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New tech-enhanced grocery shopping experience wins Innovative Minds Prize

May 15, 2013

Fetch Rewards LLC, a mobile application designed to reinvent the grocery shopping experience, won the $10,000 Innovative Minds Challenge on May 10 at UW–Madison.

Photo: grocery store produce section

The Fetch Rewards mobile app gives grocery stores a new way to appeal to tech-savvy millennials.

Innovative Minds, sponsored by the Madison office of the law firm Perkins Coie LLP, recognizes the top student innovation of 2013 that is best positioned for commercial development. Fetch Rewards, run by UW–Madison business student Wes Schroll, not only has logged a year of development, but will be beta-tested this fall at grocery stores in La Crosse, Wis.

Fetch essentially adds several benefits to the grocery-shopping environment. The mobile phone application lets shoppers directly scan purchases into their phones, providing a running tab of the grocery bill and automatically triggering available coupons. It also saves the shopper time at the checkout aisle.

The app gives grocery stores a new way to appeal to tech-savvy millennials, and gives consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs) a way to build brand loyalty through a loyalty rewards program.

The Fetch team conducted research with marketing students at UW-La Crosse and, this fall, will pilot their technology in partnership with grocery stores in the city. Schroll says La Crosse is an ideal test market, since it has a high percentage of younger customers from UW-La Crosse, Viterbo University and Western Technical College.

Fetch currently has office space at University Research Park in Madison and has established a board of advisors with decades of experience in the grocery and CPG industries.

Six teams competed at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery on Friday for the Innovative Minds award. Judges for the prize were Craig Christianson, general counsel at Promega Corporation; and Perkins Coie partners David Anstaett and Christopher Hanewicz.

UW-Madison is the fourth campus, along with the University of California, Los Angeles, Arizona State University, and Northwestern University, to serve as home to an Innovative Minds competition. Perkins Coie launched the program in 2011 to help advance creative thinking, innovation and entrepreneurship.