October 23, 2013

DORSETT: It Starts with Great Company

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By Claire Dorsett

“We should establish a rule here and now,” someone said, raising a Solo cup to toast.  “We should never have more people in the company than we can fit into a hot tub.”

I don’t remember specifically who said this; it could just as easily have been any one of the 14 of us gathered together at that cabin in the middle of nowhere for a weekend team off site gathering.

What I do remember is that everyone agreed, everyone toasted, everyone drank. What I remember even more clearly was that we did it in unison.  In the office, we are 14 different people working on 14 different projects from 14 different perspectives — product development, business development, creative, marketing, sales, you name it. There, we are team Rosie; we are “the fastest and most convenient way to shop for groceries in your community.”  However, in truth we’re much more than that.

Our co-founders are two Cornell MBA students and a Columbia graduate. Our CEO studied philosophy at Lehigh; our COO, business at Villanova.  Our CTO holds dual undergraduate degrees in astrophysics and mechanical engineering, and commutes regularly from NYC. As a technology-based startup, it stands to reason that seven of us are currently studying computer science.

More surprising might be one team member’s background as a visual arts and Japanese double major, or another who is currently studying English literature and anthropology.  We have a Cornell graduate who studied economics, and two Syracuse University undergrads majoring in marketing and advertising.

Collectively, we are from California, Ohio, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Missouri and Massachusetts. We come from a variety of experiential and socioeconomic backgrounds, and have unique sets of passions and pet peeves. In short, we are as different as they come.

I had been part of this company for two months before that off site hot tub experience, and I had never seen us all in the same place outside of a business context. In that cabin and that hot tub, as cliché as it seems, we were not departments or positions or titles. We were more than even a team. We were, and are, a family. Our team is expanding — we’ve added two new members in the past two weeks alone.  For some of us, Rosie is our first startup.  For others, it’s the latest of several or of many.

Rosie is a leader in online and mobile predictive shopping applications, partnering with local, independent grocery retailers to enable customers to purchase their favorite household items online via the web or on their smartphones. Rosie harnesses retailer and consumer data to power its patent pending machine learning algorithms, which provide targeted shopper marketing insights for retailers and a fast, smart, convenient shopping experience for customers.

Each of us is devoted to the development of this company, which is expanding rapidly.  We are currently live at three stores in Ithaca, Cortland and Syracuse, and will be opening eight more in the upcoming months, across Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts.

We are looking forward to the upcoming challenges, technologically and otherwise. As we decided on our off-site, we don’t want to keep our team exclusive. We want to grow.

We’ve all agreed — we’re just going to have to get a bigger hot tub.

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