How I Became A Founder: Perkies’s Rosie Mangiarotti

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Rosie Mangiarotti graduated from Brown University in 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, Entrepreneurship, and Organizations. She was a four-year member of Brown University’s Women’s Varsity Lacrosse team, captaining it her senior year. As the Founder & CEO of Perkies, she’s managed to accomplish quite a bit already:

  • Named one of “2020’s Startups to Watch” by Rhode Island Inno
  • Participant in Brown University’s Breakthrough-Lab; intensive & selective 8-week accelerator program for startups
  • Audience Vote Winner for the 2018 Cox Business “Get Started RI” Pitch Competition
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Perkies founder and CEO Rosie Mangiarotti.

Frederick Daso: When did you first gain interest in being a founder?

Rosie Mangiarotti: Since I can remember, my father has been an entrepreneur, so this idea of starting a company was never too foreign to me. I began taking it more seriously once I got to college, specifically my junior year, when I took a class at Brown called “The Entrepreneurial Process” taught by Professor Danny Warshay. As part of this class, we had to create a business plan based on a product or service that solves a customer pain point. At the time, Brown also started building up its entrepreneurial presence through The Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship. This new center, coupled with the entrepreneurship course’s timing, made me think that pursuing a venture and being a founder was something I could continue after I graduated from Brown.

Daso: What were the essential experiences that helped you be in the position you are today?

Mangiarotti: I give my parents a lot of credit to encourage me to pursue this and provide me with a place to live these past two years; I understand that I am fortunate to have supportive parents who happen even to live just an hour from NYC! I also give Brown and their Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship a lot of credit, including the Breakthrough Lab program; the mentors I met and opportunities provided to me wouldn’t have happened without Brown facilitating them. Winning the $5k audience vote from the “Get Started RI Pitch Competition” was also a critical component in my pursuing Perkies.

Daso: Who were the critical individuals or groups that contributed to your professional success, and why?

Mangiarotti: Melissa Studzinski came on as an advisor/consultant shortly after I decided to take Perkies on full-time. Melissa has been instrumental in getting me to where I am today. She keeps me on track and keeps me moving forward and is remarkably intelligent and motivational. She’s the type of person your parents want you to have as your role model.

My sisters and close girlfriends have also been incredible in this journey. They provide me with constant support and inspiration; they validate this product’s need every day and want to see me succeed. I am fortunate to have this army of women behind me.

My parents have also definitely contributed to my professional success. Without being welcomed home with open arms, I wouldn’t have this opportunity to start a company. They, too, support all of my decisions and want me to succeed. By living with them, I continuously learn the values of work ethic, vision, and leadership.

Daso: How did you prepare for yourself to become a founder?

Mangiarotti: I didn’t! This kind of just fell into my lap, and I went with it. Thankfully I had some guidance from Brown’s Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship and Brown’s eight-week accelerator program, B-Lab. I learned from other entrepreneurs in my cohort. I also learned some basic skill sets that I’ve implemented along the way, specifically how to network, pitch, and write concise and professional emails.

Daso: Were there any particular clubs at school that were useful resources for breaking into your current field?

Mangiarotti: As I mentioned earlier, Brown has a strong entrepreneurial presence. The Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship hosted several events that got my wheels turning towards entrepreneurship, and the entrepreneurship class I took my junior year was the impetus of Perkies. Also, playing varsity lacrosse with a team of 35 college-aged women helped validate the market demand for this product.

Daso: What do you think stops most people from becoming a founder?

There are risks involved, such as age, location, timing, finances, family dependents, fear of failure, etc. But as my favorite entrepreneur, Sara Blakely, says, “The biggest risk in life is not risking.” It’s vital to adopt this mentality early on!

Daso: Looking back, would you change anything about your professional path?

Mangiarotti: Nope, although one day, I hope to start a company that solves more significant issues with a more vital for-purpose mission, that can significantly improve the lives of those less fortunate. Perkies 2.0.

Daso: Who are three other people I should interview next?

Mangiarotti: Here are three founders you should check out next!

  • Caroline Danehy, Co-Founder of Fair Harbor,
  • Emma Butler, Founder of Intimately
  • Katie Diasti, Viv for your V

Looking for a job with the hottest startups delivered to your inbox weekly? Subscribe to my newsletter, Founder to Founder (F2F): Check out my latest F2F story: Startup Spotlight #41: Motion.

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out my other work on LinkedIn and my personal website, Follow me on Twitter @fredsoda, on Medium @fredsoda, and on Instagram @fred_soda.

Forbes Under 30 Contributor, 2016 LinkedIn Top Voice, Venture Fellow at Rough Draft Ventures

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