Meet Emily Rotolo of SimpleForms in UTC


Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Rotolo.

Emily Rotolo graduated from Georgetown University, where she was a Division I athlete and pre-med. Before beginning MCAT studies Emily thought it would be smart to take an internship in business to explore options. She started with Bisnow Media and was hooked on entrepreneurship as her future. After living the problem while working with Summit Series on Summit Outside, Emily set out to solve the numerous problems around hiring; hiring outside a traditional work environment, confusion from both sides of the table, employers and employees on the correct forms to complete, how they need to be stored or filed and creating a streamlined process that could work for any industry. Because SimpleForms is not built to be an HRIS system it’s growth unrestricted.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Not even close. There have been countless ups and downs over the last two years.

Starting out with just a part-time engineer and myself we were able to get the product into the market in under a year, as well as start generating revenue our first year with a barely finished MVP. We now have customers finding us to sign up, and the hardest part is being able to maintain growth without funds to do so.

Being a solo female founder has added additional disadvantages and struggles. The hardest thing to date so far is fundraising. We have a great team that is invested and customers that come to us, however, the questions asked by investors are not the same to male founders. I get asked “when do you plan on getting pregnant” “Would I move the company if I “fall in love” neither of which are relevant to the work I have done or am doing. I’m 27 years old so I have also been looked up and down and told “I”m not meeting with you.” All of these experience aren’t even the worst ones, but as a team of 3 male one female my team has supported me by signing up to work harder than any other startups and they stand by my side through the trials and tribulations.

SimpleForms – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We built this product after living the problem. I am beyond proud of how far we have come. How willing I have become to ask for help and just overall the amount of knowledge and experience this has provided us, as a team.

We were really fortunate to be accepted into Techstars Accelerator in 2017. It was like an entrepreneur boot camp/MBA program that gave us the knowledge to build our business on metrics and the extended network that I still email monthly — giving updates and asking for help. We are also now a 2018 portfolio company of EvoNexus which is a big win for us after applying in 2017 and not being accepted. We are improving!

The most fun I’ve had so far is watching my team grow and mature. Being able to give our junior engineer his first job and watch him flourish under the guidance of our lead engineer.

While I wish I could code, my focus has been on everything else, from wireframes to product management, sales, fundraising, marketing, hiring, customer support. It’s a one women show on all sides except Tech where we are now 3 fulltime 2 engineers and our new product manager.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Proudest moment to date is putting together the team I am so fortunate to work with on a daily basis. Every day that I come into the office and see my team with headphones on and coding away. We are all so dedicated to the mission. It doesn’t matter if it’s the day after Christmas and a customer calls us with a crisis or a Tuesday my engineers are there to support me, our customers and our product.

We’ve participated in pitch competitions, accepted into accelerators and incubators, launched partnerships with publicly traded companies, but really for me, it’s the team.


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