Dynamo Dispatch (08/12/19)

Issue 73 | Scale AI, Cloudleaf, Teralytics

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

❤️ We would love your support. Please forward to friends and share on social media.⛺ 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.

Weekly Commentary 💭

We are super excited by the startups that have applied to Founders Camp so far. Remember to get your application in by August 15th at 12 AM PT! 

Another big shout out to our headline sponsors Chick-fil-a, Covenant Transportation, Schneider National, and FreightWaves as well as our local sponsors EPB, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, and Market Street Partners.

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 📦

MercuryGate Adds Uber Freight Pricing and Capacity. “This play allows Uber Freight to piggyback on MercuryGate’s network of shippers, and, more importantly, decouple freight volume growth from manual human effort (i.e., salespeople). By giving MercuryGate users access to on-demand capacity and real-time rates, Uber Freight is dramatically reducing the friction involved in joining its network.”

Loadsmart and Starsky Complete First Autonomous Truck Dispatch. In Grand Prarie, TX, Loadsmart digitally priced, tendered and booked the shipment for raw corn. Dynamo portfolio company, Starsky Robotics had a self-driving truck pick up and deliver the shipment to the customer. Joining the fray in the Lone Star State, Kodiak Robotics Launches Services in Texas and in San Francisco Postmates Close to Piloting Sidewalk Robots.

FedEx Ground Terminates Relationship with Amazon. Just two months after terminating a major air freight agreement, FedEx continues to distance itself from Amazon. It’s safe to assume that UPS will benefit from some of the ground business with Amazon revenues nearing a 10% threshold (triggering certain disclosure requirements). Elsewhere in LTL-land, AuptiX Rebrands as Flock Freight.

📊project44 on the Delivery Economy. project44 blind surveyed 750 consumers and 500 marketing executives to understand changing expectations of delivery and the customer experience and to examine how companies are adapting to these evolving expectations. Some interesting takeaways: 1) 52% of consumers cite free or discounted shipping as one of the most important factors in their purchase experience, the same weight given to the price of the product,  2) 74% of consumers say that when a package isn’t delivered when expected, it hurts their impression of the company, 3) 94% of people who make purchases for their company said they expect the same level of focus on customer satisfaction as when they’re making personal purchases. Also, project44 Bags Amazon and Walmart.

🌟New Financing Options Coming to Supply Chain. “Supply chain finance is not a new concept, but what has changed is the rise of platforms that make capital available more easily and can be directly linked to supply chain data, such as the location and condition of in-transit goods, through systems integrations.”

Air Freight Looking to Take Share from Ocean.  The thinking about supply chain is becoming more sophisticated and many factors can be taken into account when determining the best method of transport. It turns out that a variety of factors including cost vs service levels, tariffs, and inventory/distribution optimization can drive a modal shift between ocean and air into the new year.

Mobility 🚗

Germany Constructing “Car-free” Autobahn. The 62-mile bicycle trail will connect 10 German cities, including Duisburg, Bochum, and Hamm, as well as four universities. It has been built to help minimize car pollution and is projected to get 50,000 cars off the road every day.

Michigan Mobility Institute and Wayne State Launch Center for Advanced Mobility. The center will launch new programs focused on AVs, EVs, smart cities, and more. It’s believed to be the world’s first advanced and holistic mobility curriculum. Detroit continues its legacy in the automotive sector as a key source of talent and manufacturing in the era of AVs. See how AR Helps Mechanics Hone Skills.

India to Propose New Rules for Ride-Hailing Companies. The new rules will be an amendment to the Motor Vehicles Bill. The government will publish the rules after meeting all stakeholders and include guidelines around the types of allowed vehicles, surge pricing, and safety of women passengers. In the US, The Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation was Officially Disbanded after not meeting for over 2 years.

🌟Continental is Betting on an Electric Future. The fourth-largest auto supplier is cutting its investment in ICEs, to better focus on the electric powertrain and what it dubs the future of automotive. The largest shift will be in Europe The biggest shift is expected in Europe due to strict regulations around emissions --  the share of gasoline and diesel engines is expected to fall to 42% by 2030, compared with 59% in the U.S. and 50% in China. Speaking of EVs, GM Partners with EV Connect for Real-Time Charge Data and How Europe’s Battery Leadership Can Fix the Metals Supply Chain.

Optimus Ride Shuttles Launch in Brooklyn. The MIT-spin out is operating six shuttles in a one-mile area to shuttle passengers between Dock 72 and the Gates of the Yard. The shuttles operate at 10-15 miles and will also begin pilots in California and Virginia. In China, EHang is Planning Autonomous Air Taxis in Guangzhou.

Uber and Lyft Suggest Cheap Rides Coming to An End. On their respective earnings calls this week, Uber and Lyft noted that they will ease in discounts and incentives to get riders on their platforms. Wall Street is looking for some signs that cash flows are stabilizing whereby Lyft noted 2018 as the big year of investment while Uber stated that 2019 will be the peak and expects cash outflows to be significantly lower in 2020.

Fundraises, M&A, Talent 💸

Scale AI Raises $100M Series C for Annotation Services. The company is building software to annotate images for training artificial intelligence for robots, self-driving cars, and drones. It is also working on natural language processing. Founders Fund led the round with participation from Accel, Coatue Management, Index Ventures, Spark Capital, and Thrive Capital and several angels.

Cloudleaf Raises $26M Led by Intel Capital and WRVI Capital. The supply chain tracking startup also raised from BluePointe Ventures, Bold Capital Partners, Mahindra Partners and Tandem Capital.

Teralytics Raises $17.5M for Mobility Data Prediction. Robert Bosch Venture Capital led the round together with Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures, innogy Ventures, LBBW Venture Capital, Liil Ventures, Atomico and Lakestar.

XOi Raises $11M Series C. XOi provides field services communication tools. The round was led by PeakSpan Capital with participation from Grotech Ventures, Vocap Investment Partners, and Nashville Capital Network

Romeo Systems Raises $4M for EV Power Systems. HG Ventures led the round.

Voxel51 Raises $2M Seed. Voxel51 process video and labels it, not just with simple image recognition but with an understanding of motions and objects over time. eLab Ventures led the round.

AllSome Fulfillment Closes $1.9M Seed By East Ventures. AllSome provides supplier sourcing, offshore quality assurance, secured storage, pick and pack, door-to-door delivery, and parcel tracking. 

Nike Acquires Celect for Undisclosed Sum. Celect is expected to apply it’s demand forecasting technology to help Nike ramp its D2C ambitions.

Company Building 🛠️

Burn Budgets. Jason Lemkin suggests more founders create a burn budget for the entire company to help manage cash outflows throughout the year. It gets everyone on the same page, pulling as a team, managing burn through the ups/downs.

The Call to Make Before Moving Your Company. “If you must choose a long term headquarters for your startup, call an executive recruiter who focuses in that city.”

For Top Venture Capital Firms, Success Breeds Success. Yale researchers have complied data that suggests that past performance might be the best predictor of future performance due to the vagaries of VC. Check out, VersionOne VC’s Discussion on Portfolio Return Multiples.

Decisions-Making Frameworks and Exercises that Help One Make Hard Decisions. “The exercise allows everyone on the team to put their fears, hopes and social anxieties into the decision-making process, and see them taken seriously as important factors.”

Who's Hiring? 👩‍💻

Data Analyst at Skupos in Denver, CO.
Frontend Engineer at Mobikit in Columbus, OH.
Supplier Relations Manager at Stord in Atlanta, GA.

Check out other jobs at Dynamo portfolio companies.

❤️ We would love your support. Please forward to friends and share on social media.
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.