Dynamo Dispatch (11/11/19)

Issue 84 | Ghost, Wrench, Ursa

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.🗞️ 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’re in Chicago bracing the record cold temps for FreightWaves LIVE. If you’re around, reach out - always looking to make new friends.

Also, if you know someone graduating in December and looking to learn more about startups and venture capital, send them our way! We’re looking for our next Venture Fellow.

Have a great week!

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 📦

Blackstone Focuses on Warehousing Amid eCommerce Boom. Retailers are trading higher warehouse rents closer to urban centers for shorter transit times and lower shipping costs. Blackstone and Prologis are on track to control about 10% of the U.S. logistics real estate market. The real estate is more than double what it cost 10 years prior, but higher industrial rents are still a bargain compared to what merchants would pay for brick and mortar retail space. Related, USPS Will Pilot NVIDIA AI and Edge Compute to Improve Parcel Data Processing, Amazon to Invest $40M in New Robotics Hub.

📊 Vision Technologies, Manufacturing, and Logistics. Our friends at LDV Capital dive into vision technologies and how they’ve aided burgeoning drone-based and RaaS business models. The report breaks down key drivers including widespread consumer data, revolutionary materials, robotics improvements, and digital twins.

LA Ports Automate, Truck Drivers Cheer On. At the ports of LA and Long Beach, which handle a third of the nation’s imported goods, warehouse workers are being displaced while self-guided robots improve the lives of truck drivers. “I’m for automation,” Diaz [trucker] says. “One hundred percent. One hundred percent.” Such efforts help drivers reduce detention times and spend more of their time driving and generating revenue. Related to detention, Driver Detention Time Creeps Upward. Related to maritime, CargoSphere Develops Standard Ocean Freight API.

🌟Trucking Operational Costs Up 7.7% in 2018. ATRI data shows a surge in costs (highest since 2010) driven by an increase in fuel costs, insurance premiums, and tolls. Speaking of trucking, 44% of Fleets Use In-Cab Cameras and we discuss insurance and prevention using cameras with Chad Eichelberger of Reliance Partners on this week’s episode of The Future of Supply Chain.

📊 54% of Shoppers Would Pay Local Retailers for Same-Day Delivery. Amazon is starting to lose its grip over the last mile. Along with the other results from this survey of 1,000 consumers, data shows that brick-and-mortar retailers can still draw customers away from Amazon if they can offer well-executed same-day delivery. For further input see, Walmart Appears to Be Gaining Ground Against Amazon, Amazon and the Last-Mile Delivery Wars, and Costco and Instacart Test Free One-Hour Prescription Delivery as Amazon Eyes the Space.

Maersk Tests Battery Power System in Carbon Neutrality Effort. Maersk is trialing a 600 kWh battery on one of its 249m-longships in Singapore. To clarify, this battery is not at all related to the propulsion of the ship. The battery will power the onboard electrical systems and maintain the vessel’s auxiliary generators at a more optimal load. By avoiding the need to run generators, overall fuel consumption can be reduced.

Uber Freight Continues to Grow Network, Losses Widen. Uber Freight now has 50,000 carriers on its platform, as it continues to capture the market and squeeze the competition. The unit notched negative EBITDA of $81M in Q3, but net revenue was only marginally below the $223M booked through the platform, suggesting most of the margins are still going to the truckers. 

Mobility 🚗

VW Starts Pre-Production at All-Electric Vehicle Factory in China. VW’s new factory operated in partnership with SAIC will have an output of 300K vehicles when ramped (production set to begin Q4 2020). The exigence is China’s aggressive zero-emissions mandate, which comes into effect next year. The mandate will require a greater percentage of sales to come from EVs every year. Also, Recycling Li-Ion Batteries from EVs.

📊 SAE Autonomous Vehicle Experience Survey. SAE polled nearly 1,400 participants at four SAE Demo Days. Responses noted—82% were initially enthusiastic for self-driving cars, with nearly 10% of participants reporting higher enthusiasm post-ride, 76% think a self-driving car experience is similar or superior to a human-driven experience, 92% want to have control shared between human and self-driving. Other positive sentiment was in the form of reducing fatalities, enabling the elderly and disabled, and reducing travel times. ICYMI, AAA Study Shows Pedestrian Detection Works Inconsistently.

