Dynamo Dispatch (09/28/20)

Issue 122 | Silo, Aurora, Rappi

Dynamo Dispatch. Weekly update from Dynamo Ventures covering the latest and greatest in supply chain, mobility, and building venture-scale businesses.

💥 Have you seen any interesting startups recently? Introduce us.
❤️ We would love your support. Please forward to friends and share on social media.
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🎙 Check out Dynamo's podcast series, The Future of Supply Chain.

Weekly Commentary 💭

We’re looking for recent and to-be graduates (Class of 2019 and 2020) to join us as our next Venture Fellow starting January 1, 2021. Please send brilliant and curious minds our way- if you refer the “winning” candidate, we’ll send you a surprise. See here for more details.

Big thanks to Brian Carthas, Tyler Churchill, and Chang Xu this week.

We Are Dynamo,

Santosh, Ted, Barry, and Jon

Note: please add “dynamo@substack.com” to your email client so you don’t miss future issues due to aggressive spam filters.

Supply Chain 📦

Industrial Robot Adoption +12% Y/Y in 2019. As of 2019, there are nearly 2.7M industrial robots operating in factories across the world. The pandemic has accelerated the trend of human-robot collaboration as manufacturers seek modernization and digitalization of production processes to balance losses. Asia remains the market with the greatest adoption but the US leads in terms of industrial use. Speaking of robots, a Deeper Dive into the Chinese Robot Industry.

UPS on the Impact of Green Supply Chains. By 2021, a quarter of all vehicles purchased by UPS will be powered with alternative fuel or advanced technology and the company will aim to source 25% of electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The company's sustainability efforts come in light of consistent efforts from logistics providers to transform and implement sustainable practices into their supply chains.Related Walmart Targets Zero Emissions by 2040

Understanding Reverse Logistics for Heavy Goods. Drawing on elevated eComm demand, the market for online delivery of heavy-goods will eclipse $11.8B by the end of the year. The complexities around reverse logistics have made it a pain point for many retailers who struggle to minimize the hefty costs of returns; as the rise of predictive analytics helps retailers adopt forward-thinking strategies surrounding specialized freight needs.

Motion Acquisition SPAC Looks to Raise $130M for Telematics Acquisition. Led by the former CEO of Fleetmatics, Motion Acquisition files for an IPO as it seeks to scoop up companies in the telematics space. The SPAC is searching for opportunities across fleet management, fleet maintenance, asset tracking, video telematics, digital freight brokerage, field service management, transportation management systems, and usage-based insurance. ICYMI, Truck Electrification Company, Hyliion to Go Public Via SPAC.

DHL Logistics Trend Radar 5th Edition. DHL explores 29 trends reshaping the logistics industry. Separated on a high/low impact scale, DHL categorizes seismic shifts across auto mobility, manufacturing, energy, life sciences, and eRetail. Harping on technological trends, the report states “79% of supply chain professionals now expect AI to become a core competence in their organization by 2022 and 88% believe it will help to improve risk management and predictability in operations.” The report notes another opportunity, the $3.4T Financing Gap in  Global Trade

CH Robinson Launches ProcureIQ. The new tool developed in CH Robinson’s Innovation Incubator aims to solve the long-established annual process of freight bidding for large shippers. Leveraging data from the world’s largest shippers and carriers, ProcureIQ generates a personalized overview of the shippers’ lanes or routes which are integrated into a data marketplace comprising over 200K carriers and shippers.  

FedEx Partners with Reliable Robotics on Autonomous Cargo Planes. Deploying small turboprop airplanes, FedEx will explore the feasibility of unmanned single-engine aircraft for cargo delivery across rural and less dense areas within its network. With two successful test flights completed in August, Reliable is collaborating with the FAA to quickly bring the technology to market as FedEx intends for the planes to work in tandem with its existing fleet. On the ground, FMCSA Denies Pronto.ai HoS Exemption Request.

Mobility 🚗

California Plans to Ban Sales of Gas-Powered Cars by 2035. In our opinion, this is the top mobility headline of the week. It's a forcing function for OEMs to provide adequate supply of EVs across form factors while also forcing the hand of consumers even if the cost curve of EVs remain above comparable ICE offerings. As we know, 15 yrs feels like a long time but that's not THAT long in the automotive world. The bulk of this will be getting supply chains in order if you assume the conversion of an existing model will take ~5 yrs. Just in time, Ford preps the Electric F-150

Recap of Tesla’s Battery Day. Tesla is making a more concerted push to vertically integrate and own battery manufacturing to control design implementations, factory capacity/throughout and production costs. Control is key here- when using third parties, one trades away control that can drive competitive advantage. This boils down to minimizing $/kWh given the battery subsystem is the most expensive component of an EV. Drill down, What Tesla Will Put in its New Batteries.

Meet the VW ID.4Volkswagen targets the crossover SUV market with the ID.4 unveil. Operating on VW’s MEB platform, the vehicle features an 82 kWh battery enabling a 250-mile range and level 2 charging capabilities. Starting with an initial price tag of $39K, a $35K version of the ID.4 is expected in 2022 and will be manufactured at VW's plant in Chattanooga, TN. ID.4 customers will get three years of charging at Electrify America stations as competitor, ChargePoint Preps to Go Public at $2.4B Valuation.

The Dutch Bike Rental Company Reshaping Micromobility. Originally meant for students to navigate around campus localities, Swapfiets has taken Europe by storm with operations now spanning 50 cities and over 200K users. The lease-like business model has garnered significant traction as riders of shared mobility platforms seek alternative options as a result of the pandemic.Related,Ford’s Micromobility Subsidiary Spin Reveals New Features

The ADAS Partnership Between Mobileye and Geely. In a deal with one of China’s largest private auto manufacturers, Mobileye will leverage its computer vision technology to create a full stack solution for driving policy and control. Geely is fond of Mobileye’s over the air update capabilities which enables the OEM to seamlessly scale driver assistance features over the vehicle's lifetime. Also, Volvo to Benefit from Geely’s New EV Platform.

An All-Electric Aircraft Comes to Market. Heart Aerospace reveals all-electric drivetrain and battery tech for its 19 seater aircraft specifically for short haul flights of 2000km or less. If the development and certification process follows the scheduled timeline, the aircraft will begin fossil fuel free commercial operations in 2025.Also,Airbus Unveils 3 New Zero-Emission Aircraft Concepts.

