Student uses experience as bag boy for invention

Senior Andrew Hoeft used to wander the aisles of the grocery store he worked at checking for expiring products.

Tired of roaming, he decided to simplify the process.

Hoeft created Date Check Pro, an expiration management software that helps stores track their products. His creation is essentially like an Excel spreadsheet.

This means instead of examining dozens of items in an aisle, employees can pick out specific products and reduce the time it takes to check labels.

With the help of 94 Labs, an incubator program, Hoeft raised $143,000 in less than one year. Now his software is endorsed by the Wisconsin Grocers Association and is used by clients such as Roundy’s Supermarkets.


Hoeft said that it can be tough for aspiring businesses to get the capital they need to launch an idea, but constructing a business plan beforehand can be just as challenging.

His advice is, “don’t write it; map it out.”

“On day one you can’t write a business plan; it can change every time you talk to someone,” Hoeft said. “Instead, use Post-its to lay out your idea and break your business up into sections.”

When using this model, Hoeft said entrepreneurs should try to answer how their idea provides value and  how it can generate revenue.

He also suggested mapping out available resources and partnerships, potential benefits, and differences from competitors.

Hoeft said it’s also beneficial to seek mentors and share the business idea with others. When pursuing an idea, he said students have to just take the leap.

“When you’re older and have a family, you can’t always take risks, but in college it’s okay to fail

and now is the time to be an entrepreneur,” Hoeft said.