At Red Bear Angels, we get to catch up with our founders pretty often. Recently, we decided to open up these conversations and let everyone have the opportunity to hear their words of wisdom.

For a new series where we highlight our fast-growing portfolio companies, we sat down with Nick Nickitas (Cornell MBA ’13) the magnetic founder behind Rosie.

For consumers, Rosie lets you shop online from local grocers for same-day delivery or in-store pickup. But for grocery retailers across the country, Rosie is the leading provider of eCommerce and Data Analytics services.

 

If you have been around Ithaca recently, you have likely either experienced Nick’s charisma first-hand or walked by Rosie’s burgeoning office space right in the center of the Ithaca Commons.

We met Nick through the Rev accelerator program in Ithaca, pursuant to various personal references and introductions.

Here’s your inside look at the Ithaca success story:

RBA: What drove you to build this business?

NN: I wanted to make a tremendous impact on a huge market by leveraging technology to solve a hair-on-fire problem. At Rosie we help leading local retailers to compete with national chains and Amazon by providing them with eCommerce, delivery logistics, omni-channel marketing, and data analytics.

RBA: Raising capital is a two-way street, and we’re always cognizant that cash in means equity out for the founder. What influenced you to take in capital from Red Bear Angels?

Nick: Rosie has deep roots at Ithaca and Cornell. We leapt at the opportunity to strengthen those connections by working with Cornell affiliated angels that could add strategic value and accelerate the growth of the company.

RBA: What’s one tip you would give to folks who are new to angel investing?

NN: Successful venture investing is dependent on finding startups that have a compelling thesis, traction, and team (the three Ts). At the early stage, good ideas are a dime a dozen and traction is often limited at best. Focus on the team. Find out what motivates them. Are they dedicated to driving their startup to the next level at all costs with a “burn the boats” mentality or will they retreat in the face of limitless adversity that is the crucible of growing a company. Finding founders with the right stuff is critical. This can’t just get done during a 15 minute pitch. Get to know the founding team, it will make all the difference.

RBA: How has the Cornell community benefited your business since inception?

NN: Rosie is a true success case of eLab, eHub, Rev, and Red Bear Angels. The company has created over 45 jobs and works with hundreds of retail locates across 30 states. From mentoring current students, providing summer internship programs, and guest lecturing at Cornell classes, Rosie is committed to continuing to support the big red entrepreneurial ecosystem to incubate, accelerate, and fund the next generation of Cornell entrepreneurs.

RBA: Thinking back to the past four years of ups and downs in building this business, what tips would you give to your 4-years-ago self?

NN: Pick great people to work with and that have skills that complement and augment your own. I’m lucky to to work with incredible, passionate, and enthusiastic teammates at Rosie that make every day a fun, challenging, and exciting. Focus on a building a company not only for clients and investors but for your employees, who every day enable the business to achieve greatness. Create a company culture that appreciates, nurtures, and nourish the professional development and growth of your human talent. Be relentless about building awesome product. Leave a legacy for the ages.

RBA: What’s next for Rosie, and how can we help?

NN: Rosie’s is scaling faster than ever and we’re looking for talented people to join our team. Check out careers.rosieapp.com for open positions and please refer your friends, family, and colleagues to one of best companies to work for in Central NY.