Sometimes the best inventions come from necessity. Twenty-year-old Wes Schroll is living proof of that.
He and his friend Tyler Kennedy are the founders of a new grocery app that promises to be the cheapest way to shop.
Schroll was finishing up his freshman year in Madison, and it was the first time he needed to buy groceries for himself. However, he found that shopping could be frustrating.
"I just thought it was really inefficient," said Schroll. "I thought especially the couponing was very flawed." He said he remembers going to a big-box store and the clerk actually giving him coupons for an item he just bought.
"It was frustrating because I easily would have bought a second pack of eggs," said Schroll. "So it kind of started right there."
When Schroll met Kennedy in a collegiate entrepreneurship organization, the two started brainstorming business plans and getting ideas from experts.
"We've been working with our moms," laughed Kennedy.
The Fetch Rewards app is designed to give users mobile discounts with their smartphone. You simply scan each item, and the app will tell you if there's a discount. You can create lists, share lists and see what specials are available through the app. The idea is that you get discounts on items that you actually buy, like beer, soda and chips. The Fetch team works with manufacturers for deals, and often you'll find one thing free available in the app, like orange juice. You can even pay for groceries with Fetch points.
"It's kind of exciting that there hasn't been a change in the grocery industry for decades," said Kennedy. "Finally there's something coming around besides loyalty programs that are completely going to change the way people shop."
Right now, Schroll is putting school on hold to keep developing the app. He has a team of 13 full-time employees and is constantly working to improve the product.
Fetch is currently running in Fresh Madison Market downtown, but the idea is to expand. The app is free for both Android and Apple.