Tyler Kennedy’s (BBA ’13) journey into entrepreneurship started not unlike many others’—mowing lawns in the neighborhood. The lawn mowing business evolved into a successful boat cleaning business during high school, and Tyler saw that he could determine when he wanted to work and was making more money than his peers.
“I saw that the people who had the most time freedom were business owners,” recalls Tyler. “I could do meaningful work and still have this flexibility.”
That realization sealed Tyler’s passion for entrepreneurship. As a member of the UW–Madison chapter of The Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization, Tyler met his future business partner, Wes Schroll, and linked up to create a business plan for a class assignment. Spurred by their own need to stretch grocery dollars as undergraduates, Tyler and Wes submitted a business plan for a grocery rewards app. The plan won numerous business plan competitions and accrued enough in winnings to secure the company’s initial operating capital. Fetch Rewards officially launched in 2013 and recently reached a value of more than $1 billion—unicorn status in the startup world.
Tyler is grateful for the launching pad that WSB and UW–Madison provided for him and the company. In addition to being the right place to meet his business partner, Tyler credits the School for exposure to a broad education, a vast alumni network, and robust student organizations that set him up for success.
He continues to give back to his entrepreneurial roots, participating as a guest speaker for WSB classes and as a judge for business plan competitions.