US Urged to Bolster its EV Industry or Risk Chinese Dependency. As China tightens its grip on electrified transport supply chains, US business and military officials issue stark warnings. Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), urges bipartisan action to prevent China from fully controlling the industry. Some global perspective; China produces over 75% battery of chemicals, 66% of cathodes, 82% of anodes, and 72% of battery cells, whereas the US severely lacks in the extraction of lithium and other rare earth metals, all essential to the EV supply chain. 

Fundraises, M&A, Talent 💸

Ecomedes Raises a $1.5M Seed Round From Saint-Gobain NOVA and PivotNorth. Ecomedes is a cloud based SaaS platform enabling manufacturers, designers, builders, and building owners to procure sustainable building products. New funds will help Ecomedes to build SaaS collaboration and optimization tools for modern commercial building product selection.

Voliro Raises a €1.9M Seed Round Led by Alpana Ventures. Voliro develops of advanced aerial robots. With the fresh funds, Voliro will accelerate the development of its industrial grade flying inspection robots. 

Fulcrum Raises a $3.1M Seed Round Led by Motivate Ventures. Fulcrum is a MES for small to mid sized manufacturers that streamlines automated data collection. With the new capital, Fulcrum will make product enhancements and ramp up sales and marketing efforts to accelerate growth.

Silo Secures a $9M Series A Led by Andreessen Horowitz. Silo helps streamline supply chains in the perishable food system. The new capital will accelerate Silo’s growth by opening new offices across the US as well as hiring an engineering staff to oversee the development of new financial services and logistics tools.

Whitebox Raises $18M in Series B Funding Led by Noro-Moseley Partners. Whitebox manages eCommerce logistics and fulfillment for a variety of consumer brands. Fresh funding will enable Whitebox to expand its sales and marketing teams, further develop its technology, and build out its fulfillment centers.

Magazino Raises €21M in Series B Funding Led by Jungheinrich and the European Investment Bank. Magazino is developing intelligent mobile robots for warehouse logistics. The capital raised will help expand international sales and accelerate the adoption of ACROS.AI, its software platform for intelligent robots that can be used by third-party hardware.

Aurora Labs Raises a $23M Series B Led by LG Technology Ventures, Porsche SE, and Others. Aurora is a connected car analytics startup based in Tel Aviv. The new capital will be used to help prepare for serial implementation over the course of the next two years. 

Beyond Limits Raises a $133M Series C Led by Group 42 and BP Ventures. Beyond Limits is an industrial and enterprise-grade AI technology company that focuses on energy, utilities and healthcare. With the new funding, Beyond Limits will expand its footprint within those sectors.

Rappi Raises Over $300M in Funding Led by T. Rowe Price Associates. Rappi is a Colombia-based all purpose delivery marketplace. A specific use of funding was not detailed.

WM Motor Raises a $1.47B Series D Led by SAIC Motor. WM Motor is a five year old EV startup based in China. The latest capital injection will support R&D costs, branding, and marketing/expansion of its sales channels.

Trevor Milton Out at Nikola. Days after several pernicious accusations were brought to light regarding the electric truck company, Executive Chairman and Founder Trevor Milton officially resigned on Monday. Dynamo Partner Santosh Sankar weighed in on the implications of clean-tech investing and SPACs saying, “If anything, it might accelerate the investments in real leaders and real products with the competition hamstrung.” 

Company Building 🛠️

The Seven Biases of Product Teams. A visual inquiry on the biases that inhibit product success- read it yourself.

Bundles in 2020. Ben Thompson at Stratechery reflects on his 2017 piece around bundling. While focused on consumer media and digital companies, there’s applicable observations for other industries as well.

The Mike Speiser Incubation Playbook. Speiser at Sutter Hill is considered to be one of the top venture investors and they use a controversial approach to investing- incubating companies. This piece drills down into his incubation strategy to see how he put Snowflake on a path to be the best SaaS IPO of all time.

Who's Hiring? 👩‍💻

Lead Test Automation Engineer at SVT Robotics in Norfolk, VA.

Digital Marketing Manager at Skupos in Denver, CO.

Senior Sales Executive at Vector AI in London, UK.

Check out other jobs at Dynamo portfolio companies.

💥 Have you seen any interesting startups recently? Introduce us.
❤️ We would love your support. Please forward to friends and share on social media.
🗞️ If you were forwarded this and found it interesting, please sign up.
🎙 Check out Dynamo's podcast series, The Future of Supply Chain.

Dynamo Dispatch (09/21/20)

Issue 121 | sennder, Seegrid, Zwift

Dynamo Dispatch. Weekly update from Dynamo Ventures covering the latest and greatest in supply chain, mobility, and building venture-scale businesses.

💥 Have you seen any interesting startups recently? Introduce us.
❤️ We would love your support. Please forward to friends and share on social media.
🗞️ If you were forwarded this and found it interesting, please sign up.
🎙 Check out Dynamo's podcast series, The Future of Supply Chain.

Weekly Commentary 💭

We opened our applications for our next Venture Fellow who will begin their journey into VC and startups in January. The Venture Fellow is an important part of Dynamo and has been a great way for us to develop undergraduate talent and expose them to the ins/outs of venture fund management. If you know any brilliant undergrads, send them our way!

We Are Dynamo,

Santosh, Ted, Barry, and Jon

Note: please add “dynamo@substack.com” to your email client so you don’t miss future issues due to aggressive spam filters.

Supply Chain 📦

Amazon’s Plan for 1K Suburban Warehouses. Amazon plans include small delivery hubs in cities and suburbs across the US. The move comes in light of Walmart’s efforts to bolster its eComm capabilities. In recent years, Amazon has purchased vacant retail spaces in suburban areas and most recently announced the opening of 100 fulfillment and sortation centers, delivery stations, and other sites in September alone. Elsewhere in eComm, Amazon and Walmart Seek End-to-End Solutions from Shippers.

The Latest Tracking Technology from FedEx. As Covid-19 vaccines and other critical shipments begin transport, FedEx adds SenseAware ID for precision tracking and enhanced package visibility. The new packaging leverages compact sensors through Bluetooth Low Energy and WiFi access points throughout the FedEx Express Network. Speaking of Fedex, it’s Ramping Heavy Last Mile Offering after an Awesome Quarterly Earnings Report

🌟Why Cloud Services are Vital to Supply ChainsValued at over $15B is 2019, the supply chain management sector grew almost 10%. Growth comes as companies seek tools to help them achieve stronger supply chain resiliency, opposed to finding ways to increase efficiency and productivity.  Also,CSIS on Diversifying Supply Chains to Reduce Risk in the Global Economy.

