Dynamo Dispatch (22/05/23)
Issue 238 | Transflo & ATI, VinFast, ANYbotics
Dynamo Dispatch. A weekly update from Dynamo Ventures covering the latest and greatest in supply chain, mobility, and building venture-scale businesses.
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Weekly Commentary 💭
👋Many thanks to our Venture Fellow Eloise Benissan who departs next week for her next academic internship. We appreciate all her hard work these past few months, including weekly content creation for the Dispatch, and wish her the best. Good luck, Eloise!
📣Big news! We’ve rebranded Founders Camp to Hub + Spoke and applications are open! Over the course of three days in October, in Chattanooga, TN, founders can make meaningful relationships and develop a deeper understanding of supply chain to accelerate their business. Competitive companies should have a strong team, a product/service built, and early traction with customers/users. Companies that are looking to raise a seed or Series A round would benefit from the programming.
Applications are due August 20th at 11:59 PM PT. More information and the link to the application are available here.
☀️No Dispatch next Monday as we are enjoying the Memorial Day long weekend, and we’ll be back the first Monday in June.
🥰Love reading the Dispatch? Make sure you forward it to anyone looking to stay up to date with all things supply chain and mobility.
We Are Dynamo,
Santosh, Jon, and the rest of the Dynamo team (thanks to Anneli for the editorial support this week)
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Supply Chain 📦
⭐Drug Shortages Near an All-Time High, Leading to Rationing. Drug shortages in the US have reached alarming levels. Thousands of patients are experiencing delays in cancer and life-threatening disease treatments, and hundreds of medications are facing scarcity due to supply chain issues. The generic drug market, which accounts for about 90% of domestic prescriptions, is particularly affected, capturing the attention of the White House and Congress. The situation is considered a public health emergency, as shortages of essential chemotherapy drugs are worsening, potentially leading to inferior patient care. Finding long-term strategies to stabilize the pharmaceutical supply chain is crucial to ensure the availability and timely delivery of critical medications. One solution logistics providers are using is nearshoring.
Amazon Overhauls Delivery Network To Dispatch Packages Faster, More Cheaply. The company has created self-sufficient regions within the U.S., allowing items to be placed closer to customers, reducing the distance traveled. This has led to a 15% reduction in travel distance and a 12% decrease in package handling. While some sellers have experienced delays in sending items to Amazon warehouses, overall delivery speeds have improved, and Amazon is expanding its same-day centers to further increase speed. These changes are part of Amazon's broader cost-cutting strategy and efforts to streamline its operations. In more cost-cutting news by Amazon, Amazon Offers US Shoppers $10 To Pick Up Purchases As It Targets Delivery Costs.
US West Coast Ports Regain Lost Volume As Competitive Pressure Mounts. Some US importers have started bringing back cargo to West Coast ports from rival gateways despite ongoing labor contract talks. However, the market share losses at West Coast ports can't solely be attributed to labor negotiations. Retailers and suppliers have been shifting their distribution strategies and are sending goods to the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico to be closer to consumers. West Coast ports handled 40% of US container import volume in the first quarter of 2023, compared to 45% in the same period in 2019, and this trend could result in over 1M twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) moving away from West Coast ports annually starting in 2021. Some companies have been diverting cargo to Mexico to avoid tariffs and benefit from lower costs. In related news, read House Bill Wants Security Checks Of Port Cranes Made By US ‘Adversaries’ and Lower Volumes Translate Into Better North American Intermodal Service: Survey.
Alphabet’s Intrinsic Launches Flowstate, A Robotic App Development Platform. The development platform is aimed at simplifying the management and programming of industrial robots. By providing a user-friendly solution and a library of skills, Intrinsic aims to broaden the accessibility of robotics in various settings, which is crucial for the broader supply chain. The platform's ability to facilitate workflow design and integration of third-party skills can enhance automation and efficiency, ultimately benefiting warehouses, factories, and other manufacturing environments by streamlining their operations and improving productivity. For more tech-enabled supply chain news, read SAP Sees Faster Route To Creating Value From AI And Analytics.
