Shipment courier

Former ButcherBox executives leverage meat shipping expertise in new D2C startup • TechCrunch

As the former head of logistics at ButcherBox, Juan Meisel knows how to get perishable items from A to Z, and now he wants to do the same for Grip, a perishable shipping company he’s taking out of stealth mode with funding from $2 million pre-seed.

Dubbed an “intelligent logistics engine,” Grip’s technology leverages customers’ existing order management systems and manages the shipping process using real-time network conditions, such as weather events and temperature, carrier’s on-time delivery and box performance.

Founder Juan Meisel told TechCrunch that other shipping software uses “flat shipping logic and business rules for shipments, i.e. the same amount of packaging, refrigerant, carrier, etc., each time for the same routes”.

Instead, Grip dynamically adjusts its shipping recommendations based on what’s happening in the shipping network. This way, businesses can use this data to proactively hold orders, notify customers of potential delays, and identify areas for improvement.

Meisel came up with the idea for Grip when he was a logistics manager at ButcherBox, where he also tried to solve the challenge of shipping perishable items, while reducing the damage rate and improving margins. , while operating in conditions that seemed to change by the minute. Minute.

“I was always looking for this software that could help us do that internally,” Meisel said. “I couldn’t find anything, but at the same time I also started advising some companies next door that would find me on LinkedIn. They got their ButcherBox in the mail and were trying to ship any what, from frozen milk to chocolate, flowers and pharmaceuticals.

While advising these other businesses, he realized that software was needed to help e-commerce businesses improve the way they ship and improve the customer experience. So he came up with the idea for Grip and started a company a few months ago, partnering with Jimmy Cooper, the former chief data officer of ButcherBox.

Customers are onboarded and can start shipping within hours, and Grip makes money through monthly SaaS fees based on business size and onboarding complexity, Meisel said. In that short period, the company processed hundreds of thousands of orders and customers saw a 25% reduction in failure rates and a 30% reduction in shipping costs, Meisel said.

Grip is coming to a market that is not only growing rapidly, but has also attracted interest from other startups and investors. It’s a big market – U.S. food and beverage e-commerce sales are expected to reach around $80 billion by the end of 2022, up 20.7% from just under $65 billion last year, according to Insider Intelligence. These sales are expected to nearly double by 2026.

Over the past year, we’ve seen several startups also raise venture capital to solve similar logistical challenges, particularly around food waste, as direct-to-consumer subscription meal kits have grown in popularity. . For example, Alima is developing product logistics in Mexico, while Full Harvest is tackling the B2B product supply chain.

Grip’s $2 million pre-seed round was backed by Soma Capital, Western Technology Investment and a group of individual investors.

Although ButcherBox itself was seeded, Meisel said he decided to seek venture capital for Grip largely because “technology development is expensive.” Developing the right technology and the right data processing system to add value to customers quickly required institutional funding and industrial investors.

“We run what we call ‘rapid innovation cycles’, which means we go from idea to product and feedback very quickly,” he added. “We basically have an idea, launch a product, work very, very closely with the customer to get feedback on that product, and then we come back to the idea of ​​how we can continue to improve that product. So we let’s use the money to develop the technology to develop rapid cycles of innovation and continue to add value to investors.”

The company currently has six employees, and Grip will also be adding to this team to develop new features and user experience as it relates to reducing waste and improving the customer experience.