Daimler’s Plans for its H2 Truck. Daimler will begin customer trials for its H2 Fuel Cell truck in 2023 with production slated for the second half of the decade. The truck's long-haul capabilities will be powered by two liquid-hydrogen tanks and a robust fuel-cell system which will equip the truck with a range of 1,000km (600mi). Related,Scania Launches Sales of BEV & PHEV Trucks.

Trucking Firms Grapple with Cybersecurity Amid New Regulation. The coming wave of COVID-19 vaccine shipments has the UN urging companies in the EU and Asia to improve their cybersecurity infrastructure. A great number of smaller suppliers, who often lack the financial and human resources to implement such security have struggled to protect their freight supply chains as the number of ransomware attacks has grown substantially in recent years. Elsewhere in trucking, Convoy’s New Program to Guarantee Shipper Capacity

Why Collaborative Warehouse Robots are Crucial to eComm Success. With eComm potentially making up 40% of all retail sales, warehouses aim to unlock significant value through collaborative robots. Physical distancing and less human contact have become commonplace in warehouse settings, sparking an acceleration of robot implementation as retailers capitalize on omnichannel fulfillment strategies through simple tasks like picking and loading/unloading pallets.Related,See What’s Next for One of the World’s Top Robot Companies.

Mobility 🚗

BMW’s Software Partnership to Help Drivers “Feel the Road”. Enabling better detection of road conditions, BMW announces software from Israel based Tactile Mobility will be embedded into the next generation of vehicles. Tactile Mobility is a developer of software that utilizes a vehicle’s non visual sensors to help smart and autonomous vehicles “feel” road dynamics and conditions. Elsewhere in automotive, GM Unveils a New Fleet of Ultium Drive Motors

A Preview of Tesla’s Battery Day. Hype surrounding Tesla’s Battery Day grows as images of a new and improved tabless battery leak online. Battery expert Dan Blondal notes that Tesla’s announcements around silicon anode technology, improved energy density, and a focus on environmental sustainability for its batteries could make this the most important day in Tesla history. Speaking of batteries, LG Chem to Spin Out its Battery Business and BYD Bets on Older Battery Technology to Undercut Competitors

🌟Nvidia’s Integration Dreams. Nvidia furthers its integration ambitions with its $40B acquisition of chip designer, Arm from Softbank. Chasing Intel, Nvidia is hoping to implement its technology into Arm’s extensive network of smartphones, industrial equipment, and home devices to gain access to top technology in AI and graphics, areas where Nvidia’s GPUs thrive. Also, Chips Caught-up in US/China Trade War.

ChargePoint Nears A Deal to Go Public. ChargePoint is nearing a deal to go public through a reverse merger with Switchback Energy Acquisition Corp. If completed, the deal would give ChargePoint a valuation north of $2B. Speaking of charging infrastructure, Electrify America Switches to Per kWH Billing in 23 States.

European EV Sales Standout Amid Global Uncertainty. Despite global auto sales falling sharply across Q1 and Q2, Europe witnessed a surprising sales uptick of nearly 46%. The jump can be attributed to "the combination of new stimulus programs, new model launches, and automakers pushing to hit their carbon dioxide emissions targets”. Researchers predict the EV market will likely grow y/y, after an initial outlook of an 18% decline.  Related, How the Quarantine Saved US Drivers $22B.

Germany’s Plans for Autonomy. In comparison to the US and China, Germany has been highly restrictive in AV testing. But this may change as German legislators are currently proposing regulations to permit AVs on the roads. After meeting with German Auto industry leaders, Chancellor Merkel agreed with the notion that “Germany must take the lead for development of self-driving cars”, but made no commitment to more state aid for such programs.  Elsewhere in mobility, Are Flying Cars on the Horizon?.

Fundraises, M&A, Talent 💸

💥sennder acquires Uber Freight Europe. Dynamo portfolio company sennder is Europe’s largest digital freight brokerage. The all stock deal worth just shy of $1.1B will enable Uber Freight to now refer customers seeking logistics services in Europe to sennder, while sennder will reciprocate for its customers who need to move freight in North America. 

IDriverplus Raises $14.6M in Series C+ Funding Round Led by Xin Ding Capital and Huaxia Weiming Investment. IDriverplus is a Beijing based supplier of driverless vehicle and robotics systems. Funding will be used for R&D, deploying robotaxi fleets, and ramping up production of cleaning robots, and other specialized products. 

GoExpedi Raises $25M in Series C Funding Led by Top Tier Capital Partners. GoExpedi is a Houston based e-commerce, supply chain and analytics company for the industrial and energy sector. The fresh capital will go towards accelerating the development and scale of its machine learning software, robotics, and advanced analytics technology, as well as adding new talent. 

Seegrid Raises $27M to Close its Growth Equity Round of $52M. Seegrid is a provider of Automatic Guided Vehicles in the material handling industry. New funding will go towards increasing its workforce, accelerating the development of new products, and help the company consider potential strategic acquisitions.

Humatics Raises a $30M Series B Led by Blackhorn Ventures. Humatics is an industrial automation startup using microlocation technology to change how people and machines locate, navigate, and collaborate in the connected world. The fresh capital will help scale Humatics microlocation technology across the globe. 

Duckbill Raises a $30M Series B Led by Future Capital and Shunwei Capital. Duckbill is a Shanghai-based digital trucking platform using AI- based dispatching to connect freight forwarders with local truck drivers. New funding will help drive product research and development, expansion to major ports across China, and talent recruitment. 

nTopology Raises a $40M Series C Led by Insight Partners. nTopology is a New York based startup building engineering design tools for advanced manufacturing. Fresh funding will help its design software to reach more engineers. 

VanMoof Raises a $40M Series B Led by Norwest Venture Partners, Felix Capital, and Balderton Capital. VanMoof is a developer and designer of urban e-bikes. The fresh capital will enable VanMoof to meet increasing demand, shorten delivery times, and build a suite of rider service solutions. 

