The Runner Team – Sam Kujovich, Zack Lamb, and Michael Roletti

It all started in an econ class his sophomore year. Michael Roletti ’16 was craving a coffee and a burrito. He started thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great if there were some way that someone could deliver it to me while I’m in class?” And thus Runner was born.

Roletti, a finance major, now works on Runner as the Chief Creative Officer alongside Sam Kujovich ‘16, a computer engineering major, and Zack Lamb ‘17, communications major. Kujovich is the CEO and President, and Lamb is CFO. While they have formal titles, they wear a lot of hats. Being such a small team means helping each other out to make it work.

The three are incredibly dedicated to Runner; it’s evident in the way they talk about the app. Runner is their child. Like good parents, they are guiding it and helping it to grow.

In the spring of 2015, the famous Facebook group was created as a test. They wanted to see if anyone was interested in the idea and get a better grasp of how people would use it.

The Facebook group was not only a huge convenience for many students, but also a constant source of comedy. Funny comments and pictures kept group members entertained on the daily. Luckily, the app still allows for the same kind of interaction. People can like and comment on tasks as well as post pictures, keeping the same upbeat attitude as the Facebook page.

Each of them has found this whole process extremely rewarding. Lamb recalls, “The most exciting thing for me was when we got our first bit of funding and we could actually hire someone to start working for us and get going.”

For Kujovich, he’s happy to be helping other people. “We recognized that there was some sort of need, and to see it come full circle and know that other people wanted it was really cool.”

And Roletti? “Doing something on our own. Creating something.”

It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the team, though. When asked if there were any scary moments, Lamb laughs and states, “A lot.” Any start-up is full of “Oh sh*t” moments.

Kujovich remembers this past summer as the biggest worry for him. “Seeing that go through months and not being able to test what you want to or see people use it at all is a very scary feeling.” Roletti also acknowledges how many problems they had getting the app up on the Apple App Store, having to continuously update to fit minor requirements.

 “We’re tough, though,” said Roletti.

Their toughness is paying off. The team is working to now expand onto other campuses, including Cal Poly SLO, Loyola Marymount, Chapman, and St. Mary’s, and they are continuing to reach out. Roletti is working hard to expand and hire reps to spread the word to students on these campuses.

For now, angel investors, people who are passionate about helping young adults get their ideas going, have been the biggest source of finances. They are hoping to get another round of funding so that they can continue to expand.

If you haven’t already, make sure to download Runner here or type “Runner Inc.” into the App Store.