Veteran finds post-pandemic groove by focusing on niche

Roque Rivera just had enough of making money for other people.

The longtime IT expert had worked in various industries for the better part of three decades.

But he felt he had something to offer in terms of a business idea.

To do so, he connected with UCF’s Business Incubation Program to learn the ins and outs of business.

It was like a crash course, one in which he thrived.

“They challenge you and I love that,” Rivera said of his incubation program mentors. “It’s also the connections you can make here and the experience they have. They have seen it all.”

Roque’s company, Rovuk, specializes in providing versatile software for subcontractors in the construction, landscaping and cleaning services industries.

The construction news site, Construction Tech News, featured Rovuk.

The hyper-niched business is based out of the incubation program’s office in East Orlando.

Rivera said one of his strengths is understanding that others have experience he can absorb.

“By understanding that these people have gone through this, you have a living encyclopedia of how to build a business right there with you,” he said.

The business is relatively new, only starting to offer its software for subcontractors last year as the pandemic battered his last company, which offered IT management services.

The Rovuk user list has been expanding swiftly, however.

As effective as the software has been, it’s Rivera’s attitude that has him set up for success, said Rafael Caamaño, a mentor with the incubator.

‘He is coachable’

“He is coachable and he has never given up,” Caamaño said. “He’s always looking to go around the wall. He’s on to something special.”

The suite of products that Rovuk has built streamline and simplify tasks that range from scheduling appointments to surveys to timecards for businesses in a specific sector.

The result is a dedicated site that saves entrepreneurs time and money.

“He has a product you can touch and feel,” he said. “It addresses an important problem that exists.”

For almost 30 years, Rivera worked in industries like hospitality and logistics for government contractors.

MIT-educated, the entrepreneur balked when a former employer was acquired and they asked him to move out of Florida for the job.

Instead, he set out on his own, a move that would eventually lead to Rovuk and the discovery of mentors at UCF.

“They can identify if that hobby could be a business or not,” he said. “You have to be committed.  I like that they tell it like it is. That’s the relationship I have with all of them. I got thick skin, man.”

That determination was steeled, at least in part, in the U.S. Army.

However, his Puerto Rican upbringing has also pushed him to be determined – a valued trait in entrepreneurship.

“I never remember my mom or my dad telling us that we could not do something,” he said.

When you ask what he does, Rivera perhaps oversimplifies.

He helps you write a 30-minute report in two minutes, he says, using technology.

“You tell me your problem, I translate the solution to the problem into a system,” he said. “That’s what software is, actually. That’s what we do.”