As an entrepreneurial studies student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a young Wes Schroll — future CEO and co-founder of Fetch Rewards — balanced undergraduate courses with his sparse collegiate budget. As he scrimped, saved and juggled dozens of rewards programs, Schroll dreamed of something bigger.
“It wasn’t fun or easy, and he was left doing all the work — an experience we know millions share,” recalled Ayo Jimoh, Fetch Rewards’ VP of product.
“His primary question was, ‘How do we put the power back into the consumers hands?’” said Jimoh. “The twists and turns in the journey were the very pain point which gave birth to the Fetch app millions of consumers love today.”
What Fetch Does
These humble roots breathe life into Fetch Rewards’ scrappy culture — evidenced in everything from its core mantra of “defeat the odds” to its industry-bending mindset.
“We rarely compare ourselves to others in the industry,” Jimoh said. “Instead, we see ourselves competing with the top global companies fighting for your attention: We build our products from a mindset of uncovering what our consumers truly want, which is often different or even counter to what they might tell us.”
As leader of the product “packs” — the company’s playful name for product and tech sub-teams — Jimoh helps shape the mindset, processes and goals that drive Fetch Rewards’ dogged growth.
What gave rise to this product, and what impact will this product launch have on the business or its customers?
Our impact on partners and consumers is wide-ranging and constantly evolving. For partners, we provide unmatched targeting, attribution and reporting to the cash registers rung coast-to-coast — as millions of people transact in-store and online, at grocery stores, restaurants, gas pumps and other retailers.
Nowhere else can our partners both get a sightline to shopper activity and influence behavior at this scale. We currently see $135 billion in annualized sales and plan to level up our partners’ experience by launching self-service tooling to put these controls at their fingertips.
For consumers, we’re the easiest way to have fun and save money on your day-to-day shopping trips. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stopped to talk about Fetch in the airport, playing with my kids at the park, or riding in an Uber or Lyft.
With every release of our app, we’re adding new reasons to come back every day — whether it’s to compete with friends, reach a new personal record or use your points to redeem one of the hundreds of gift cards, charities and Fetch gear in our rewards portfolio.
With every release of our app, we’re adding new reasons to come back every day.”
What role did you play in developing and launching the product?
When I joined Fetch, we had two million active users and three Product Packs. My role was to lead efforts focused on enhancing our core consumer experiences, which included expanding our digital receipt offering, launching our first Club with Huggies Rewards+, enhancing how we merchandised our Rewards portfolio and exploring greenfield products and partnerships.
Fast forward two and a half years, and we have well over ten million active users and 24 Packs.
Despite the incredible growth, our tooling and technology ethos has remained unchanged: We encourage Packs to use the tools necessary to get the job done.
Using a microservice pattern, Packs build and maintain their own high performing services alongside our incredible dev-ops and site reliability teams who help us ensure everything hums along smoothly. We also build our app natively for both platforms to ensure high performance and efficiency as our features continue to push the limits of even the newest devices.
What obstacles did you encounter along the way?
Our journey would not be as rewarding and worthwhile without being filled with obstacles. Whether it was navigating shifts in purchasing behavior brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, dealing with the loss of an early key partner or ensuring our systems could handle our marketing team’s ability to acquire new users, we’ve rallied to take on any challenge.
We have overcome these obstacles by leaning into the fast-paced entrepreneurial culture that has remained as we’ve grown from 100 to over 700 employees. Our core mantra is DTO: Defeat the odds. We always find ways to bring the fun to Fetch. We carry those principles into our work to ensure everything we do is better for our users — even if it’s difficult for us.
To keep team members motivated, we engage in quarterly review cycles to make sure everyone is getting direct feedback and has opportunities to take on more responsibility, earn more in compensation and pursue professional development. We also offer a high level of trust in everyone to move fast, make decisions and take risks.
What teams did you collaborate with in order to get this across the finish line?
Given our Pack structure of full-stack, semi-autonomous teams working toward common business outcomes, cross-functional collaboration is inherent in our day-to-day work.
Everyone is empowered with the access and voice to drive their Pack’s initiative’s forward, and then we use regular check-ins amongst our directly responsible individuals (DRIs), who serve in the most challenging and essential roles within the product and tech org.
When you think of other companies in your industry, how does your employer compare when it comes to how you build and launch new products?
We rarely compare ourselves to others in the industry. Instead see ourselves competing with the top global companies fighting for your attention. Whether that be TikTok, Disney+ or Wordle. As such, we build our products from a mindset of uncovering what our consumers truly want, which is often different or even counter to what they might tell us.
Our workplace is extremely open and accessible. Conversations are free-flowing, metrics widely disseminated and all business decisions are on display in public channels for anyone to participate. At the same time, we heavily embrace radical candor and an environment of challenging ideas directly.
Our Product Packs don’t have any hierarchy. Primary project collaborators rarely include your direct manager or reports — which means everyone is expected to be the local expert among their day to day collaborators.