloud-based payroll business he formed in a small basement with only three employees back in 1993 — into an $11 billion empire. He’s also helped found Los Angeles-based Wayfarer Studios, which had a hand in producing the award-winning religious documentary “The Gate” and feature film “Clouds.”
The 55-year-old also is active on the philanthropic front, pledging to donate $1 billion of his cash to charity via the family foundation he operates with his wife Jessica. The couple’s main goal: to combat racism, sexism, nationalism and religious prejudice. But he’s still got dough for playtime, too — records show he’s sunk big money into a Los Angeles vacation home, doling out $9.1 million for a swank mansion in a particularly desirable part of Santa Monica.
Built in 2009 and last sold in 2016 for $7.4 million, the hulking home was offloaded to Sarowitz by the estate of the late Patricia Taylor, a wealthy local philanthropist.
Sequestered behind gates, on a prime corner lot within walking distance to Brentwood Country Mart, the bulbous structure goes for glam with its pale-yellow stucco, much of it obscured behind dense vines. There are 8,500 square feet of living space on three levels, and the property is fully updated with the latest smart-home technology, solar power and in-floor radiant heat. Other lavish amenities include eight fireplaces and an elevator, hand-carved doors and moldings, wood-beamed ceilings, hand-painted tiles and antique terracotta floors.