Meet Grip, the Miami startup reimagining perishable shipping

By Riley Kaminer

When Juan C. Meisel was working at Butcher Box, a startup that delivers high-quality meat directly to its customers, logistics was always a major concern.

“Our team set up the full logistics infrastructure for how to get boxes of frozen meat to people’s doorsteps,” he told Refresh Miami. “If shipments are delayed or something goes wrong, then that means thousands of dollars that you’re throwing away – a bunch of transportation waste, plus customers that are unhappy because that was food that was supposed to feed their families.”

Meisel described the complex constellation of variables that go into making these refrigerated or frozen deliveries. “But it all came down to the fact that the infrastructure for doing this wasn’t yet built – it wasn’t there from a systems perspective.”

At Butcher Box, the company solved the problem as best they could – effectively resulting in a litany of Excel spreadsheets. But this problem goes well beyond just Butcher Box, Meisel asserted: “Companies have thrown millions of dollars away trying to solve this problem.”

Meisel thinks he has the right solution. About 18 months ago, he moved from Boston to Miami to found Grip, a startup that aims to make shipping perishable items easier than ever. “We strongly believe that businesses should be able to focus on product development, sourcing, customer service, having a strong front end. We will become the company that they can trust to handle the backend logistics of their business,” said Meisel, Grip’s CEO.

Grip has developed the systems – the data processing and software layer – to manage and optimize these processes. “We’re looking at millions of data points by the minute and tell our customers which is the absolute best way to ship a box and get it delivered to someone’s doorstep.” Grip has a network of national and regional carriers and dynamically selects the best option for a particular zip code at a particular time.

“Statistically, something at some point is going to happen,” Meisel acknowledged. “It’s impossible to have a 100% success rate.” Using Grip, however, customers are able to predict issues to the maximum extent possible and ramp up their customer service accordingly. “Errors still happen, but it’s a question of how to reduce those errors.”

So far, Grip has raised $2 million from industry insiders, as well as some angels and funds. “We are running super efficiently and growing exponentially,” Meisel asserted. The company, which sells its product through a SaaS model, is currently 14 people strong, with imminent plans to expand to 16.

Meisel originally hails from Colombia but knew that Miami was the place for him to start Grip. “As soon as I saw people starting companies down here, I wanted to be part of this moment early on and bring my value-add to the Miami tech ecosystem as well.”

“This city has been good to us,” he said, noting that he has been able to find top talent locally.

Looking forward, Meisel aspires for Grip to become the top company for shipping perishables. How will they do that? “Developing a lot of tech internally” and running fast innovation cycles, he explained.

“This is a new approach that was nonexistent before. It’s definitely a refresher for the industry, our new approach of technology and innovation.”

Grip’s Brickell office is shown here. CEO and founder Juan C. Meisel is pictured at top of post.

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Riley Kaminer