A Madison entrepreneur wants to make it easier to shop for groceries with the click of a mouse instead of walking through long aisles, and to help independent grocers at the same time.

Jeremy Neren launched the website GrocerKey.com this week, and hopes it will become the EatStreet of the grocery business.

EatStreet is a Madison mobile and online restaurant ordering business that now has 80 employees and lists more than 15,000 restaurants in 125 cities.

For now, GrocerKey is teaming with an unnamed, local grocery store, offering same-day delivery Downtown.

Neren said the platform will also provide independent grocers with their own online stores and employees who will handle deliveries. His goal is to deliver orders within one hour, until as late as 2 a.m.

As many as 15,000 products will be available, he said. “Everything from fresh produce and meat to packaged products and household items. Anything you would see in a typical grocery store,” he said.

The service will soon expand throughout the Madison area. Neren said he is working with two local independent stores that should be online next month.

This is the second company for Neren, 31, a St. Paul, Minnesota, native and UW-Madison graduate. He started a snack food delivery service, Munchie Delivery (formerly Madtown Munchies), in 2006. It was profitable within six months, he said.

“I worked every single day, was doing all the deliveries myself, by bicycle,” Neren said.

With a development team of five people in Israel, Neren has four full-time employees in Madison and plans to add 10 to 12 more. Revenues will come from taking a percentage of each sale, as well as a small delivery fee.

Four percent of grocery sales are online now but that figure is expected to reach 11 percent to 17 percent by 2023, according to Brick Meets Click retail analysis.

As for competitors, MyWebGrocer offers a similar service but focuses on large chain stores while Peapod warehouses its own products, Neren said.

GrocerKey is in the current gener8tor accelerator class and Neren said the $160,000 investment from gener8tor and its supporters is funding the business. EatStreet is also a gener8tor alum.

Neren said he already is trying to raise more money to expand to more college towns and medium-size cities.

“We really want to grow this into a big company,” he said.


Judy Newman is a business reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.

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