Alex Rouse’s Journey from High School to the High Tech Industry
By Laura Fitzpatrick, Staff Writer
“I’ve always felt a calling to make the biggest impact I can,” explains Alex Rouse (WC ’02). “From a practical perspective, that’s meant aiming high, being courageous enough to walk through doors that God opens, and not getting too comfortable where I am.” True to this ambition, God has opened many doors for this WC alum, and he has courageously pursued greater and greater heights.
Upon graduating from WC in 2002, Rouse attended the only university he applied to: The Ohio State University. Having been interested in math, science, and technology throughout his high school years, Rouse decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. As a “fun” side project in his undergraduate years at OSU, Rouse started a software company just to gain experience. The company designed and built software products to help businesses solve needs such as inventory management. This project that Rouse started as an experimental endeavor as a college student grew to a successful business building products for national retailers. Through this experience, he realized that he was passionate about working with customers to design custom software products that met their needs. He also realized that he was far more interested in the business side of technology than the engineering side he had studied as an undergraduate.
Shortly after graduating from OSU and marrying his wife Marta in 2006, they moved to Boston, Massachusetts, for Rouse to pursue a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His area of focus was “product management,” the area of business that deals with the planning, developing, and launching of new products. His goal throughout his graduate studies was to work in the high tech industry space, for a large company such as Google or Facebook. And that is exactly what he did.
Straight out of MIT, Rouse was hired by Amazon, so he and Marta moved across the country to Seattle, Washington. In his time at Amazon, he worked in multiple roles, including Senior Product Manager for the Amazon App store and Amazon Global Payments. Rouse describes this job as a great experience and an incredible learning opportunity. He was tasked with many significant responsibilities such as managing the development and launch of well-known products such as Kindle Fire HDX devices and Fire TV.
After five years of working at Amazon, God opened another door for Rouse. He and Marta moved to Los Angeles, California, where he and five colleagues began a new venture: to build a movie ticketing startup business that would transform the industry. Together they founded “Atom Tickets,” a movie ticketing service that allows users to buy movie tickets, invite friends, research movies and more. As Atom Tickets’ Head of Products, Rouse traversed all the stages of a startup business: research, development, partnership negotiation, launch, and marketing. Since it was founded in 2014, this movie ticketing company has grown to over $120 million in revenue, has corporate partnerships with companies like AMC and Regal Cinemas, recently received huge investments from Disney, Lionsgate, and Fox, and is endorsed by industry leaders like J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg. Rouse’s family also grew during this time; he and Marta had two children, Sienna and August, now ages four and two respectively.
In the summer of 2018, Alex and Marta felt called to move back to Columbus, Ohio, to be near their families. Although no longer a full-time employee of Atom Tickets, he still serves as an advisor to the company and works as much as possible with the current leadership team to see it continue to grow and be successful. He now works full-time as the Associate Vice President of Innovation for Nationwide Insurance. His department focuses on developing new products/startup companies through Nationwide. He manages many product development teams, most of which are working to create companies that provide debt solutions for consumers.
Outside of work, Rouse spends as much time as possible with his family, and enjoys smoking meats, playing golf, and playing cards, as hobbies. He finds time to volunteer as a coach for young entrepreneurs who are trying to get their businesses off the ground, and he is actively involved in a local church. As a fun sidenote, he still owns the yellow 1976 Corvette he drove in high school.
It’s evident that Rouse has experienced remarkable success on his journey from high school to the high tech industry through much hard work, his God-given skills and creativity, and the courage to walk through the doors God has opened to him; there is no doubt that he will continue to have a tremendous impact as he strives to “aim high.”