RosieThe Cornellian-founded startup providing e-commerce solutions to independent grocers and wholesalers raised $ 10 million in Series A funding earlier this month from Avenue Growth Partners, a Washington, DC-based investment firm , were directed.
With the growing demand for online purchases and deliveries in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Rosie tripled the size of his team and increased the number of retail and wholesale partnerships by 900% in 2020.
The Ithaca-based startup offers local and independent grocers mobile and web platforms to help them grow their businesses online. This also benefits shoppers who prefer to visit independent grocery stores in their own communities and can now do so without leaving their homes.
“We are very excited to continue pursuing our vision of creating a level playing field to enable independent grocers to compete with national chains and online marketplaces,” said Nick Nickitas, MBA ’14, Founder and CEO of Rosie. “This investment will accelerate our tech roadmap, allow us to bring new products to market, and continue to rapidly grow our retail and branding community with new and existing partners.”
Nickitas, Jon Ambrose, MBA ’14 and Michael Ryzewic founded Rosie in 2013. They developed their company through eLab, Cornell’s student startup accelerator, where aspiring entrepreneurs spend a full year developing business plans, talking to prospects, reaching out to investors and preparing to get off to a successful start. Today Nickitas works in the eLab Team of instructors.
Rosie joined in 2015 Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, an Ithaca incubator created as a collaboration between Cornell, Ithaca College and the Tompkins-Cortland Community to support startups and create employment opportunities in the area.
“Nick has used every business resource Cornell University has to offer and it has paid off. In addition to being part of eLab Class from 2014‘Rosie has now settled in the old student agency room eHuband worked with many faculties and graduates in his business, ”said Ken Rother, eLab General Manager. “We were delighted that Nick joined the eLab teaching team, where he can share his hard-earned insights with current student entrepreneurs.”
The startup also received early support from Ithaca Area Economic Development Loan Fund Program that aims to create high quality employment opportunities in Tompkins County. In 2017, Rosie was recognized by the Tompkins Chamber of Commerce as the prestigious Ithaca Company of the Year for investing and nurturing the modern workforce, and as pioneers in the county’s tech services industry.
“The business ecosystem at Cornell has fueled our ideas, sharpened our vision and empowered us to build Rosie,” said Nickitas. ”
Ahead of this latest funding milestone, Rosie rolled out several key features in 2020 to give retailers full autonomy in their e-commerce experience, from digital merchandising and marketing functions to a catering module. Local grocers and their customers who have used Rosie’s platform include P&C Fresh in Ithaca and Shur-Save in Trumansburg, New York.
“There is no one in the grocery e-commerce space who innovates at Rosie’s pace while putting the independent grocer first,” said Brian Goldsmith, co-founder and partner at Avenue Growth Partners. “We are excited to be helping Rosie as she and her community of retailers serve millions of consumers in this unprecedented time.”
Rosie plans to use the new capital in a variety of ways, including introducing new features and tools to expand and improve the service for buyers and retailers. Introducing new products to bring customers a seamless experience; further investments to increase the retailer’s profitability; and help connect consumer product brands of all sizes with customers shopping online at their favorite local retailers.
“E-commerce is here to stay in the grocery space and Rosie is positioned as an industry leader as we continue to refine and innovate our platform,” said Nickitas. “This latest funding will accelerate new features and provide our brand and retail partners with new monetization opportunities.”
Bridget Bright is a writer for the Center for Regional Economic Advancement.