Dynamo Dispatch (08/10/20)

Issue 117 | Weezy, Crossbeam, FleetOps

Dynamo Dispatch. Weekly update from Dynamo Ventures 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 💭

If you haven’t already, check out Episode 60 of the Future of Supply Chain where we host Craig Fuller, Co-founder and CEO of FreightWaves. We cover a lot of ground but our favorite parts were 1) the origin around the term “Freight Alley”, 2) OTVI and OTRI explanation, and 3) thoughts on the state of digital freight brokerage.

We Are Dynamo,

Santosh, Ted, Barry, and Jon

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

Supply Chain 📦

🌟A Perfect Opportunity for Digital Change. A trend of digitizing predictive maintenance has arisen and would help manufacturers and warehouses take a proactive approach to boosting worker productivity and cutting back on costly repairs. Similarly, in ocean logistics, Maersk CEO Sees Digitization Accelerating

Pandemic Creates Peaks and Valleys of Transportation Demand. Elevated demand caused some freight companies to increase investments in new fleets despite warnings of slowing consumer activity by the National Retail Federation. Across the industry, negative and positive indicators flashed in recent weeks, indicating more peaks and valleys are ahead turning into Q4.In final mile, Truckers are Bumping Less Docks and Ringing More Doorbells while trucking companies Increase Medium and Heavy Duty Truck Orders +98% Y/Y.

Walmart Delays Its Version of Amazon Prime, Again. Originally planned for late March or April, the launch date for Walmart+ was rescheduled for July. Now, the new date is unknown as Walmart’s US eComm presence has surged through the pandemic but only is an eighth of Amazon’s market share. Speaking of Amazon, Its Roboticists are Taking WFH Quite Literally.  

New Feature Roundup: CH Robinson Levels up Freightquote for Smaller Players, XPO Rolls Out Enhancements for XPO Connect, and Forager Launches Instant Cross-Border Pricing.

Uber Leaning on Food Logistics Over Ride HailingDelivery has turned into a staple of household spending as ride hailing suffered due to COVID-19. It will be interesting to see how Uber Eats evolves - it might be the crown jewel of the business. Freight continues to grow 25%+ with losses narrowing as the unit looks for outside investment. Related, Dynamo portfolio company, Skupos Announces Compatibility with 70% of Convenience Store Market as DoorDash Opens Online C-Stores

M&A Radar: Japan Post Looking to Sell Tollwhile PE Circles Kansas City Southern Railroad. The Toll unit has been an underperformer for Japan Post and could garner interest from PE (as a platform for tuck in) or strategic (acquire share and talent in AsiaPac). On land, Class 1 railroad, Kansas City Southern could follow the fate of Genesee & Wyoming as rail activity appears to be bottoming and due for a recovery in 2H 2020. It’s worth noting that KCS has exposure to US/Mexico trade that could be interesting if firms start to near-shore more manufacturing.

Demand Flood Drives USPS Losses. A 3.2% rise in revenues couldn’t outshine the massive loss for the USPS as increased labor costs contributed to a $2.2B loss for the quarter. The agency “does not expect its package revenue growth over the medium to long term to make up for its losses in mail service revenue caused by Covid-19.” Elsewhere, UPS Details Holiday 2020 Surcharges

Mobility 🚗

Do eScooters Need A Long-Term Lease Option?. A micromobility startup bets that eScooter enthusiasts will prefer paying by month vs paying by trip. This week across NYC and LA, Unagi enabled riders to lease scooters for $39/mo. This isn’t the first attempt at long-term scooter rentals, but maybe be successful if the durability promised by Unagi holds true. Elsewhere in micromobility, Jump Bikes are Now on the Lime App.

Consumers Hit the Brakes on Car Buying. McKinsey points to economic and public health uncertainty as underlying factors as to why intent is declining. Those who are buying are opting for used cars as “roughly one-third of U.S. consumers plan to spend less money on their next vehicle purchase compared with what they would have spent before the pandemic.” Also, COVID Might Remove 14M Cars from Roads.

Bentley’s New Motor With No Rare Earth Metal Magnets. Bentley recently joined a nine-partner study funded by the UK’s Office of Low Emission Vehicles centered on creating real-world applications. As a result, it developed a motor which is both cost effective and recyclable as it removes the need for copper windings.In India, Mahindra Seeks Investors for EV Business.