Seattle’s Car Ownership Drops More Than Any Other Big U.S. City. Between 2010 and 2018, car ownership in Seattle dropped by 3%. The next in line was Albuquerque with a 1.9% decrease. The main driver? Seattle spends more capita than any other region on mass transit. Notably, the light-rail line that the debuted in 2009 made it significantly easier to get by without owning a car.

🌟Uber Still Using Waymo-Derived Self-Driving Technology. In a filing this week with the SEC, Uber determined that it is still infringing on the IP rights of Waymo from the high-profile trade secret theft in 2017. As part of the original settlement, Uber agreed to hire an independent software expert to audit this exact behavior. The company will now have to either completely overhaul the implicated systems or license the technology from Waymo. From the Tempe, Arizona accident to this scandal, Uber just can’t seem to get traction on the self-driving front.  

Paris Publishes New Micromobility Rules of the Road. In the coming weeks, Paris regulations will limit scooter speeds to 15mph and will restrict riders to bike lanes. Other efforts by Paris’ mayor Anne Hidalgo include creating designated parking spots and consolidating fleet permits to three operators. This marks continued cooperation of scooter companies with regulators, in stark contrast to the Ubers and Airbnbs of the world. Related, Bikesharing Data Reveal Latent Demand for Suburban Bike Infrastructure.

📊 China Auto Consumer Insights 2019. Chinese passenger car sales grew by 11% YoY from 2010 to 2018, but sales have declined since. China’s auto market isn’t what it once was, but there are still some bright spots in the industry. Luxury car sales, used car sales, and alternative powertrain sales are all outpacing U.S. growth between 4% and 7%. Innovation in autonomous, electric, and connected systems will continue to bolster new growth. Related, Toyota & BYD Form Joint Venture to Manufacture Electric Cars in China and this map of Chinese Auto Investments in the U.S.

Fundraises, M&A, Talent 💸

CloudKitchens Raises $400M from Saudi Arabia’s Sovereign-Wealth Fund. The deal is speculated to value Travis Kalanick’s ghost-kitchen startup at around $5B. Increasingly, we see cloud kitchens (or ghost or dark kitchens) playing a role in the re-write of the food value chain.

Ehang Files for $100 Million Initial Public Offering. Ehang is a maker of autonomous and remote-piloted flying passenger vehicles. The company is currently testing under the supervision of China's aviation authorities and has produced 38 passenger-grade vehicles for trials.

Ghost Locomotion Raises $63.7M from Founders Fund. Ghost Locomotion is an SF-based company that's developing a retrofit to enable privately-owned passenger vehicles to drive autonomously on highways.

Sila Nano Raises $45M from Canada's Pension Plan Investment Board. Sila Nanotechnologies is an SF-based company that claims its battery materials can improve the energy density and reach of traditional Li-ion batteries. This funding, along with a $170M round from Daimler earlier this year, brings total funding to $340M. 

Kovi Raises $30M Led by Global Founders Capital. The São Paulo-based startup rents vehicles to drivers for ride-hailing companies. It is powering the services of Uber, Didi, and Lyft through access to cars for a population that largely cannot afford to own vehicles. The company will use the funds to improve the security and UX aspects of its service while expanding to other cities. 

Wrench Raises $20M Led by Vulcan Capital. Seattle-based Wrench offers on-demand vehicle maintenance and repair service for consumers and fleets. Vulcan Capital was joined by investors including Madrona Venture Group, Tenaya Capital and Marubeni Corporation.

Ursa Space Systems Raises $15M Led by Razor’s Edge Ventures. Ithaca-based geospatial analytics services startup Ursa netted this raise joined by New York City Ventures, Paladin Capital Group, RRE Ventures, and S&P Global. “We’re seeing a number of new markets pulling for insights from satellite-based data including supply chain, logistics, and insurance,” said the company CSO. 

Octopus Raises $10.3M Led by Sinclair. Octopus Interactive is a Maryland-based provider of interactive TVs and ad experiences for Uber and Lyft. The company is now creating geofences to target ads and offering real-time analytics to advertisers.

Robocorp Raises $5.6M Led by Benchmark. Robocorp is an SF-based startup that is automating tedious manual workflows inside large organizations to bring open-source and robotics processes together. Slow Ventures and firstminute Capital also participated in the round.

