Company: Fetch Rewards
Products: The mission of Fetch Rewards is to reinvent the way people grocery shop by improving the convenience and efficiency of the customer experience. After downloading the Fetch Rewards app free of charge, customers can scan the items they wish to purchase with their phones as they shop. The process eliminates the needless time and energy required to remove items from a cart, scan them and place them back in the cart during the check-out process. Participating stores have dedicated checkout lanes for Fetch Rewards customers.
The Madison-based company generates revenue with coupons: brands pay to have coupons for their products included in the app, and pay extra for preferred placement, such as having their coupon appear on a user’s home screen or when the user scans a competitor’s product.
Location: Headquartered in Madison, with 6,000 square feet of space for development, support and general operations.
Employees: Fetch Rewards currently has 32 employees working in development, sales, account management, support and general administration.
Founded: Wes Schroll founded Fetch Rewards during his sophomore year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As a college student living on his own for the first time, he saw the process of grocery shopping with fresh eyes—and found some inefficiencies painfully obvious. For example, on one shopping trip, he bought a dozen eggs and received a coupon for a discount on his next egg purchase; he would have bought a second dozen in the same shopping trip if he’d only received the coupon prior to checkout. He founded the company with a classmate, Tyler Kennedy. “Grocery shopping has really been done the same way for over 50 years,” says Schroll, “and our fundamental goal has always been to change that.”
Leadership: Wes Schroll, chief executive officer; Heidi Wagner, chief technology officer; Tyler Kennedy, vice president of operations; Kahloong Teh, head of integrations; Joe Sweeney, head of retail sales; Birk Cooper, head of marketing.
Operations/Market: Fetch Rewards first launched at Fresh Madison Market on the UW-Madison campus. The app is currently available for use in nine stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Indiana.
Business Successes: The stores that currently offer and accept the Fetch Rewards app range in nature from small, independent grocers to stores that are part of a chain of more than 200; thus, Schroll believes the company is well-positioned to expand into a wide variety of stores. The company plans to expand to make the app available in more than 100 locations by the end of 2015 and is planning to hire an additional 10 to 12 people in the year ahead.
Wisconsin Business Environment Benefits: Fetch Rewards won a total of $170,000 in four business plan competitions, including UW-Madison’s Innovative Minds Challenge and the Wisconsin School of Business’s G. Steven Burrill Business Plan Competition. The company has been awarded a $500,000 Technology Development Loan from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Fetch Rewards also has been approved as a Qualified New Business Venture, meaning that investors in the company qualify for tax credits. In addition to these benefits of doing business in Madison, “the talent pool continues to be something that’s extremely attractive to us,” says Schroll. “Especially with the university right here, there’s no shortage of high-quality candidates.” He notes that Wisconsin also is a prime location because many large grocery chains are based in the Midwest.
To Learn More: fetchrewards.com