Volansi Raises a $50M Series B from Lightspeed Venture Partners, YCombinator, and Others. Volansi provides automated drone delivery for time-critical parts and medical supplies for enterprise customers and the US DoD. With the new investment, Volansi will expand its team, launch new projects, and scale current initiatives in the US and emerging markets. 

Boosted Commerce Raises $87M from Torch Capital, Crosscut Ventures, and Others. Boosted Commerce is a CPG platform focused on accelerating the growth of consumer brands. With the new funding, Boosted plans to acquire and develop 100 e-commerce Consumer Package Brands over the next four years. 

Zwift Raises $450M from KKR and Others. Zwift is a startup that hosts virtual-reality cycle races. The funding will help Zwift introduce its own indoor bike and other hardware. 

Delivery Hero Purchases Glovo for $272M. Delivery Hero is a multinational online food-delivery service based in Berlin, Germany. As a result of the acquisition, Delivery Hero will add five new markets to its LatAm operations, as well as remove a competitor in three markets.

Accel-KKR Acquires Wabtec’s Shipper TMS to Combine it With Pinc Solutions. Wabtec Corporation is a global provider of equipment, systems, digital solutions and value-added services for freight & transit rail. By merging the two companies, KKR will create a combined business that serves as a foundation for a Supply Chain Execution (SCE) platform focused on comprehensive transportation management software solutions for shippers. 

The First Woman CEO of a Class I Railroad. After spending her entire 28-year career at BNSF, Kathryn Farmer will succeed Carl Ice as the first female CEO of BNSF and at a Class I Railroad. Farmer, who previously served as EVP of Operations and VP of Domestic Intermodal and Industrial Products will also assume leadership of BNSF’s Board of Directors.

Company Building 🛠️

Amp It Up. Snowflake, CEO Frank Slootman shares his secret behind getting the best from his teams at DataDomain, ServiceNow, and now, Snowflake. 

Long-term Planning Around Stock Options. A must read thread around the tax implications related to stock options. Ultimately, it boils down to long term planning so you can understand the cash requirement of exercising your incentive package.

🎧Heroes & Myths in Entrepreneurship. Guy Raz discusses the non-linear, messy, high-low path to success that founders, employees, and their companies must navigate.

Who's Hiring? 👩‍💻

Decision Analyst at nextmv in Philadelphia, PA (remote ok).

Field Operations Manager at Stord in Atlanta, GA.

Backend Engineer at sennder in Berlin, Germany.

Check out other jobs at Dynamo portfolio companies.

💥 Have you seen any interesting startups recently? Introduce us.
❤️ We would love your support. Please forward to friends and share on social media.
🗞️ If you were forwarded this and found it interesting, please sign up.
🎙 Check out Dynamo's podcast series, The Future of Supply Chain.

Dynamo Dispatch (09/14/20)

Issue 120 | Ouster, Xometry, TradeLanes

Dynamo Dispatch. Weekly update from Dynamo Ventures covering the latest and greatest in supply chain, mobility, and building venture-scale businesses.

💥 Have you seen any interesting startups recently? Introduce us.
❤️ We would love your support. Please forward to friends and share on social media.
🗞️ If you were forwarded this and found it interesting, please sign up.
🎙 Check out Dynamo's podcast series, The Future of Supply Chain.

Weekly Commentary 💭

We’re back and ready to roll into a Q4 environment that appears to be no less busy than summer. If you’re doing something interesting in supply chain or mobility or know someone that is, send them our way- hello@dynamo.vc. Big thank you to Jeff Schox, Aaron Hoffman, and Prince Ghosh for the assists this week.

We Are Dynamo,
Santosh, Ted, Barry, and Jon

Note: please add “dynamo@substack.com” to your email client so you don’t miss future issues due to aggressive spam filters.

Supply Chain 📦

The Port of LA’s Plan for Better Cargo Data. The Port of LA announces the sharing of Wabtec’s Port Optimizer data for the benefit of all supply chain stakeholders. The planning tool will provide all supply chain operators a three-week outlook for all incoming cargo at the port and make partners “more nimble and efficient, especially during volume surges like we are currently experiencing”, said Port of LA Executive Director Gene Seroka. ICYMI, see our friend Eric Johnson at the Digital Container Summit.  

Tesco to Begin Trials with Manna Drones. Britain’s largest retailer teams up with Dynamo Portfolio Company Manna for a six-month trial to enable the rapid delivery of small grocery/household items. Manna drones fly at an altitude of 80m at 50mph and deliver within a 1.2mi radius in less than 3mins. In a Similar move, Walmart Tests On-Demand Drone Delivery and How Logistics Networks Will Evolve as a Result of Drone Deliveries

A Pandemic Induced Electric Delivery Focus. Fleet operators are seeking more than battery powered versions of trucks/vans as regulatory pressures mount. Companies like UPS and Amazon have begun to shape the market for electric commercial vehicles by placing significant orders EV startups Arrival and Rivian. 

August Import Levels Reach 2-year Highs. The on-going consumer surge drove US-bound shipments in August up almost 13% y/y. In tandem, containerized freight handling increased 5.9% to 2.7M TEU. Global trade intelligence firm Panjiva attributes the volume rebound to an increased number of shipments from China and Vietnam. Speaking of peaks and highs, UPS Hires 100K to Cope with Surging Parcel Volumes and US Retailers Boost Peak Season Forecast

🌟Supply Chain Execs Remain Optimistic Towards Recovery. In an Infosys survey, nearly 57% of supply chain execs across eight countries reported a 25% or greater supply chain impact from the pandemic. A noteworthy number of organizations are bullish on a quick recovery, as 70% of respondents said they expect business to recover in nine months or less—with 61% expecting a recovery in less than six months. Also, Gartner's Outlook IoT in Supply Chain

Uber Freight Expands its Offering. Uber Freight begins its evolution into an enterprise Saas platform by helping shippers manage their drivers and carriers, regardless of their connection to the Uber Freight network. The second aspect of the offering is Uber Freight Enterprise, a solution giving shippers increased control over their shipment plans, as well as the capacity to manage hundreds or thousands of shipments per week. Uber Freight now has over 70k trucking companies on the platform with access to over 700k truck drivers. Elsewhere, UPS and Amazon Expand Domestic Air Services

How the USMCA Trade Deal Could Benefit Mexico. A looming trade war and unfavorable tariffs have US manufacturers seeking to extract operations out of China.  Mexico stands to benefit as the country emerges as an appealing option for nearshoring manufacturing operations. The country’s GDP has contracted for the last five quarters and economists believe the USMCA presents Mexico with a timely opportunity for economic recovery. 

