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Rev’s “Most Customer Driven Startup”

Who do you think should win?
Cast your vote for Rev’s “Most Customer Driven Startup” award.

At Rev, focusing on customer needs and challenges is a central doctrine. Which of the three startups below best followed this teaching and deserves the recognition?  Votes will be counted until 7:00 p.m. on June 30 and the winner will be announced at our Networking Night. The winner earns bragging rights for the year and an amazing handcrafted trophy.

Vote Now

Nominated Startups

South Hill Cider
rosie_job
Head & Heal Logo

Read more about each company below.

Nominees

South Hill Cider

South Hill Cider makes well-crafted hard cider in small batches, with attention to detail. The Cidery has been recognized in a number of national publications including Bon Appétit, Vogue, Wine Advocate and Wall Street Journal. 

 

At the onset of the pandemic, South Hill Cider closed down its tasting service and switched to only selling bottles to reduce contact among individuals and time spent in their tasting room.

The startup offered special packages of ciders online and waived shipping fees. The team ramped up their email marketing efforts and shared messages of gratitude to all the essential workers. As a result, they garnered a marked increase in online sales.  

 

In the spring, when masking and other policies were in place, they were able to re-open their tasting room with an outdoor window to serve customers on their patio throughout the summer. They scheduled a full calendar of musicians and posted an abundance of signage to ensure safety measures were followed. They created additional covered seating by erecting natural pole and shade sails, and offering safe, socially distanced self-seating in the field between their tasting room and their orchards and pick-your-own flower beds. As days got shorter and cooler, they popped a tent and heaters up to extend the hospitality. In October, during Cider Week FLX, they hosted multiple events, including a cider and cheese pairing dinner for  Indigenous People’s weekend.  

 

Firepits on the lawn allowed cider fans to gather even on colder days and nights, and during the holidays, they brought in goods like pottery and artwork from local artists and set up a one-stop artisan market within their tasting room to boost pickup sales.  

 

This spring, they built a cider shed and expanded their food offerings, and are now able to host larger groups and accommodate graduation activities, increasing the number of people able to enjoy a safe and wondrous evening watching the sunset over the hill.  

Rosie

Produce aisle at a grocery store

Fueled by rising demand for online grocery shopping and delivery amid the pandemic, Rosie tripled the size of its team in Q3 of 2020 and increased the number of retail and wholesale partnerships by over 900%

 

Prior to the pandemic, Rosie’s clients typically observed 1-3% of sales coming from e-commerce. But as consumers began avoiding grocery shopping in-person, e-commerce sales skyrocketed and the average basket size for online orders increased to five to six times larger than if a consumer were shopping in-store.

 

To retain these new online grocery shoppers and their larger orders well after the pandemic, the tech-led company formed several partnerships to keep its new customer base satisfied. Rosie teamed up with  DoorDash to expand its grocery delivery services across the United States and waived delivery fees to people ages 60 and older for a period of time.

Additionally, the startup partnered with AppCard and ShoptoCook  to launch the startup’s next-gen Omnichannel Commerce Program—a seamless experience for customers that includes single sign-on across all three programs to access digital receipts, loyalty pricing and points, digital coupons, and other touchpoints. These partnerships provide services to customers akin to those of a nationwide chain at a price point that independent grocers and retailers could afford. 

 

Finally, Rosie leveraged its pandemic growth to raise $10 million in Series A financing led by Avenue Growth Partners, a Washington, D.C. based investment firm. 

Head & Heal

Co-founders of Head & Heal, Allan Gandelman and Karli Miller-Hornick, stand in among hemp plants in a greenhouse.

Head & Heal crafts CBD and CBG products including tinctures, capsules, lotions and bath bombs—all while maintaining the highest and purest quality of their products.  

 

There are lots of CBD companies in the market and Head & Heal listened to its customers from day one to create a CBD brand above the rest. CBD consumables remain a relatively new type of product so Head & Heal made it their mission assure customers that its products were safe and educate them on the market. Due to lack of regulation in the CBD industry,  a study by Penn Medicine   showed that 70% of CBD products are mislabeled. This means customers could be paying top dollar for a bogus product. Additionally, Because hemp is a bio-accumulator, if the soil has heavy metals like arsenic or lead, or has been sprayed with pesticides, a CBD product could be tainted with those same materials and be dangerous for people with compromised immune systems. 

Head & Heal invested time and money to research the quality of its products and control its purity every step on its journey—from seed to plant and throughout the extraction and production process. They provide access to their products’ lab results and produce educational videos and blog posts on how to analyze a lab result for any CBD product. In doing so, they have created a loyal customer base that trusts its products.  

 

Head & Heal created a private Facebook group, “Head and Heal Insiders,” and an “Innovation Club” on its website to solicit customer feedback and enable customers to test new products. Based on that customer feedback, the company expanded its product line adding lavender bath bombs and bath milk, slow release CBD capsules, and even dog treats to its offerings. Additionally, the company is about to launch a new branded line of hemp flower products called Florist Farms that is focused on wellness and self-care products.