Bringing Innovation to the Grocery Store
As a college student living on his own for the first time, University of Wisconsin-Madison undergraduate Wes Schroll 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.
Creating a More Efficient Shopping Experience
Schroll and his classmate Tyler Kennedy founded Fetch Rewards, which aims to reinvent the way people grocery shop by improving the convenience and efficiency of the customer experience. From its pilot site at Fresh Madison Market on the UW-Madison campus, the company has expanded into more than 50 grocery stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Indiana. In each of these states, customers can download the app for use at a participating store. They use their phone to scan items as they shop, keeping a running tally of the total cost and eliminating the time and energy spent removing items from the cart, scanning them and placing them back in the cart during checkout.
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, and has been approved as a Qualified New Business Venture, meaning that investors in the company qualify for tax credits. The company has 37 full-time employees at its Madison headquarters.