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 💭
Happy 4th of July from your friends at Dynamo!
We will be off this coming week — if you haven’t already, check out the latest episode of the Future of Supply Chain podcast.
Have a great long weekend.
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Supply Chain 📦
Starsky Robotics Completes Unmanned Haul. The Dynamo portfolio company completed the 9.4 mile run on the Florida Turnpike on 6/16 where the truck navigated a rest area, merged, and changed lanes with an average speed of 55 mph. In Starsky’s offices, a teleoperator was monitoring the vehicle. BTW, Verizon Connect says MA, RI, NY are safest states for commercial drivers.
A Look at the Punjabi/American Highway. An interesting piece profiling the thousands of Sikh drivers that are increasingly a common sight in truck cabs. I’ve heard of the tasty, no-frills Indian restaurants in the west that have been pioneered and managed by Sikh truck drivers and their families.
Global WMS Market To Reach $5B by 2025. E-commerce explosion will drive 14% growth in WMS spend and create 57,000 new warehouses globally (concentrated in Asia) by 2025.
🌟Amazon Logistics is Ramping Faster Than Expected. Amazon handled 30% of it’s last mile shipments in 2018 and in March and April of 2019, a low period, handled as much as 45% of its own shipments. ICYMI, Rite Aid Partners with Amazon to Launch “Counter”.
Maersk Targeting 50%+ Earnings From Inland Logistics. CEO, Soren Skou said that the Danish shipping giant hopes to purchase warehouses, terminals, customs brokerages, and more to diversify its business. The company’s venture arm, Maersk Growth has been active in the last 12 months investing in a variety of companies including New York-based, digital brokerage, Loadsmart. Also, Maersk Trialing “No Roll” Service.
Convoy Launches Automatic Reloads. The Automatic Reloads features allows truckers can book a "bundle" of jobs all at once to prevent having to drive empty. As a note, 20%+ of truck miles driven are dead head (with an empty trailer).
DoorDash is the Leader in US Food Delivery. While Grubhub, the long-time leader is still growing (did $1.5B in gross food sales +21% y/y) it was dethroned by DoorDash that’s flush with VC and is seeing a steady increase in market share of US food deliveries (~30% on par with Grubhub).
Lanehub Incentivizes Capacity Sharing. Shippers can earn a “benefit sharing credit” when they help their contract carriers connect with other shippers who need capacity to fill imbalances in the carriers’ networks.
Ford Drawing Business Model Parallels Between Airlines and AVs. Autonomous vehicles, similar to planes are a business focused on high utilization. With high capex, sophisticated operations, and on-going maintenance, there is plenty for autos to learn from air.
🌟Why US Cities Aren’t Using More Electric Buses. A variety of challenges plague adoption: current range and battery capacity; necessary investment in charging infrastructure/fleet management; organizational challenges related to rallying key decision makers.
🎧 Merge Now: Brian Salesky on the Evolution of Autonomy. I’m enjoying the Merge Now series and one cannot ignore an episode with Salesky, one of the OGs from the CMU Tartan Racing team that won the DARPA challenge. He covers sensors, data collection, L4 systems, and more.
Toyota Joins Baidu’s Apollo Self-Driving Platform. As governments prolong trade disputes and disagreements, OEMs realize that a path to AV will be more regionalized. The Apollo platform appears to be the preeminent AV effort in China.
Argo AI and Carnegie Mellon Partner On AV Research Center. Argo AI, founded by Brian Salesky is collaborating with his alma mater on a $15M facility to “pursue advanced research projects to help overcome hurdles to enabling self-driving vehicles to operate in a wide variety of real-world conditions, such as winter weather or construction zones.”
Tesla Investing in Battery R&D. In a bid to weaken reliance on Panasonic, Tesla is ramping efforts to design and develop Li-Ion batteries at high volumes. Last year, it was reported that a big issue in scaling Model 3 production was Panasonic’s ability to scale production. Related, Faraday Future Laying Off Employees.
Sidewalk Labs Unveils Quayside Proposal. “In the view of Sidewalk Labs, digital technology is never the end goal, but rather a tool that empowers people to improve quality of life.” This is worth watching as it might be a model environment for promoting AVs, micromobility, and inclusiveness.
Strategic Developments, Fundraises, M&A 💸
Booster Fuels Closes $46M Series C. Invus Opportunities led the round in the fuel delivery service.
Tundra Raises $12M from Redpoint. Tundra operates a no-fee, B2B wholesale marketplace.
Orderful Raises $10M Series A. a16z led the round in the supply chain API startup.
Skubana Raises $5.4M. The eCommerce logistics startup raised money from Defy Ventures.
Car IQ Raises $5M for Vehicle Payment Technology. The round included Avanta Ventures, Citi Ventures, Plug and Play and AVG's Spike Ventures.
Temasek Invests in Li & Fung Logistics. The $300M investment gives Temasek a 21.7% stake and puts L&F Logistics’ IPO on hold.
Apple Acquires Drive.ai. The venture-backed startup abruptly shut down with Apple hiring key designers and engineers and buying the company’s remaining assets.
Uber Buys Mighty AI. It appears that Uber has bought the computer vision labeling company - “a good outcome for Mighty AI.”
Traton Completes IPO. During the roadshow, management was met with skepticism regarding the targeted price range of €33-€27. Ultimately, the stock opened at €27 but traded lower. The 10% float of the old VW Truck and Bus unit includes VW Trucks, MAN, and Scania.
Ford Laying Off 20% of European Staff. As Jim Hackett, executes on his $11B restructuring plan, it’s Europe interests will see 6 plants close and 12k workers laid off as it realigns to an electric and autonomous future.
Company Building 🛠️
🌟 SaaS Funding Napkin 2019. The annual fundraising benchmarking report from Point Nine Capital. It looks like round sizes and valuations are going up for companies with strong teams, big markets, and strong traction. At Series A firms are looking for ARR in the range of $1M - $1.5M (in our opinion, closer to $2M, the stronger the raise) with 300% annual growth rates.
Tactics to Growth Marketplace Supply. We’ve noticed that many B2B businesses that look like marketplaces are often better described as workflow or aggregator business. That said, there are similar dynamics and some of these tactics can be helpful (run direct sales; add entry points for value prop; nail the core value prop).
Why VCs Want to See Financial Models. It has nothing to do with the projections themselves but how one thinks about the projections and the operational levers driving them.
Who's Hiring? 👩💻
Lead Electrical Engineer at Seeva Technologies in Seattle, WA.
Software Engineering - System Validation at Starsky Robotics in San Francisco, CA.