Alumni create "FroBot" start-up

FroBot, "The Redbox of Frozen Yogurt," is the brainchild of University alumni Jeremy O'Sullivan '09 and Melissa Nelson '09.
FroBot, “The Redbox of Frozen Yogurt,” is the brainchild of University alumni Jeremy O’Sullivan ’09 and Melissa Nelson ’09.

Christina Oddo

News Editor

Jeremy O’Sullivan ’09 and Melissa Nelson ’09 launched FroBot, “The RedBox of Frozen Yogurt” a few years after their graduation. O’Sullivan, chief executive officer, holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and is a Certified Public Accountant. O’Sullivan was working at a Big Four accounting firm when he decided to lead FroBot.

Nelson, chief development officer, received a bachelor’s degree with honors in accounting, and spent two years as an auditor for Deloitte & Touche after college. Currently, Nelson is pursuing her JD at the University of Maryland School of Law.

FroBot is a new kind of vending machine that is the smallest, single-unit frozen yogurt retailer. FroBot freezes real organic yogurt, flavored with organic ingredients. There are three simple steps involved in this new frozen yogurt shop experience. First, the customer places a cup down on the serving area. Second, the customer selects cup size and flavor from the touch screen. Last, the customer pays by swiping a card and in a matter of 15 seconds, a frozen treat is customized and served.

O’Sullivan and Nelson’s interest in frozen yogurt and vending machines was sparked by their boredom and disgust with regular vending machines.

“We’ve never celebrated mediocrity,” Nelson said. “Why not create something people actually look forward to using?”

The two believe that real, wholesome food is fundamental to the health of communities and to the success of people.

“With today’s technology, there’s just no reason for it,” Nelson said. “We were dissatisfied and our friends and co-workers felt the same way. We wanted to do something disruptive. We believe FroBot speaks for our generation’s demand for something better.”

O’Sullivan and Nelson believe that frozen yogurt is the perfect on-the-go food, because it is both delicious and healthy. The two also attribute this start-up, as well as their innovation and devotion to this new project, to their college experience.

“Bucknell encouraged us to find our passion,” Nelson said. “We dabbled a bit in everything–from lending a hand at theater performances to TA-ing various classes. Ultimately we ended up as members of the Student Managed Investment Fund and Jeremy became part of the student government. We’ve learned that Bucknellians appreciate a good idea. The best example of this is when Jeremy was a part of BSG and they were planning the senior last-day-of-class celebration. Jeremy persuaded BSG to make it a champagne toast, despite some reluctance, and people loved it. And as far as we know, it became a lasting tradition.”

On Nibletz.com, Nelson speaks further on her University experience, by mentioning the limited eating options in Lewisburg.

“We would make the mile and a half hike to this place called ‘The Freez’ to get something good. This got us talking about possibilities. Years later, we we’re still complaining about the same thing: a good place to go that was convenient and didn’t close by the time we got off work. We also knew we weren’t alone in our discontent, hearing frequent complaints from coworkers.”

According to Nibletz.com, O’Sullivan and Nelson wish they could freeze time for a year and add new technology to the market. For the immediate future, they look to advance the scope of toppings in vending machines, to include toppings like fresh fruit.

“Jeremy and I both lived on McDonnell 2NW our freshman year,” Nelson said. “We might as well have been from different planets but became best friends almost overnight. We definitely make a profound team. FroBot is a product of an amazing seven years.”

Visit the following sites for more information about FroBot:

http://nibletz.com/2013/01/29/frobot-redbox-frozen-yogurt/
https://www.facebook.com/frobotinc
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