In this months spotlight series, KERV is celebrating Black History Month by focusing its attention on local Black business owners, content creators and entrepreneurs. This week we’re proud to introduce you to Brandon Hunter of Roog, an app that generates exposure for minority-owned businesses.
Here is Brandon’s story on how Roog came to be:
How did you get to this point?
After losing my role at a tech startup, I decided to take some time off to regroup after realizing that I never really gave myself time to figure out who I am and what I wanted to do. The idea of Roog started when I was living in Harlem, New York back in 2016. I would visit several black owned businesses in Harlem (Branson Got Juice, Charles Pan Fried Chicken and Russ’ Barbershop) and I got a chance to learn more about their businesses and some of the challenges that they faced. As I engaged more businesses, I began to see many patterns socially and economically that put many minority business owners at a disadvantage in our competitive economy. When some of my favorite businesses started to close during Harlem’s gentrification, I began to notice the true effect these changes had on our communities and quickly realized that funding and investments were critical to keeping our businesses going.
From these experiences and observations, I began to draft and design a concept to build an app for businesses that struggle to sustain themselves during social and economic changes in their communities. While working with a few development companies on a design, I got into a masters program that focused on product innovation at the McCombs School of Business at UT. My UT classmates, staff and the Austin small business community played a pivotal role in helping us validate our market and initial product design for our users.
One year after graduating from UT with a Masters of Science in Technology Commercialization, we launched Roog on September 1, 2020 during the COVID pandemic.
What matters most to you?
What matters to us at Roog is building a platform that helps minority business owners amplify their brand and shoppers of all affinity groups to shop safely among small businesses in minority communities. We want our users to shop consciously and advocate for the growing support of small minority owned businesses in the communities we call home.
Check out the Roog website below, along with their Facebook and Instagram pages.