Dynamo Dispatch (05/06/19)

Issue 63 | Blackbuck, Specright, TransitScreen

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

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Weekly Commentary 💭

A couple shoutouts to friends launching their own events and startup programming.

SCIT19. Hosted in NYC from June 19-20 by Brian Laung Aoaeh and Lisa Morales Hellebo from The NY Supply Chain Meetup. This event will be full of startups and corporates.

Accelerate. A free go-to-market bootcamp for startups in NYC hosted by Bowery Capital and SVB. This is a great opportunity to dig in and work on selling. Don’t over-index on product, be balanced and develop a path to your market.

If you haven’t already, check out this past week’s Future of Supply Chain with Luke Marklin of Bellhops discussing the logistics of moving. Also, if you’re curious about the impact of shipping containers, check out this piece from our blog.

We Are Dynamo,
Santosh 💥

PS- Please add “dynamo@substack.com” to your email client so you don’t miss future issues due to agressive spam filtering.

Supply Chain 📦

🌟 The History of Amazon Prime. Counting 100M+ subscribers, globally, Prime redefined convenience, the retail experience, and as a result, the way goods move. Prime went from idea to launch in just six weeks because of 3 years+ of work inside Amazon warehouses to make the two-day shipping promise possible. Related, Fully Automated Warehouses Still 10 Years Away and Amazon Can Deliver to 72% of Americans in One Day already.

🌟 Convoy Launches Innovation Lab. This might be a sign that Convoy is now what I dub “scaled-out” as it starts a formal effort to ensure it keeps innovating to improve the shipper experience (not unlike efforts at more longstanding incumbents like DHL, UPS, and Kenco).

NACFE: Where Electric Trucks Make Sense. TLDR: 50-100 miles/day routes are ripe for EVs. Electrification among Class 7-8 vehicles will take time due to a lack of infrastructure and payloads. It’s not without question to see mixed fleets (including diesel, natural gas, hybrid, and CBEV products) for the next 20-30 years which will have implications of labor, asset investment, and adoption curves.

Managing Gig Workers in Tight Labor Conditions is Difficult. It turns out that ride hailing and food delivery firms are struggling with high turnover that’s common among service industries. In current labor conditions, instead of relying entirely on gig economy work, drivers are supplementing a core income stream with occasional rides or deliveries. On the occasions we dive into such “last mile” businesses, we spend a long time understanding the supply side labor dynamics -- attracting and retaining people in this segment is no joke.

Robots Closer to Unloading Trucks. A look at the new Honeywell Intelligrated robot that can “crawl” into a trailer to unload it. “Getting people out of the trailer and on the dock side managing several of these machines is a huge factor as it relates to employee satisfaction and retention.”

Coyote: Shippers Won’t Blow 2019 Freight Budgets. 2019 will see normalization in pricing from 2018 with expected upticks as early as Q3. Coyote expects high tender acceptance (rate at which a truck accepts cargo) and less seasonal impact on spot rates.

Air Freight Volatility Changing Purchasing Habits. Contract capacity is going unfilled and spot rates are wildly volatile spurring interest in index-linked agreements. “It’s a fair, transparent way to sell and buy rates, and most forwarders and airlines like it.  It also removes manpower, effort and cashflow away from tendering.”

Mobility 🚗

🌟 SwRI System Tests Connected-Vehicle Vulnerabilities. The new system uses GPS spoofing where one broadcasts incorrect signals to trick an AV. Previously difficult to test for due to regulation, such vulnerabilities can now be addressed by manufacturers.

Reviewing Bird’s Unit Economics. Limiting the company’s profitability are it’s short-lived scooters that last 126 days causing a churn of 5,500 units from January to April. That said, both the company and it’s investors have noted this narrative is incorrect.

Physical Protection Needed for Bike Lanes. A study from the University of Australia shows the need for physical protection for bike lanes. At the Micromobility event earlier this year, there was extensive discussion regarding the importance of the physical differences between car lanes and bike lanes. In Chattanooga we have curbs but I’ve seen cobblestone or brick in various European cities as well as an elevated payment for bikes. Related, CDC’s Austin Study Suggest a Helmet.

Tesla At Risk Due to Trump Tariffs. The “brain” of the vehicle is the Autopilot Engine Control Unit that is assembled by Quanta in China. The new tariffs could cause Tesla to source production elsewhere, pass on the costs, or find other ways to reduce operational burden. Related, Tesla Raises Fresh Capital and Stock Price Surges.

🎧 Safety Engineering of Autonomous Vehicles. Dr. Phillip Koopman of Edge Case Research looks at all of the potential safety challenges inherent to autonomous drive systems and is developing UL4600 as a framework through which AV developers can demonstrate the safety engineering and validation that their systems have gone through, as an AV-specific complement to other standards. Related, Apple Gets Patent For New Radar System.

VW Focusing on Inclusive Mobility. The effort incorporates the perspectives and needs of disabled passengers to ensure they’re not left behind in terms of mobility in the era of autonomy. Also, Audi Restarts Hydrogen Cell Efforts.

Strategic Developments, Fundraises, M&A 💸

Rappi Raise $1B from Softbank. Rappi was last valued at $1B and provides last mile delivery services in Latin America.

Glovo Raises €150M Series D. Glovo provides on-demand delivery services in EMEA, Latin America, and Africa.

Blackbuck Raises $150M Series D from Accel and Goldman. Blackbud will use the new funds to further its ambitions to digitize freight operations in India.

FreightHub Raises $30M Series B. The Berlin-based international forwarder now counts Maersk Growth as one of it’s investors.

Bond Mobility Raises $20M from Denso. Bond operates Smide free-floating ebikes in Switzerland. Denso invested in-part due to concerns that car sales will fall in the coming years due to shifting mobility consumption behaviors.

Pana raises $10M Series A. Pana offers corporate travel software. Bessemer led the round.

Specright Raises $8.8M Led by PG VC. Specright enables customers to control critical supply chain specifications such as packaging, products, and raw materials.

TransitScreen Raises $3M from Timia Capital. TransitScreen provides real-time transportation information software.

Toyota AI Ventures Raises $100M Fund II. Fund II will continue focusing on investments in AVs and robotics. Of particular interest is the role autonomous technologies will play in the unbundling of vehicles.

Toyota Purchases Stake in Fukuta. In a bid to be a leading systems supplier in the EV-era, Toyota purchased a stake in Fukuta, a current Tesla supplier.

Wisetech Acquires Xware. Xware’s secure, interoperable messaging solution links organizations to their suppliers and partners, allowing them to safely share information.

Company Building 🛠️

Writing Emails with Military Precision. Because a clear, concise email is always appreciated.

Connecting OKRs To Your Daily Routine. An eight-step process for connecting OKR tasks into your calendar and ensuring they get done, plus a shared spreadsheet to help you do it.

Looking for Followership in Hiring. If the team doesn’t line up behind a leader, it is extremely hard for them to be effective.

Who's Hiring? 👩‍💻

Ops Specialist at Stord in Atlanta, GA.

Dev Ops Engineer at SVT Robotics in Any Location (Remote).

Software Engineer at Workhound in Des Moines, IA.

Check out other jobs at Dynamo portfolio companies.

❤️ We would love your support. Please forward to friends or share on Twitter or LinkedIn.
🗞️ If you were forwarded this and found it interesting or helpful, please sign up.
🎙 Check out Dynamo's podcast series, The Future of Supply Chain.