Dynamo Dispatch (06/24/19)

Issue 69 | WorkHound, Arrive Logistics, Humanising Autonomy

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 💭

It’s officially summer but don’t let that fool you, by our count, we near $300M+ of venture financing events announced. Dynamo-backed founder, Max Farrell was on The Future of Supply Chain to discuss WorkHound’s latest raise and how the team is working to improve employee retention in the industry.

While there is a macroeconomic overhang as a result of a prolonged Sino-US trade dispute, geopolitical concerns, and signs of softened freight demand, we are excited to spend time with great founders and continue to do what we’re entrusted to do. By the way, have you checked out Founders Camp? We can help you ramp your sales pipeline and gain valuable knowledge around building and scaling. Best part? It’s free of charge - no program fee or equity. A big thank you to our headline sponsors, Chick-fil-a, Covenant Transportation, Schneider National, and FreightWaves. Reach out if you have any questions!

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Supply Chain 📦

📊 Uber Freight’s Facility Insights Report. It turns out that late night pick ups are the highest rated experience followed by daytime drops; one star makes a huge difference in Uber Freight if you’re a shipper; New Mexico has the best rated facilities, Connecticut, the worst; beverage facilities have the best industry ratings; drivers value fast loading facilities above all.

🌟 Shopify Announces Fulfillment Network. Shopify announced an effort to leverage the assets of it’s 3PL partners with it’s own software. The most obvious value Shopify fulfillment brings is in/around network optimization that helps identify the optimal placement of inventory to solve for 2 day shipping in a cost efficient manner. Less obvious/appreciated value is in the unified experience around order management, inventory management, pick/pack, labeling, and shipping.

Freight Markets Showing Signs of Weakness. Analysts across the board are revising truck load forecasts down and see prolonged weakness into 2020 driven by soft economic conditions causing lower demand and excess capacity driving weak spot market performance. 2020 estimates, on average were reduced by 7%. By the way, Trucks Moved Majority of US Trans-border in March.

Consumers Can Now Use Dollar General For FedEx Pick/Drop. The program will begin with 1,500 locations and scale to 8,000 by the end of 2020 and provide parcel services to rural populations. 90%+ of Americans will live within 5 miles of a FedEx hold as a result of the partnership. If the Kohl’s/Amazon alliance is any indication, all parties will benefit  from easier pick up/returns and increased brick/mortar sales.

🌟📊 Zebra Warehousing Vision Study 2019. The on-demand economy is driving expansion of warehouse facilities, higher volumes and a need to optimize for speed of delivery to the end customer. Pressuring this vision: 80% believe implementation is key; 54% plan to use best-of-breed WMS; 79% agree tech transformation in warehousing will make hiring easier; and 73% see humans and machines as the future of warehousing. Speaking of Automation, 90% of Retailers Plan to Have Robots Deployed By the End of 2020 and Companies Taking to RaaS Over Robot Purchases.

Bowery Capital on the Restaurant Delivery Ops Software Stack. Interesting to see deliveries and on-demand force maturation and expansion of the restaurant software stack: POS/delivery management system integrations, fleet management, and customer CRMs. Related, Restaurants Strong-Arming Delivery Companies.

Mobility 🚗

Baidu Apollo Lite Achieves L4. The vision-based framework leverages multiple cameras to achieve L4 operations but are NOT autonomous by any means. L4 means the cars still require human oversight, albeit limited, under select conditions as defined by the SAE.

🌟 Researchers Develop Technique to See Around Corners. At CVRT2019, researchers revealed research that uses special light sources and sensors to detect unseen objects (won best paper). Also, Argo AI is giving researchers free access to HD maps to spur research in perception and forecasting, such as identifying and tracking objects on the road, and predicting where those objects will move seconds into the future.

VW Building Proprietary OS. By 2025, all new VW vehicles will use the in-development, vw.os and VW Automotive Cloud as the automaker continues to double/triple down into developing meaningful digital competencies (it only develops 10% of software today).

📊 Self Driving vs ADAS - What’s the Difference?. It turns out that in the latest Insurance Institute for Highway Safety survey, a healthy proportion of the 2,000 respondents don’t know the difference. We might chalk it up to poor marketing and a lack of common sense. Don’t blame the pace of technology development because these are hard problems and the fact we have things like automated cruise control, lane keeping systems, blind spot detection et al is impressive and has improved safety.

Electric Aircraft Coming to Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard. Israel-based Eviation Aircraft will pilot electric aircraft for short flights operated by Pilot Air. It’s a no brainer to see electric aircraft on short lines between cities like Boston and NYC and nearby summer weekend destinations.