Mobility 🚗

VW Says It May Soon Overtake Tesla. In terms of EV manufacturing numbers and software development, chairman Bernd Osterloh claims. VW’s modular electric-drive matrix platform gives the carmaker a “huge” advantage, as almost any car can be built on it and will provide a greater range of data in a much shorter time frame in comparison to Tesla. Related, VW Unveils plan for the Responsible Sourcing of Raw Battery Materials

Are Solid-State Batteries A “False Hope”?. While the world maintains a bullish sentiment for solid-state batteries and their energy storage abilities, an Ex-Tesla Engineer believes the future lies within lithium-ion. He believes lithium-ion cells will reach $50/kWh in 10 years, as Solid-State batteries face several technical difficulties including being prone to micro-cracking. Elsewhere, the Race to Build the Best Battery Heats Up. 

The 2021 Lucid Air Unveil. Starting in the spring of 2021, Lucid will begin deliveries of its long-awaited Air. The Air has a drivetrain 17% more efficient than rivals, 1k horsepower, a range of 517 miles, and a price tag of  $169k. A 113-kw/hr battery pack,  level 3 autonomy, and the ability to add 300-miles of range in 20 minutes gives the Air a strong competitive advantage over other EVs in the market. In other EV news, Lucid’s Air Takes on CEO’s Former Employer, Tesla

🌟GM Takes an 11% Stake in Nikola. GM will help develop and manufacture new models for the electric truck startup. The partnership is the example of traditional automakers venturing into the EV space. GM will provide Nikola with electric batteries and fuel cells for its Badger pickup truck in exchange for $2B in stock and a board seat. Also, Hindenburg Research Details Potential Fraud at Nikola.

Microsoft is Focused on Auto Connectivity. The automotive arm of Microsoft’s Cloud Division is establishing a fully connected vehicle platform aimed at supplying carmakers with connected technologies that extend beyond over-the-air updates including in-car or edge computing software enabling vehicles to transmit data, infotainment systems, and cloud infrastructure to manage fleets. Microsoft says its goal is to supply carmakers with technology, not compete with them and has partnerships that are already underway with BMW, Daimler, and Ford. Related, the Ford Wants to Generate Revenue Through Connected Cars.  

Uber Promises 100% Electric Cars By 2040. Uber vows to commit $800M through 2025 to help its drivers switch to battery-powered vehicles and will provide healthy discounts for vehicles purchased or leased from partner automakers. The ride hailing giant mentioned rides on its platform across the US, Canada, and Europe will be emission-free by 2030, powered by regulatory support and existing infrastructure in those regions. Elsewhere in Mobility, US Air Travel Hits a 5 Month High

Lidar Sees Strong Figures. As lidar gains prominence across additional use cases, many startups are reaping the benefits. Targeting both the high end and low-end markets, leading Lidar makers like Ouster and Luminar have shown the ability to capture a significant amount of customers in comparison to rival Velodyne who traditionally services high-end customers. See Why Lean Sensing is Crucial for AV enablement

Fundraises, M&A, Talent 💸

HumanForest Raises $2.3M from Cabify Founders. HumanForest is a dockless, shared and ad-supported eBike service. The new funding will be used to expand its bike fleet to 1k by the end of September and to grow to 2k eBikes in London in a year.

TradeLanes Raises $4M Led by S2G Ventures. TradeLanes removes the for paper from global trade, bringing trade execution entirely online through an eComm platform which significantly reduces transaction cycles. The new investment will enable TradeLanes to deepen the functionality of the platform and expand service to exporters in additional commodity verticals. 

BluSmart Raises a $7M Pre-Series A From Inflection Point Ventures, Venture Catalysts, and others. BlueSmart is a Delhi-based all-electric ride-hailing platform. Fresh capital will help BluSmart expand its fleet, deploy EV charging infrastructure, and make technology-related improvements. 

Virtual Kitchen Raises $20M Led by Founders Fund. Virtual Kitchen provides technology to set up commercial kitchens designed for delivery, allowing restaurants to get food to customers without the expense and hassle of running a dining room or storefront. The use of funding was not disclosed. 

Cell Propulsion Raises an Undisclosed Pre-Series A Led by growX Ventures. Cell Propulsion develops high voltage powertrain technology for commercial vehicle applications. The new capital will help deploy powertrains for electric trucks and buses with fleet operators and large eComm and logistics providers.

Ouster Raises a $42M Series B Led by Cox Automotive, Tao Capital Partners, and Fontinalis Partners. Ouster is a Bay Area-based LiDAR developer across transportation, robotics, industrial automation, and smart infrastructure use cases. Fresh capital will be used to fund product development and ramp up sales.

Xometry Raises a $75M Series E Led by T. Rowe Price Associates. Xometry is an online marketplace where companies can find manufacturers across the globe with excess capacity to build whatever they need. The new investment will help Xometry keep growing and enhancing its platform. 

KAR Global Purchases BackLotCars for $425M. BackLotCars is an online dealer-to-dealer vehicle wholesaling platform. The acquisition will diversify its digital offerings while building on the foundation of TradeRev, the auction firm’s mobile vehicle trading platform. 

Toyota’s R&D Arm to Form an $800M Investment Fund. The firm announced a global investment fund on Thursday called Woven Capital which will invest in companies in areas such as autonomous mobility and smart cities.

Company Building 🛠️

Fred Wilson on SPACs. “Competition and choice is good. That is deeply held belief of mine across all aspects of life and business. And so the deluge of SPAC money coming to market right now is a good thing for the founders and CEOs who lead our portfolio companies. It offers them a wider array of options for going public than they had before. I am certain that will be a good thing for the tech sector and the VC sector.”

Bessemer Venture Partners’ Shopify Investment Memo. BVP shared a handful of their investment memos this week. I particularly like how Alex Ferrera provided ex-post commentary which proves to be useful in product, customer acquisition, and market sections.

Snowflake S-1 Teardown. There’s irony in that Silicon Valley tends to shun Wall Street yet many VCs embark on a S-1 teardown like a banking analyst or public equity analyst. That said, this rundown of Snowflake gives founders a look at 1) how hard it is to build a great SaaS business, 2) what best of breed growth looks like, and 3) metrics that matter as a SaaS business matures and preps to go public.