Optimism Fades For Airfreight Recovery On Slow-Healing Inventories. Air logistics executives had hoped for a recovery in shipping demand after the first quarter, but worsening indicators suggest that the international freight recession is far from over. Global air cargo volumes have dropped by 8-10% compared to last year, with rates falling over 40%. The decline is driven by factors such as ongoing inventory overhangs, the injection of additional capacity as airlines resume passenger services, and the risk of a global recession. The challenging environment and negative economic forces make it unlikely for the air cargo sector to experience a fall peak-season surge this year.
Flexport Names Uber Freight Chief To Lead Digital Truck Unit. The appointment follows Flexport’s acquisition of Shopify's e-commerce fulfillment and final-mile delivery assets. This strategic move highlights Flexport's focus on expanding its services in domestic transportation, particularly within the e-commerce sector, as it aims to provide small companies with affordable access to advanced tools and analytics. With Driegert's expertise and a commitment to democratizing freight transportation, Flexport seeks to strengthen its position in the industry, having reported $5B in gross revenue last year and $3.3B in 2021. For more personnel news, read Supply Chain Managers In Demand As Businesses Hit By Shortages.
Shein Invests $70M Toward Upgrading Its Supply Chain. DTC fast fashion retailer Shein has announced an additional $55M investment in its Supplier Community Empowerment Program, bringing the total program investment to $70M over the next five years. The investment is aimed at empowering Shein's third-party manufacturing suppliers and workers within its ecosystem. This move comes as Shein faces pressure to address concerns about its supply chain practices, particularly regarding forced labor in the Xinjiang region of China. Shein has denied these allegations and continues to invest in initiatives to upgrade suppliers and uplift communities within its supply chain. In other supply chain innovation news, check out Maersk Innovation Center Opens To Accelerate Supply Chain Innovation At An Enterprise Level.
⭐Not Enough Resources For EVs To Be Only Cleaner Car Option, Toyota Says. Leaning towards other options such as BEVs and gasoline-electric hybrids such as their flagship product, the Prius. Chief Executive of Toyota Research Institute Gill Pratt maintains that, while renewable charging infrastructure will eventually be plentiful, it will take several decades for battery material mines, transmission lines, energy storage facilities, etc. to scale up to meet the current EV demand. Get more information on the EV industry by reading Crunching Data To Keep EVs From Overloading California’s Grid and Kia And Hyundai To Build EVs In Mexico For IRA Tax Credit Eligibility.
UK's First Driverless Bus Begins Passenger Service In Edinburgh. Operated by Stagecoach, the currently five single-decker buses provide the company with a capacity of over 10K passengers per week. The buses are currently only running on a 14-mile pre-selected route with a top speed of only 50mph. Learn more by reading SoftBank Unit Bringing Estonian Self-Driving Buses To Japan and Poll As First Driverless Bus Takes On Passengers In Scotland.
The Canadian Market Will Require Both EVs And Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars. In order to combat the increased pressure EVs will produce on Canada’s electric grid, Canadian regulation is now promoting hydrogen fuel cell cars as well. EVs generally require anywhere from 60-90 KW/H, nearly tripling the energy consumption of an average home. For more, consider reading Morocco Unveils Hydrogen Vehicle Prototype HUV and Powered By Ballard: PESA's New Hydrogen Fuel Cell Locomotive.
Electric Car Battery Swapping Gets A Reboot. California startup Ample has produced a streamlined battery-swapping process, which only takes five minutes - similar to the time it would take to fill up a gas tank. Currently, Ample is experimenting in San Fransisco, with recent expansions into Spain and Japan as a deal with EV maker Fisker is impending. To learn more, consider also reading How 5-Minute Battery Swaps Could Get More EVs On The Road.
The New Automotive Mandate: Moving From Building Products To Building Businesses. In the 1950s, companies on the S&P 500 lasted an average of 61 years, according to McKinsey’s data, while companies in 2020 have an average tenure of 20 years. This represents the continued shift in scaling new businesses due to the increasing pace of innovation, with 80% of executives naming business building as a top-5 agenda item leading into 2024. For more, consider checking out Shared Mobility: Sustainable Cities, Shared Destinies and GM-Backed Cruise Ready For Next Phase Of Growth.
