Jan. 27, 2017

Cornell startup Rosie is business of the year in Ithaca

Rosie Applications is a young startup making a big impact in downtown Ithaca. Founded in 2012, Rosie has become an industry-leading grocery shopping platform for mobile and web by allowing independent grocery stores to sell online.

Rosie Applications team accepts Chamber of Commerce Award
Provided by the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce
The Rosie Applications team accepts the Distinguished Business of the Year award from the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce during its annual dinner and awards ceremony Jan. 26.

At its annual awards dinner Jan. 26, the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce recognized Rosie Applications as the Distinguished Business of the Year Award for its investment in Ithaca, cultivating a modern workforce and being pioneers of the tech service industry in Tompkins County.

“The decision by Rosie co-founders to locate in the heart of downtown Ithaca has not only stimulated the local economy and created new jobs, but also further enhances the already vibrant, entrepreneurial spirit found in Ithaca,” said Jennifer Tavares, president of the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce.

The company set down roots when then-students Nick Nickitas, MBA ’14, and Jon Ambrose, MBA ’14, met at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. Nickitas and Ambrose pitched their business idea at Cornell’s 2012 Startup Weekend and attracted more student talent to their team. Wanting to take every advantage of the opportunities for growing their company, the Rosie team applied and were accepted to Cornell’s eLab Accelerator in 2012.

When the Rosie team wanted to grow their company after graduation, they realized that support extended beyond the campus. They entered the business incubator Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, staying close to their Cornell connections while forging new ties to additional mentors.

“The resources and mentorship we received at eLab, and now Rev, have been instrumental in our success,” said co-founder Nickitas. “Receiving the distinguished business award from the chamber is further validation that we are on the right track. We are excited for the future of our company and proud of our ties to the Ithaca and Cornell communities.”

Over the past four years, Rosie has grown from three entrepreneurs to a full-time staff of 25 employees, and it is on track to double that in 2017.

“The city is proud to be a leader and partner in the win-win combination of innovation and economic impact that has become a hallmark of our community,” said Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick ’09. “Ithaca is now a great place to start and grow a company, and Rosie is one of the very best examples of success.”

The future for Rosie looks bright. The company and its partner Dash’s Market recently were selected to take part in a U.S. Department of Agriculture pilot program to allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants to purchase groceries online.

“Food security and access to fresh, local foods is a serious issue,” said Rosie co-founder Ambrose. “Our participation in this pilot enables retailers that select Rosie as their e-commerce partner to provide SNAP recipients with fast, easy access to fresh, local foods. Partnerships like this allow us to help independent grocers and millions of Americans all while based in Ithaca, New York.”

Bonnie E. Sanborn, M.S. ’15, is communications coordinator for the Center for Regional Economic Advancement at Cornell.