Electric Charging Alliances a Necessity to Scale. In the last few weeks, many charging network operators have inked partnerships that allow their customers to use each other’s network of vehicle charging stations. Given the initial costs and on-going maintenance efforts, this type of arrangement is a big win for consumer, manufacturers, and network operators. Did you hear about the Latest Update Lets Tesla Model 3 Charge 20% Faster On Supercharger v3?

Google Maps Upgrade to Help Navigate Natural Disasters. In a world with increased occurrences and severity of storms, tornados, etc, this feature can be really useful. Case-in-point, my wife and I were driving to Asheville, NC a few years ago and go stuck along the Hiwassee River in the middle of a bad storm that triggered mudslides. It would have been awesome to navigate around it!

eScooters are Coming to New York But Not NYC. Apparently legislators are not yet allowing scooters in NYC due to concerns around “congestion.” Let’s hope that pilot in Queens kicks off sooner vs later… scooters can help reduce congestion by shifting trips away from cars to a more suitable modal.

Strategic Developments, Fundraises, M&A 💸

WorkHound Raises $1.5M led by Right Side Capital. The raise will help WorkHound ramp product investments, scale in trucking, warehousing, and expand to adjacent markets including healthcare.

Wolt Raises $130M from ICONIQ. Wolt provide food delivery in small European cities often overlooked by Uber Eats, Deliveroo.

Bounce Raises $72M to Scale Scooter Rentals in India. B Capital and Falcon Edge Capital led the round.

Swvl Raises $42M from Vostok Ventures and BECO Capital. Swvl connects commuters to private bus services that operate on fixed bus lines. It also has a partnership with Ford that helps it’s independent bus operators use the Transit as the bus of choice.

Arrive Logistics Raises $25M Series B. Lead Edge Capital led the Series B (after leading the Series A) which should help the company grow gross revenues to $600M in 2019 (up from $300M in 2018) and importantly, invest in proprietary technologies.

Max Announces $7M Round. The round will help the company expand it’s motorcyle-taxi offering across West Africa as well as pilot electric fleets and tuk tuks.

Humanising Autonomy Closes $5.3M Round. HA’s offers a set of machine learning modules trained to identify different pedestrian behaviors — is this person about to step into the street? Are they paying attention? Have they made eye contact with the driver? Are they on the phone?

Whitebox Clinches $5M Round. TDF Ventures led the Series in the eCommerce automation and fulfillment company.

SafeAI Raises $5M led by Autotech Ventures. SafeAI builds autonomous systems for mining and construction vehicles.

Modal (fka Drive Motors) Raises $5M. The software allows auto dealers and brands to deliver digital transactions inside their existing websites and showrooms.

Amazon, GECAS, Boeing Strike Deal for 15 Airfreighters. Amazon will lease 15 Boeing 737 freighters from GE Capital Aviation Services as it looks to scale Amazon Air.

Thomas H. Lee Partners Acquires Autostore. The PE firm continues it’s spree in/around warehouse automation with the acquisition of Autostore, a provider of high density automated storage/retrieval systems.

Velodyne Exploring IPO. The company has hired bankers to explore a public sale of shares prior to year end at a valuation above $1.8B. It would mark the first major IPO from the AV era.

Waymo Partners with Renault and Nissan Outside US. The robotaxi service will launch in France and Japan, respectively.

Company Building 🛠️

The Master Network Effects List from NFX. The living list is at 13 and a great reference especially for business model generation and evolution. Also, Lightspeed Ventures on Product Innovation vs Network Effects.

What Angellist Data Says About Power Laws in VC. A data-driven deep dive into venture capital portfolio construction. If you’re lost as to what an investor means by “venture scale” or why a “3x opportunity isn’t a fit” you can now understand.

State of SaaS Valuations. Multiple expansion can be great for best-of-breed companies as investors understand the businesses at a deeper level and management teams are being more transparent around key metrics.

Trusted Brands. From USV’s latest CEO summit on building trusted brands. While it might seem this is more relevant to B2C companies, it holds a lot of value and relevance in enterprise startups as well.

Who's Hiring? 👩‍💻

Account Executive at WorkHound in Chattanooga, TN.

Mechatronics Engineer at Gatik AI in San Francisco, CA.

Software Engineer at Tenderd in Dubai, UAE.

Check out other jobs at Dynamo portfolio companies.

❤️ We would love your support. Please forward to friends or share on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Apply to Founders Camp 2019.

🗞️ 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.