Who's Hiring? 👩‍💻

Full Stack Engineer at Vizion in Palo Alto, CA (remote ok).

Supply Chain Software Engagement Architect at Verusen in Atlanta, GA.

Product Support Specialist at Zeelo in London, UK.

Check out other jobs at Dynamo portfolio companies.

💥 Have you seen any interesting startups recently? Introduce us.
❤️ We would love your support. Please forward to friends and share on social media.
🗞️ If you were forwarded this and found it interesting, please sign up.
🎙 Check out Dynamo's podcast series, The Future of Supply Chain.

Dynamo Dispatch (08/24/20)

Issue 119 | Attabotics, Fetch, FarEye

Dynamo Dispatch. Weekly update from Dynamo Ventures covering the latest and greatest in supply chain, mobility, and building venture-scale businesses.

💥 Have you seen any interesting startups recently? Introduce us.
❤️ We would love your support. Please forward to friends and share on social media.
🗞️ If you were forwarded this and found it interesting, please sign up.
🎙 Check out Dynamo's podcast series, The Future of Supply Chain.

Weekly Commentary 💭

As we wind down summertime, check out the latest episodes of the Future of Supply Chain. Recently, we hosted Drew McElroy of Transfix to chat about harmonizing digital and physical operations.

On the referral train, thank you to Jake Gibson, Alex Iskold, and Matt Ridley!

We Are Dynamo,

Santosh, Ted, Barry, and Jon

Note: please add “dynamo@substack.com” to your email client so you don’t miss future issues due to aggressive spam filters.

Supply Chain 📦

📊Pandemic Impacts on Tech Innovation. Relevant new innovations as a result of the virus are focused on infection prevention, remote commerce, improving resiliency, and providing greater agility. The technological status quo faces major overhaul as our world aims to prepare for future disasters while maintaining a sense of normal innovation.

Japan, Australia, and India Seek a Supply Chain Pact. The trio is seeking to build enhanced supply chains to counter China’s dominance as tensions escalate across the region. Aside from deteriorating diplomatic relations, pandemic ramifications brought many to re-examine current supply chain practices and explore new avenues for factory diversification. Also, The Pandemic Pushes Small Suppliers to the Brink of Failure

Autonomous Ships are on the Horizon. Maritime vessels account for nearly 90% of all international trade, stamping ships the “lifeblood” of the global economy. New ships are being constructed with lidar, radar, and infrared sensors/cameras enabling almost zero human intervention in the berthing and unberthing process. With easing lockdowns and evolving trade practices, many believe the world is shifting toward autonomous ships to keep global trade moving. Also in maritime, is DP World Building A Container Line? and ATA Seeks Nearly $2B from Ocean Carriers for Alleged Chassis Overcharges.

The Impacts From a Potential USPS Slow Down. As the USPS remains top of mind for many Americans, impacts from a slowdown will be felt across the country. SMBs may face severe impact as some small shippers indicate 2-3 weeks delivery delays citing the USPS. Additionally, Postmaster Dejoy has moved to ban overtime for employees, which often helps meet volume surges. In more USPS news, Dejoy Demands Congress Remove USPS Pricing Constraints

3PL Revenue Expected to Drop for Second Straight Year. Armstrong & Associates predict the 3PL industry will record a second straight year of gross revenue declines. Gross revenues are expected to fall nearly $5B short of last year's figures, but dedicated contract carriage may be the sole bright spot in a rough year for industry players as the segment is governed by multiyear contracts and has the ability to thrive in tight truckload markets as dependable sources of capacity are sought. Related, Trailer Orders +84% Y/Y.

🌟A Statistical Breakdown of the 2020 eComm Surge. In just over two months, the UK went from 20% eComm penetration to 30%, while the US jumped from 17% to 22%. The UK spike was driven by deep and extensive lockdowns, forcing consumers to shop online. Related, eComm 3PLs Flourish while mall operator CBL Files for Chapter 11.

Lufthansa Prepares for Vaccine Deployment. New pharma facilities in Munich and Chicago help Lufthansa expand its cold chain footprint in preparation for vaccine distribution. The Munich hub has capacity for 96 pallets and loose cargo with storage available under three various temperature ranges. German peer, DHL to Add 7000 Workers for Q4 Surge across retail, life sciences, and healthcare sectors.  

Mobility 🚗

Uber and Lyft Shutdown Averted… For Now. A California appeals judge temporarily blocked an order requiring the ride sharing services to classify drivers as employees. The companies now have until October to convince the court to nullify the order. Related, Uber and Lyft Competitors Ready to Pounce if Companies Exit California

UK EV Sales Soar During Lockdowns. Despite a 97% decline in total vehicle sales during lockdown, EVs witnessed an impressive uptick. April saw EVs account for almost 32% of new vehicle registrations, even outselling diesel cars. A boost in sales can be attributed to significant tax incentives and an increased range of newer models.  Elsewhere in EVs, Love’s and Electrify America Build 28 Charging Stations Across 6 States

🌟Nio Offers Batteries-As-a-Service. Nio is enabling customers to purchase an EV without a battery and offering a subscription to one for a separate monthly fee. EV automakers are seeking to run their businesses like a tech company, but not all EVs have swappable battery packs, limiting only a few to offering BaaS. Elsewhere in China, EV Battery Swaps are Newly Approved by National Standard Authority.

Is The Urban Future Carless?. The pandemic has forced some to reimagine preferred methods of transportation, especially in urban hubs. At the end of 2019, 127 US cities structured permit programs for shared eScooters. That figure is expected to grow as cities build dedicated eBike and eScooter infrastructure, encouraging more riders to take to the streets. Speaking of carless, Four Micromobility Startups Fixing the UAE’s Last-Mile Problem and Ontario’s Push for Microtransit in Underserved Areas

The Government Grounds DJI, but Approves Five New Drones. After the US Government began banning Chinese model drones over spying fears, other US-based and international drone companies started pitching their own interactions. The DoD announced five new drones that were tested, approved, and are now available for governmental use. Manufacturers include: Skydio, Parrot, Altavian, Teal Drones, and Vantage Robotics. In the drone and AV stack, Lidar Sensor Achieve High Efficiency Using Mirrors

📊75% EV Adoption Could Save Americans $17-$70B Per Year. A study by Northwestern University focused on economic and climate benefits related to widespread EV adoption. As EVs gain popularity, the study shows just a 25% adoption could translate to nearly $17B saved on climate change and air pollution spending.  Related, Porsche’s new eMobility loyalty program and Tesla Captures 80% of the US EV Market.

