Exactly what is a Green Rabbit?
Ask Gregory Balestrieri, CEO of the Braintree, Massachusetts-based company, and Joe Melville, chief growth officer, and the cousins will tell you it’s the solution to your time-sensitive problems shipping perishable items, and stuff that melts, like chocolate.
Green Rabbit headquarters in Braintree, Massachusetts.
Green Rabbit evolved in a serendipitous way as the result of a different business the cousins created. Working off their family’s established candy manufacturing business on Boston’s South Shore, Greg, 33, and Joe, 41, launched Candy.com about 10 years ago.
“We wanted to be the online candy store, so we needed to be able to ship chocolate year-round,” Greg said.
Unfortunately, when summer came around, the cousins weren’t ready for it, and they had to scramble to perfect their methods.
“We melted quite a few packages along the way, but we got pretty good at it by 2011,” he said. “We really perfected it, with a good algorithm to make sure it didn’t arrive melted.”
The algorithm takes into account a variety of factors, ranging from the temperature of an item before it ships to determine how much dry ice or frozen gel pack ice is required, to how quickly it will ship and how long it will sit on someone’s porch if it’s going to a residential customer.
Once they perfected their shipping methods, the cousins were approached by a couple of large retailers who wanted to partner with them.
“We took our technology and white labeled the experience so retailers could do the same,” Greg said. “That’s when the business took off. We started doing power protein bars, and more recently fresh and frozen items.”
About a year and a half ago, the cousins wanted to change the name of their company to convey the fact that it was no longer just an online candy store. They came up with Green Rabbit.
“Green is fresh, rabbit is fast,” Greg said.
Because their clients are presenting their service essentially as their own, like a private label, the cousins have signed non-disclosure agreements with most of them.
“I can tell you six of the 10 largest ecommerce retailers partner with us and four of the 10 largest consumer packaged goods companies in the food space use us,” Greg said.
The success Green Rabbit has had is reflected in its growth. The company has 250 employees working out of fulfillment centers in California, Indiana and Massachusetts. The company ships millions of orders every year, according to Greg.
“We power an overwhelming percentage, especially within chocolate, a significant amount of market share is coming from our fulfillment centers,” Greg said.
Green Rabbit provides food grade safe temperature controlled warehouses for its clients, an important advantage with the growth of online grocery shopping.
“As consumers get more comfortable buying groceries online the supply chains are changing,” Greg said. “Grocery is exploding in a big way over the last 18 months. It’s a trend we’re well positioned to service.”
In late September 2019, Boston-based Guidepost Growth Equity invested $31 million in Green Rabbit for a minority share in the company. Meanwhile, Candy.com is still operating as a specialty site for events and party planners.