Ex-ButcherBox execs bring meat-shipping expertise to new D2C startup • TechCrunch

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

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

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

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

Meisel got the idea for Grip while he was head of logistics at ButcherBox, where he was also trying to solve the challenge of shipping perishable items while reducing damage rates and improving margins, all while operating in conditions that seemed to change by the minute. per minute.

“I was always looking for that piece of software that could help us do that internally,” Meisel said. “I didn’t manage to find anything, but at the same time I started to advise some companies on the side that would find me on LinkedIn. They took their ButcherBox in the mail and tried to send anything from frozen milk to chocolate, flowers and pharmaceuticals.”

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

Customers are on board and can start shipping in a few hours, and Grip makes money through monthly SaaS fees based on company size and integration complexity, Meisel said. In that short time, the company has processed hundreds of thousands of orders, and customers have seen a 25 percent reduction in failure rates and a 30 percent reduction in shipping costs, Meisel said.

Grip comes into a market that is not only growing rapidly, but has also attracted the interest of other startups and investors. It’s a big market – US food and beverage e-commerce sales are expected to be 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 projected to nearly double by 2026.

Over the past year, we’ve seen several startups also raise venture capital to solve similar logistics issues, particularly around food waste, as direct-to-consumer subscription meal kits have gained popularity. For example, Alima creates manufacturing logistics in Mexico, while Full Harvest addresses 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 a startup, Meisel said he decided to seek venture capital for Grip in part because “developing technologies is expensive.” Developing the right technology and data processing system to add value to customers quickly required some institutional funding and industry investors.

“We run what we call ‘rapid innovation cycles,’ which means we go from idea to product to feedback very quickly,” he added. “Basically we have an idea, we launch a product, we 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. Therefore, we are using the money to develop technology to develop rapid innovation cycles and continue to add value to investors.”

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

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