Fundraises, M&A, Talent 💸

Perishable Shipping Solutions Raises a $7M Series A Led by SJF Ventures. Perishable is an eCommerce fulfillment business focused on perishable goods. The fresh capital will aid in accelerating operations to meet the growing demand for the company’s services. 

Craft Raises $10M Led by High Alpha Capital. Craft is an intelligence platform providing enterprise solutions helping make informed business decisions. With the new capital, Craft will build out its supply chain intelligent platform, expand office operations, and build out remote teams across North America and Europe.

FarEye Raises $13M in Additional Series D Funding Led by Fundamentum Partnership. FarEye is a predictive logistics platform for businesses. New capital will help the company expand into new markets and scale operations.

Fetch Raises $18M Led by Iron Gate Capital. Fetch is an offsite package management service for multifamily apartment communities. Using the new capital, Fetch will expand into new markets, add new clients, expand with current clients, and further invest in its warehouse and delivery technology. 

Sendle Raises $19M Led by King River Capital. Sendle is an Australian-based courier service for small businesses. Funding will help expand into new Australian and US markets. 

Xos Trucks Raises $20M Led by Proeza Ventures. Xos Trucks is a commercial electric vehicle startup based in California. New funding will help the startup to ramp up production on the heels of a California zero-emissions mandate.

Weee! Raises $35M From DST Global. Weee! is an online grocery delivery platform offering Asian specialty products and everyday staples. The grocer hopes to hire new talent and expand delivery capabilities across 13-14 new cities as a result of the new capital.

Attabotics Raises a $50M Series C Led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board. Attabotics is a 3D robotics supply chain system for modern e-commerce. The company will use the funding to speed up commercial deployment and invest in new technology.

Canoo Going Public via SPAC. The LA-based EV startup has struck a deal with Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corp to go public at a $2.4B valuation. Blackrock is also investing $300M in a PIPE (Private Investment in a Public Equity) which together with the SPAC equity should fund the production and launch of EVs built off of its underlying skateboard technology.

Amazon Names Dave Clark New Head of its Retail Business. Clark, who formerly ran Amazon’s logistics division will replace Jeff Wilkes who will retire in Q1 2021. He will operate the Worldwide Consumer unit which encompasses Amazon’s prominent retail business

Company Building 🛠️

Gartner’s 2020 Hype Cycle. Lots of talk around AI again this year. The emerging trends worth paying attention to as you look to gain the attention of F500 CIOs include composite architectures, formative AI, and algorithmic trust.

FinTech Scales Vertical SaaS. We’re seeing this trend amongst supply chain startups given capital and freight move in opposing directions so are tied at the hip. We also note a rise in business models that focus on monetizing/expanding margin on the financial leg while giving away the supply chain-centric product or feature. Many of our portfolio companies have capital products released or in the works. Ultimately, money talks!

How Figma on Hybrid Office Structure. Pay particular attention to the policy that people have to declare as part of a hub or remote. Remote staff will need to overlap with Figma working hours (so is limited to the continental US at roll out). Most interesting is that salaries will be adjusted to local norms for new hires- bucking the [misplaced] belief that salary for a given req will be flat regardless of location.

Who's Hiring? 👩‍💻

QA Engineer at sennder in Berlin, Germany.

Talent Acquisition Partner at Stord in Atlanta, GA.

Decision Analyst at nextmv in Philadelphia, PA (remote ok).

Check out other jobs at Dynamo portfolio companies.

💥 Have you seen any interesting startups recently? Introduce us.
❤️ We would love your support. Please forward to friends and share on social media.
🗞️ If you were forwarded this and found it interesting, please sign up.
🎙 Check out Dynamo's podcast series, The Future of Supply Chain.

Dynamo Dispatch (08/17/20)

Issue 118 | HDVI, Axle, Coreshell

Dynamo Dispatch. Weekly update from Dynamo Ventures covering the latest and greatest in supply chain, mobility, and building venture-scale businesses.

💥 Have you seen any interesting startups recently? Introduce us.
❤️ We would love your support. Please forward to friends and share on social media.
🗞️ If you were forwarded this and found it interesting, please sign up.
🎙 Check out Dynamo's podcast series, The Future of Supply Chain.

Weekly Commentary 💭

Sourcing is the lifeblood of any VC… we see 400-500 startups/quarter so referrals certainly are a welcome signal in the growing universe of supply chain technology startups. A big thank you to Greg White, Ty Findley, and Paul Bailey for the awesome assists this week.

We Are Dynamo,

Santosh, Ted, Barry, and Jon

Note: please add “dynamo@substack.com” to your email client so you don’t miss future issues due to aggressive spam filters.

Supply Chain 📦

USPS Increase Parcel Rates for Commercial Accounts. To offset elevated operating costs induced by the pandemic, the USPS will levy temporary parcel hikes on high-volume shippers by nearly $1.50/unit. The new hikes won’t impact retail shippers but will impact parcel aggregators. More USPS news, Fiscal Q3 Financial Results and a Recent Patent Application for a Blockchain Based Voting System

Deindustrialization Means Disarmament. In light of China’s tightening control over global supply chains, a deindustrialized US could implicate vulnerabilities around foreign interference, coercion, and espionage. Failure to safeguard the access and integrity of America’s supply chains could be costly in relation to the sovereignty of our nation

🌟Amazon and Simon Property Group Look at Turning Shuttered Stores Into Fulfillment CentersTalks between the two have centered around converting stores formerly or currently occupied by JCPenney and Sears. The notion of such transformation points to the steady decline of malls and the rapid acceleration of eComm. Also, Amazon is Liable for Third-party Products.

The Soaring Cost of International Logistics. Tightening capacity constraints across air, land, and sea have driven up international shipping rates. According to the Drewry World Index, the cost to move goods by ship increased by 12% in 2020 to its highest level in nearly 6 years. Related, Eric Johnson at JoC Discusses Maersk’s Entry into TMSas NRF Expects 2020 Imports to Be at Near-term Lows.