Why So Many Electric Car Chargers In America Don't Work. Factors can range from vandalism, theft, breaking parts, IT complications, and payment system malfunctions. In fact, ChargePoint Holdings Inc Lab claims that each year over 3,000 chargers are tested and are unable to be deployed due to manufacturer defects. For similar news, check out ChargeX Is A New Group That’s Going To Improve Us Public EV Chargers – Here’s How and Is This New EV Charger The Solution For Cities?.
Fundraises and M&A 💸
Figorr Raises $1.5M In Seed Funding. Figorr is a Nigerian-based cold-chain startup that provides businesses with real-time data on the location, humidity, and temperature of perishable products, reducing post-harvest losses and enabling tailored insurance solutions based on risk profiles. The funds will go to expanding operations across new markets and improving the IoT infrastructure and risk management platform.
Renaissant Raises $1.5M In Seed Funding. Renaissant is a Wisconsin-based logistics SaaS company that optimizes logistics operations, improves workflow efficiency, and automates truck activity tracking for warehouse operators. The funds raised will be used to expand the Renaissant team in key areas such as engineering and customer success, as well as accelerate product innovation.
Manifest Cyber Raises $6M In Seed Funding. Manifest is a software supply chain visibility startup that addresses the lack of transparency in software by providing software bills of materials (SBOMs) to help businesses understand the components and vulnerabilities in the software they use, with a focus on addressing the growing threat of software supply chain attacks. The funds will be used to further develop the product, expand their team, and support their operations.
Stacklok Raises $17.5M In Series A Funding. Stacklok is a startup founded by Kubernetes co-founders Craig McLuckie and Joe Beda, aiming to provide tools and services for software supply chain security through cryptographic signatures and identity verification. The funds will be used to further develop and expand the platform, including building integrations, enhancing developer tools, and advancing their commercial product line.
Alloy Enterprises Raises $26M In Series A Funding. Alloy Enterprises is a Burlington, MA-based Digital Aluminum Fab company that produces aluminum parts at scale, using laser cutting and diffusion bonding, as well as 3D printing. Funds will be used to expand operations.
ANYbotics Raises $50M In Series B Funding. ANYbotics is a Swiss robotics company that develops advanced legged robots for industrial inspection, using AI to automate manual and hazardous tasks, improve productivity, and enhance worker safety. The funds will be used to scale deployments internationally and fuel product development.
Transflo and ATI Merge to Revolutionize FreightTech and Fleet Management Solutions. Transflo, a leading provider of mobile and business automation software for the transportation industry, has merged with Assured Telematics Inc. (ATI), a provider of truck fleet management solutions to create a comprehensive TMS software suite. ATI's capabilities will be integrated into the Transflo ecosystem, with ATI's President taking on the role of Chief Telematics Officer and continuing to lead the ATI business unit and Telematics for the combined company.
SPAC Radar 📡
$27B SPAC merger for VinFast. Founded in 2017, VinFast is an EV manufacturer based in Vietnam. On Friday the company announced that it’s going public in the US via a SPAC merger with Hong Kong-based Black Spade Acquisition Co. Bloomberg reports: “the purported $27 billion valuation (which includes debt) would make it the third-largest such transaction in history.”
Who's Hiring? 👩💻
Be sure to check out the Dynamo website for more job opportunities at our portfolio companies!
Senior DevSecOps Engineer at Skupos in Denver, CO (remote).
Account Executive at Vizion in Atlanta, GA (remote).
Mobile Developer at Milk Moovement in Halifax, Canada (remote).
Random Statistic Of The Week 📈
🧳 “AAA estimates that 42.3 million Americans will travel during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend — a 7% increase over last year. That's 2.7 million more people who will travel during the unofficial start of summer in comparison to 2022, which could be indicators of what’s to come in the months ahead.” For more travel projections by train, plane, and automobile, check out Memorial Day travel projected to reach pre-pandemic levels.