Dynamo Dispatch (05/13/19)

Issue 64 | Uber IPO, Flexe, Heetch

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

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🎙 Check out Dynamo's podcast series, The Future of Supply Chain.

Weekly Commentary 💭

As we work to improve, we have iterated our blog, Tradewinds to focus more on sharing our thinking around supply chain and mobility. Company building content will be shared via our personal blogs. Our out-going marketing intern, Kenny has done a great job reorganizing and cleaning up our legacy content. He finished his internship researching, learning, and writing about the maritime industry. Check out his latest piece on maritime shipping and the environment.

We Are Dynamo,
Santosh 💥

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

Supply Chain 📦

🌟 KeepTruckin’s Plan to Own End-to-End Trucking Technology. KeepTruckin wants to build an integrated fleet management experience on the back of a ELD installed base that boasts 50k+ carriers as customers. KeepTruckin plans to roll out an intelligent load matching service (previously announced); trailer tracking; and in-cab coaching. Related, Andrew Clarke (former CFO of CH Robinson) Encourages Brokers to Adopt Integrated Freight Management Experience.

📊 Gartner: Blockchain Pilots Struggling. “Most have remained pilot projects due to a combination of technology immaturity, lack of standards, overly ambitious scope and a misunderstanding of how blockchain could, or should, actually help the supply chain. Inevitably, this is causing the market to experience blockchain fatigue.” See the World Economic Forum’s Inclusive Deployment of Blockchain for Supply Chains to design a framework to guide decision-making towards inclusivity, interoperability, and integrity.

FreightWaves Launches SONAR 4.0. Noteworthy new features include: weather overlays; DoT Camera Feeds; Twitter firehose integration; shipper wait times by vertical; and market volatility monitor for brokers. I’m especially intrigued by the market volatility monitor that helps brokers capitalize on misalignments between supply/demand.

Absolut Ramping Use of Demand Planning AI. To maintain lower working capital, improve purchasing, and expand margins in the face of varying global tastes, Absolut has adopted demand planning software that departs from age-old demand planning processes. Also, Nestle Switches Delivery Model for Frozen Foods from direct to stores to a warehouse model using an existing network of cold facilities. ICYMI, Adidas Increases Air Freight Spending to make up for supply chain shortages. Plus, check out The Future of Supply Chain Episode 18 with UnionCrate.

Reimagining Packaging. “Every category that was designed to sit on a shelf is going to get reimagined.” I think there is ample opportunity in the face of regulation and a call for improved utilization to rethink materials inputs, packaging ergonomics, and associated recycling efforts. It’s remarkable how much cardboard the average household on my block has to manage each week due to eCommerce.

Meet Ford’s Survival Bot. The AMR was developed entirely in-house and operates at a body plant in Valencia, Spain, delivering spare parts and welding material just in time and negotiating obstacles on its way.

Mobility 🚗

🌟 The Evolution of Micromobility Weights. Reilly Brennan explores the increasing curb weights of micromobility form factors. It might be that this is a tale of two markets - heavier modals for shared fleets and lighter options for owned hardware. Also, The Startups Tracking Curbside Usage and Coord on the Importance of Such Microdata.

MIT Study Questions Economics of Autonomous Taxis. Leveraging data and assumptions from current vehicle ownership and taxi operations, researchers believe that competing against the status quo of $0.72/mile vs $1.58-$6.01/mile for AVs will be difficult. High licensing, insurance, cleaning and safety oversight costs associated with autonomous taxis combined with the low (52%) utilization rate are drivers of the relatively higher costs.

Technology to Help With Congestion Pricing. The aged approach of collecting tolls, fixed camera surveillance, and 10 year exclusive contracts can be replaced with digital payments, simple location information from our phones, and a competitive multi-provider system via a marketplace.

The Truck-Size Hole in America’s Infrastructure Plans. Yossi Sheffi argues that an upgrade of our roadways alone isn’t enough. He believes there needs to be investment in connected infrastructure for an autonomous future as well as more resilient or self-healing materials to improve durability. I tend to agree that we need to encourage the build-out of infrastructure connectivity, alternatives to asphalt, and be open to innovative financing mechanisms to support the cost. Of related interest, Sidewalk Labs Street Design Principles v1.

Preliminary Data on Solar Panels On Roads. Studies suggest that only a small fraction of the road network would actually be suitable due to poor tilt angles, lack of durability, and shade (5% coverage reduces energy production by 50%). Perhaps if the cost and durability are addressed, it could be interesting for micromobility lanes.

Electrify America Launches EV Charging App. Using the penalties paid by VW from the diesel emissions scandal, Electrify America has launched an app to make it easier to find and pay for EV charging. Also, Europe’s Multibillion Investment in Car Batteries.

Strategic Developments, Fundraises, M&A 💸

Uber IPO Underwhelms. The stock closed down 7.6% from the offering price of $45. While some might say that the market has had its fill of unprofitable companies, one cannot ignore the market volatility Uber floated in to. I think it’s more important to see how Uber’s business continues to perform, the cash flow it generates, and how it reinvests in future growth. A public float is not a one day journey but a decades-long one.

GM Cruise Raises $1.15B Led By T. Rowe Price. The new raise gives Cruise a $19B valuation and brings it’s total raised to $7.25B in the last year alone.

Gett Raises $200M at $1.5B Valuation. The round included both debt and equity financing with VW returning as an investor.

Flexe Raises $43M Series B. Activate and Tiger Global co-led the round.

Heetch Raises $38M Series B. Cathay Innovation led the round in the ride hailing platform looking to compete with Uber in Francophone countries.

Stratio Raises $3M. Stratio offers AI-based preventative vehicle maintenance.

Marvell Buys Aquantia for $452M. Aquantia allows Marvell to capture in-vehicle networking opportunities.

DHL Looking to Sell StreetScooter. The German startup was acquired by DHL in 2014, as the company wasn't able to find a proper EV that would fit its needs. StreetScooter has two plants with capacity to deliver 20k units of the WORK and WORKL models per annum. The company is still unprofitable.

Company Building 🛠️

What Do You Think?. The biggest growing experiences in my professional career have come from superiors who let me “figure it out” with little guidance. At times, it felt like I was lost but learned how to solve problems more effectively and efficiently. In turn, I’ve let a lot of the folks at Dynamo “figure it out” over the years. While in the moment, I’ve received feedback that the experience is “hard” it turns out that such opportunities can be career-additive.

The Empty Promise of Data Moats. While getting differentiated data to drive a differentiated product is important, my belief is that this advantage never lasts in perpetuity. What’s more important is to understand the importance of data to your product: what type of data supports a superior offering? Why does it lead to a better product? When does that value erode or asymptote? How can you build on the tailwind of that data advantage to develop and reinforce a long-term moat?

How to Develop Best in Class Sales Efficiency. The companies with the most efficient sales movements have high net dollar retention which begins with small initial ACVs and the ability for bottoms-up adoption. In supply chain and mobility, workflows tend to require multiple stakeholders and team members which provides an opportunity for a thoughtful product strategy and bottoms-up related expansion efforts.

Who's Hiring? 👩‍💻

Logistics Automation Project Manager at Plus One Robotics in San Antonio, TX.

Web Application Engineer at SVT Robotics in Any Location (Remote).

Lead Software Engineer - Autonomous Driving at Gatik AI in Toronto, Canada.

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.