Dynamo Dispatch (05/20/19)

Issue 65 | Quadric, Ghost, Deliveroo

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 💭

Well it looks like we are officially in a trade war with China raising tarrifs on $60B of consumer goods in retaliation for the US increasing duties on $200B worth of products. Walmart noted higher prices, trade groups believe that electronics supply chains will be hit badly, and the sector traded off anywhere from 2-4%.

Ultimately, the biggest loser in this back/forth battle won’t be China, it will be us as the US consumer. We will have to face higher prices, longer lead times, and a softer economy. It might be that we seed some great startups in the depths of this trade tension but the more protracted this is, the longer and windier our journey to a steady state.

By the way, did you listen to this past week’s Future of Supply Chain: Origins podcast featuring Sean Henry of Stord? If not, check it out -- a casual and candid conversation around hiring in a scale-up environment.

We Are Dynamo,
Santosh 💥

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Supply Chain 📦

Call for Infrastructure Investments at US Chamber of Commerce Global Supply Chain Conference. Companies stood together and pressed the government to invest in basic and foundational infrastructure to power the next generation of supply chain and mobility.

Expedited Spot Markets Seeing Soft Demand. Expedited freight providers are seeing a soft market as there’s ample capacity in the truckload market. Interesting to note that the market tends to be ⅓ Class 8 tractors; ⅓ box trucks; and ⅓ sprinter.

🌟 Amazon Rolling Out Automation for Boxing Merchandise. The CartonWrap from Italian firm CMC, packs 600-700 boxes/hr, or 4-5x a human. The machines require one person to load customer orders, another to stock cardboard and glue and a technician to fix jams. Related, Amazon is Paying Employees to Begin Parcel Delivery Operations. Also, Amazon Launches Click and Collect Partnership in Europe.

📊 Tracking DC Metrics in the Digital Era. The 16th annual survey covered more than just eCommerce-related providers. Results show that 1) warehouse utilization; 2) pick accuracy; 3) peak utilization are the three most tracked metrics. Interesting to note that only 3.5% use cloud WMS (39% report WMS usage, overall) and Excel maintains its popularity with 14.4% of respondents using it. Looking ahead at areas of investment, carousels, AS/RS, and conveyors are the three most popular for materials handling.

Chick-fil-A Tests Restaurant-Run Delivery. Alongside its partnership with DoorDash, the chain is testing a scheme with it’s own branded car, app, and restaurant employee making the delivery.

Einride Begins Deliveries in Sweden. The cabless, electric, autonomous truck began deliveries on public roads on behalf of DB Schenker.

Charter Rates Increasing for Large Ships. Chartering rates (rates that ship owners or lessors charge those chartering or leasing the ship) are up for larger vessels versus smaller ones. The consensus believes that scrubber installations ahead of IMO 2020 is driving this increase as hundreds of ships are removed from service for retrofits.

Plug and Play Launches Program in Bentonville, AR with Walmart, JB Hunt, and Tyson. Focal areas include supply chain optimization, blockchain, last-mile delivery, warehouse automation, IoT sensors, predictive analytics, machine learning and more. There will be 2 classes of 10 companies each year.

Mobility 🚗

State Spending on New Roads vs Maintenance is an Issue. “The U.S. would need to spend $231 billion per year, for six years, to keep existing roadways in acceptable condition.” That’s roughly 2x the highway capex across every level of government in 2015 of $105.4B.

🌟 History is Repeating Itself with P2P Car Sharing Startups. It turns out that incumbent car rental companies and tax-hungry governments aren’t a big fan of Turo and similar P2P car sharing companies. The industry evolution is worth watching because the future business models of AV might actually be more rooted in the car rental and P2P car sharing business than ridesharing.

Uber Movement Now Offers Speed Data. The Movements app was launched in 2017 to help public leaders make civil engineering decisions. Now city leaders in 5 cities can access anonymized data across street and hourly segments to inform decision making around the movement of people (and freight). Uber also expands PIN Feature to Select Airports to Reduce Wait Times.

🎧 Merge Now Podcast: Dr. Missy Cummings on MIT Autopilot Study. The second episode from The Drive’s new podcast series explores the MIT study’s findings, it’s questionable methodologies, and highlights other work related to the space.

Citi Bike Usage Up, Trips Across East River Down. The latest data shows that ridership was up almost every month in 2018 relative to 2017 with annual numbers up 7.8%. The jump came despite Citi Bike limiting coverage, facing a two month long repair issue, and a rainer-than-normal year.  Also on the micromobility front, Germany Greenlights Electric Kick Scooters.

Yalla Bus is Mapping Beirut’s Bus Routes and Stops.  A group of college students spent two years taking schedules by hand and using GPS to plot routes and location of the city’s informal bus system. Now, their maps help link people to affordable and timely mobility services. Speaking of cities, The Evolution of the NYC Street Grid System.

BMW, VW, Mercedes, Ford Investing In Fast Chargers in Europe. The £34M investment will see 400 ultra-fast chargers built out in the next year under the Ionity brand. By the way, the Rivian Camper is Unveiled and it’s 🤩.

Strategic Developments, Fundraises, M&A 💸

Deliveroo Raises $575M from Amazon. Funds will be used “to expand its UK engineering team, expand its delivery reach, and continue to develop new products such as its delivery-only kitchens. Deliveroo currently operates in 500 towns and cities across 14 countries and territories.”

Grofers Raises $200M from Softbank. Grofers works with 5,000+ grocers in India to offer grocery delivery.

Zipline Raises $190M. The round values the drone delivery company at $1.2B. Funds will be used to expand into the US with an initial launch in North Carolina.

Rimac Mobility Raises $90M from Hyundai. The investment was also accompanied by a commercial agreement between the startup and the automaker.

Xometry Raises $50M Series D. Greenspring Associates led the round in the on-demand parts marketplace.

Ghost Raises $32M Series C. Founders Fund led the round in the AV retrofit kit company.

Locus Raises $22M Series B led by Falcon Edge Capital and Tiger Global. Locus’ automation platform helps shippers optimize their route planning, track orders, and access analytics.

Quadric Raises $15M from Denso. Quadric develops a custom-designed chip and software suite for autonomous systems and associated edge computing.

E2Open Acquires Amber Road for $425M. “E2open has now assembled four pieces of the supply chain management puzzle: domestic transportation management, international transportation management, freight visibility, and trade compliance. If the company can successfully integrate the Cloud TMS with the Amber Road global TMS, it also might help the company bridge a software divide that few providers can tackle with proficiency, the management of international and domestic freight modes within a single workflow.”

Clutter Acquires Omni’s Storage Business. Omni believes that they are able to scale the supply side of their business without the need for the legacy storage business. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Company Building 🛠️

Thoughts On Testimonial Driven Development. A framework to help teams build products that address problems and uphold a best-in-class customer experience.

Making Your First Marketing Hire. If your consumer hardware product is launching in a month, you needed a marketer yesterday. If you have a sales-driven enterprise startup, then take the time to lay that go-to-market foundation first before hiring anyone.

Advice for Repeat Founders. An enviable position to be in but one that comes with its own set of considerations- keeping burn low, having a high bar for P/M fit, optimizing for investor fit, not dollars, and failing fast.

Who's Hiring? 👩‍💻

DevOps Engineer at SVT Robotics in Any Location (Remote).

ML Engineer at Sennder in Berlin, Germany.

Senior Designer at Stord in Atlanta, GA.

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.