Prior to founding ButcherBox, Mike Salguero didn’t know much about meat — except that he liked to eat it.
The entrepreneur was busy running his previous startup, CustomMade, when he decided he wanted to start eating healthier.
Salguero and his wife tried various elimination diets, ultimately settling on eating what they considered “healthier” meats.
“Over time, I started buying meat for my friends,” Salguero said. “That turned into me thinking, ‘Wow, this would be much better if meat could be delivered directly to my door.’”
Salguero may have had no prior experience with meat, but he did know how to do something else: run a business. Salguero launched ButcherBox in June 2015 with the goal of making grass-fed beef more accessible than ever before.
The idea stuck. Today, the Cambridge-based startup offers $129 boxes of organic, free-range chicken, grass-fed beef or heritage pork that come with 8 to 10 pounds of meat inside (enough for roughly 20 to 28 meals). ButcherBox currently delivers to the contiguous 48 states, but is looking into delivering in Alaska, Canada and Hawaii.
The meat is sourced from a variety of family-run farms and cooperatives vetted by Salguero that "hold quality and animal welfare as core values,” he said.
Rather than pursue venture capital, Salguero bootstrapped, raising just $210,203 in a KickStarter campaign.
“We’re scrappy,” Salguero said. “Most people think you need to raise a bunch of money to start a business. People never talk about bootstrapping and scaling.”
The company currently employs 50. Salguero has quite a few goals for the near future. He plans on launching a test kitchen in Peabody to develop meat-focused recipes for consumers, and a retail store in Harvard Square in time for the quality season.
“People who know what’s happening to their meat are pretty disgusted by it,” Salguero said. “I want to provide great-tasting meat that’s ethical and sustainable. It’s a big mission — changing the way 98 percent of people eat is difficult.”