Timetable for EV Launches Remain Unknown. The pandemic coupled with other issues like automaker liquidity, changing consumer behavior, and the state of automaker supply chains are certain to delay the launches of several EV’s. Head of Automotive Advisor Services at IHS Markit indicates, “ The next four to six quarters will be critical”, but warned automakers should prepare for different market conditions globally. ICYMI, the Global EV Outlook for 2020

📊AAA: Partially Automated Systems Don’t Always Work. AAA researchers found over the course of 4k miles of real-world driving, vehicles with active driver assistance systems experienced an issue every 8 miles. It was noted vehicles had troubles maintaining lanes or coming too close to other vehicles/guardrails.

🌟Is Light Better Than Lidar?. Camera startup Light uses an array of inexpensive lenses with different focal lengths and advanced digital signal processing, effectively enabling cameras to see in 3D. Some see it as a challenger to LiDAR that only uses pulses of light to assess distances in AVs. Related, Understanding Distortion Correction Algos.

LiDARs for AVs: A Technological Arms Race. The declining cost, reliability, and universality of LiDAR could make it an attractive component in the race to L5 autonomy. But the notion of Tesla or others creating a complex neural network capable of taking on LiDAR’s effective use cases sets the scene for a race to the top. Elsewhere in AVs, Auto Chipmakers Remain Optimistic

Fundraises, M&A, Talent 💸

Weezy Raises €1M in Pre-Seed Funding Led by Heartcore Capital. Weezy is a London-based online supermarket platform for on-demand grocery delivery. The new capital will help Weezy open 15 more fulfillment centers and expand its UK operations. 

Food-X Technologies Raises $2.6M in Follow-On Capital. Food-X Technologies is an end-to-end software solution for profitable online grocery fulfillment. The new capital will help enhance its eGrocery Management Solution for retailers to scale safe food delivery and continue collaboration with Microsoft, Adaptech, Spud, and others. 

FleetOps Raises $6M in Seed Funding Co-Led by Inspired Capital and Resolute Ventures. FleepOps is a data-driven freight marketplace based in California. The fresh capital will help deploy its technology and proprietary dataset to brokerages around the globe. 

StreetLight Data Raises $15M Series D Co-Led by Macquarie Capital and Activate Capital. StreetLight Data analyzes traffic patterns to help cities improve its transportation efficiency. New capital will help them build on existing partnerships and launch programs to facilitate “a new level of travel velocity” brought on by COVID-19. 

Crossbeam Raises $25M Series B Led by Redpoint Ventures. Crossbeam is a collaborative intelligence platform helping companies build valuable partnerships. With the new funding, Crossbeam will accelerate hiring to meet its goals by year's end. 

ChargePoint Raises $127M in New Financing. ChargePoint is the World’s Largest Network of EV Charging Stations Across North America, Europe, and Australia. The new capital will help expand commercial and fleet customer offerings in North America and Europe. 

TradeGecko is Acquired By Intuit for $80M. Singapore based TradeGecko is a Saas company developing online inventory and order management software for small businesses. TradeGecko’s co-founders will join Intuit focusing on product and team integration. 

Levandowski Given 18 Month Sentence. The former Google engineer pleaded guilty in one of the biggest trade secret crimes on record. The sentence will be served once COVID-19 issues subside.

Jim Harley to Succeed Jim Hackett as Ford CEO. Hackett surprised the world last week after he abruptly resigned just three years into the role. Harley who has been COO will take the reigns as Ford seeks stability and direction at the upper ranks.

Company Building 🛠️

Independent Director Compensation. As a company scales, independent directors are an important part of governance but most Founders don’t understand their role let alone how to compensate them. 

Lessons from Rippling's COO. “Let fires burn. Your instinct as a disciplined manager is to survey the landscape and carefully deal with every issue. That is impossible at this pace. Some fires are less important than you think, and they burn themselves out anyway. 4/7.”

Inside Rounds Have Become a Sign of Strength at the Series B. Insider rounds are a double-edge sword - “easy” money but do they come at the best terms? That said, through a pandemic, securing runway matters more than terms. From our conversations later stage VCs, many had to support great businesses in their portfolio that were under undue pressure due to COVID-19.

Who's Hiring? 👩‍💻

QA Engineer at Plus One Robotics in San Antonio, TX.

SDR Manager at Zeelo in London, England.

Senior Support Engineer at Skupos in Denver, CO.

Check out other jobs at Dynamo portfolio companies.

💥 Have you seen any interesting startups recently? Introduce us.
❤️ We would love your support. Please forward to friends and share on social media.
🗞️ If you were forwarded this and found it interesting, please sign up.
🎙 Check out Dynamo's podcast series, The Future of Supply Chain.