Class I Railroads Close to Implementing PTC. In June, 86% of Class I railroads were in compliance with the PTC mandate. Approximately 700mi of railroad still require certification in order to meet the federally mandated deadline of December 2020.In trucking, Locomotion Completes Pilot with Wilson Logistics.

The Case For and Against Hydrogen Trucks. Proponents of hydrogen trucks argue its ability to mirror the fueling and long haul capacities of diesel trucks make it a catalyst for industry innovation. Naysayers touch on its inefficiency when compared to battery electric power and a host of safety risks. In NYC, a Container Port Purchases Fleet of Electric Yard Tractors while in brokerage, Convoy Unveils Carrier Benefits with Factoring and Fuel Cards.

Fred Smith on COVID-19 and Amazon Breakup. The FedEx Chairman and CEO touched on the shipping split between Amazon and FedEx, citing a shift in macroeconomic trends enabling an independent eComm push. Despite slowing industrial economic activity, Smith still sees “enormous cause for optimism” for the Memphis-based logistics provider. ICYMI in July, 3PL Perspectives for 2020.

Mobility 🚗

BYD Electric Buses: 13M Emission-Free Miles. After preventing an estimated 16k metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the last decade, BYD Electric Buses are making their way across the globe. Norway, Chile, and Germany have all recently placed orders for the electric bus reshaping the face of sustainable public transportation.. Speaking of buses, Rethinking Bus Services For a Sustainable Future

🌟Code on Wheels. Regarding software, the average vehicle today requires around 100M lines of code, whereas newer cars with limited autonomous capabilities could require nearly 2-3x more code. Those pushing for L5 autonomy may have 1B lines of code!  The race to integrating an OS and app ecosystem could drive that number even higher.

A Potential Service Halt for Uber and Lyft?. Last week, a California judge ordered Uber and Lyft to reclassify their drivers as employees, meaning benefits must be paid. As a result, the ride-hailing giants are threatening to suspend service in California if the order stands. Speaking of mobility success, How Moovit Went from $0 to $800M.

Is the Madrid Model Made for America?. Madrid’s model of removing specified bike roadway infrastructures and integrating them into regular traffic lanes gains widespread European adoption. Whether “vehicular cycling” would work in America remains unknown as US roadway cycling infrastructure lacks far behind other nations. Also in micromobility, Citi Tempering eBikes Rollout from “Thousands” to “Hundreds”

CATL Seeks to Boost EV Driving Ranges. CATL is developing a new technology enabling battery cells to be integrated with an electric car's chassis. As a result, EV’s could have a driving range of more than 500 miles. Speaking of EVs, Germany Marks Almost 17k New BEV’s as Europe’s Battery Makers Power Up for Green Recovery.

The Vroom Boom of 2020. With the convenience of public transit, many New Yorkers never felt compelled to purchase their own cars. Now, obvious repercussions from the pandemic have forced a once hesitant demographic to change their tone on car ownership, as car registrations from June and July across the five boroughs rose 39% y/y. If you’re in the market for an EV, Lucid Air EV Crushes 500 Mile on Single Charge.

Michigan Builds AV Roadway from Ann Arbor to Detroit. The state of Michigan is partnering with Canvue to dedicate a 40-mile stretch of highway along I-94 solely to AVs. Once the project is complete, the first self-driving vehicles permitted will be public transport and shared-mobility vehicles. Also, Audit of US Auto Safety Standards

Fundraises, M&A, Talent 💸

Coreshell Raises $4M Led By Entrada Ventures. Coreshell is a California-based startup making a coating for electrodes in lithium-ion batteries.

Root AI Raises $7.2M Seed led by Rob May of PJC, First Round Capital, and Outsiders Fund. Root AI is creating intelligent robots to help growers build farms of the future. With the new capital, Root will expand and grow its agricultural robotics business. 

HDVI Secures $16M Series A Led by 8VC and Munich RE Ventures. HDVI helps small and midsize trucking fleets improve safety, compliance, and operations. The new capital will help HDVI scale growth, expand its product offering, launch into new states, and add new features for agents, fleets, and drivers.

Incomlend Raises $20M Series A Led by Sequoia Capital India. Incomlend is a Singapore-based startup operating a trading platform to connect exporters and importers with investors. Funding will help Incomlend expand into Europe, Southeast Asia, and North Asia and build up its technology infrastructure. 

Axle Raises $27.7M in Debt and Equity From Anthemis and Techstars. Axle is an all-in-one financial partner for the modern freight broker to manage their working capital requirements. The fresh capital will aid in scaling operations to additional markets and help scale product development. 

Parsable Lands a $60M Series D Led by Activate Capital and Glade Brook Capital Partners. Parsable is a connected worker platform bringing faster digitalization to the industrial sector. Fresh funding will help Parsable expand operations into Asia, EMEA, and Latin America. 

Advent Buys Majority Stake in Logistics Firm Hermes from Germany's Otto. In light of growing eComm volumes, Hermes has seen parcel volumes soar through 2020. The investment from Advent will support capacity and technology development plans. At close, Advent will own 75% of Hermes UK and also get a 25% stake in Hermes Germany.

Perpetuum is Acquired by Hitachi Rail. Perpetuum is a startup digitizing train maintenance and operations. Terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed but 73 employees from Perpetuum will be integrated into Hitachi’s operations. 

Company Building 🛠️

Lead Gen for SaaS. A 101-level lesson for anyone interested in establishing a quality lead generation effort for their SaaS business.

Rippling Series B Deck. “One non-standard metric we created and use at Rippling is the sales team’s month zero cash-on-cash payback. It’s a useful measure of a sales team’s cash efficiency — we describe it in detail in the deck so you can plug in your own numbers.”

Churn and Customer Success. If you’re a Dynamo portco you have heard us harp #6 - integrations are key in supply chain as it reduces friction relative to existing habits and workflows. That said, #1, #5, and #7 are also important in the context of our industry.

Who's Hiring? 👩‍💻

Project Manager at SVT Robotics in Norfolk, VA (remote ok).

Software Engineer at ChAI in London, England.

Digital Marketer at Stord in Atlanta, GA.

Check out other jobs at Dynamo portfolio companies.

💥 Have you seen any interesting startups recently? Introduce us.
❤️ We would love your support. Please forward to friends and share on social media.
🗞️ If you were forwarded this and found it interesting, please sign up.
🎙 Check out Dynamo's podcast series, The Future of Supply Chain.

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