Rockbot is the very clever music system that allows businesses to engage their customers in choosing the soundtrack to their restaurant, bar or shopping experience. It’s like an app-based jukebox with millions of fully-licensed options. Garrett Dodge, co-founder and CEO, says they’ve outgrown their current digs at Harrison and 17th and plan to triple the size of their staff once they move to the new location on Broadway and 13th. Weinstein Commercial Real Estate owns the property and is overseeing the renovations to the floor above the storefront News stand and Subway deli. The remodel will wrap up by the end of April and then RockBot can move in and begin nesting.
“When they took down the old façade they weren’t sure what they were going to find,” said Dodge. “Turns out it’s this historic building with these really great, late 1800’s fixtures that we’re going to preserve and highlight.” The outside will be a sleek, black marble while the inside is all exposed brick walls, high ceilings and natural lighting.
Garrett said he and his team knew they wanted to stay in downtown Oakland and limited their search from about 20th st. over to Jack London. “We really love the energy, a lot of our team members live in Oakland and there’s the convenience to public transportation. And obviously it’s probably half or a third of the cost of renting a building in San Francisco.”
Prior to starting Rockbot with Ketu Patel, Dodge hosted a “popular” hip-hop radio show in rural Vermont. He describes his main responsibilities as CEO to “ensure the technical team is well fed and not abusing their control over the DJ rating algorithm.”
When asked if he and his team feel a part of a growing tech scene Dodge said “Not really. I guess we have seen more and more companies coming in but the sense of place isn’t about tech, it’s a sense of community with our friends who run Stag‘s on 17th or being able to walk out and enjoy First Fridays, or head over to off the grid at the museum.” He says it doesn’t just feel like the neighborhood they work in– it feels like the neighborhood they live in.