How the Daily Office Birthday Email Became the Startup Cup of Zup

8/28/12Follow @XconomyDET

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revenue through advertising. “I hope to have a million subscribers a year from now,” Lareau adds. There’s also a Cup of Zup website that offers different content from the daily emails, with material contributed by a team of six people that have, Lareau says, lots of different tastes and points of view.

Lareau, whose Rock Ventures business card before she began devoting her time to Cup of Zup read Director of Creativity and Awesomeness, started her career in the company’s mailroom. Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans chairman Dan Gilbert, who’s a big proponent of seeking talent and soliciting ideas from every level of his company, put out an office-wide call for a new assistant.

Gilbert wrote in his email that he wasn’t looking for the best resume, but rather the person who could show him something unique. “My essay was a newspaper page I created, and everything had to do with me and Dan,” she says. Nobody’s creativity came close, so Lareau, the quirky young woman with maroon-dyed hair and large ear gauges, beat out more than 100 other applicants to land the job.

These days, Cup of Zup is spreading so rapidly that Lareau is beginning to hear about it from strangers. “My sister sent me a text message saying one of our friends got Cup of Zup forwarded to them by someone we don’t even know,” she says with a grin. “It has grown so fast.”

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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