Quartic.ai Raises $5M Led by WRVI Capital. Quartic is a Canada-based full-stack industrial AI and IIoT software provider. The company is enabling its customers to access Industry 4.0 benefits by providing process manufacturing users and engineers with a platform to develop solutions without a data science or coding background. 

Lori Systems Raises Series A Led by Hillhouse Capital and Crystal Stream Capital. Lori Systems is Nairobi-based on-demand trucking logistics company. “We are using the round to ramp up operations, build up our technology, and hire a best in class team…that can drive a global revolution in logistics,” Lori Systems CEO Josh Sandler said. Other participants in the round include EchoVC and Ryan Petersen. 

Metawave Raises Series A Led by DENSO. Metawave is a Palo Alto-based smart radar company developing autonomous driving and wireless solutions for the deployment of 5G cellular networks. The company is in PoC stage with several leading automakers and Tier 1 transportation providers, demonstrating its beam-forming and beam-steering radar in challenging environments.

BP Invests in City Transportation App Whim. Whim is a Helsinki-based subscription app for urban public and private transportation. The app offers users a single platform to access all available transport options in a city including taxis, buses, bikes, escooters, rental cars, and ride-hailing services. The new investment will be used to support expansion plans to Singapore and the U.S.

Company Building 🛠️

Priorities During Annual Planning. “At least one and possibly two should be must do things the existing business requires and cannot be put off. And there should be at least one big new effort that will move the business forward.”

🎧 Sales Repositioning. An operator-led discussion about the repackaging of product, materials, and the selling model as a business scales.

Tips for Exit Interviews. Exit interviews aren’t pleasant but important—treat your outgoing employee with respect and get valuable feedback to help iterate on culture, operations, hiring process, etc. 

🌟Enterprise vs Consumer. “Venture-backed enterprise tech companies have generated $884B in value since 1995; $349B from M&A and $535B from IPOs. Venture-backed consumer tech companies have generated $773B in value since 1995; $153B from M&A and $620B from IPOs. In total, there were 5,600+ venture-backed exits in enterprise tech and 3,300+ exits in consumer tech.”

Who's Hiring? 👩‍💻

Senior Backend Engineer at Verusen in Atlanta, GA.

Logistics Coordinator at Starsky Robotics in Dallas, TX.

Customer Success Lead at LEAF Logistics in New York, NY.

Check out other jobs at Dynamo portfolio companies.

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

Insurance for Truckers and Freight Brokers with Chad Eichelberger of Reliance Partners

The Future of Supply Chain

By: Santosh Sankar & Matt McHugh

In our latest episode of the Future of Supply Chain podcast, we spoke with Chad Eichelberger, President of Reliance Partners. Chad talked with us about insurance for truckers and freight brokers, the kinds of insurance a trucking company should purchase, assuming liability in supply chain operations, and technology’s role in the industry. 

Chad is one of the premier operators in the supply chain insurance industry, and he has a wealth of leadership experience and wisdom to share. He started his career in supply chain at RaceTrac Petroleum before leading the Access America team. He began his work at Access as a logistics manager and worked his way up to become president of the company before it was sold to Coyote Logistics, where he served as President of brokerage.

Next, Chad set his sights on co-founding a supply chain business: Reliance Partners, a firm that helps brokers and carriers purchase trucking insurance. Reliance focuses primarily on logistics and transportation insurance, is licensed in 48 states nationwide, and works within a number of insurance markets. 

“Everybody thinks of insurance with respect to auto liability,” Chad says, “but we also focus on physical damage, cargo work comp, general liability, logistics—it really runs the gamut.” 

Accident, Truck, Bridge, Vehicle, Transportation

Source: Pixabay

What kind of coverage should a trucking company purchase?

Chad says insurance for trucking companies should cover more than just auto liability. Typically, he says, small trucking companies that are just starting out should purchase about $1 million in coverage that includes cargo coverage, physical damage, and workers’ compensation. 

“Auto liability coverage has been increasing as of late,” he says. “Freight brokers are getting brought into these accidents, and they’re being named and accused of negligent hiring or vicarious liability where they may have exercised control over the motor carrier.” 

Chad says it’s important for trucking companies to consider insuring their cargo--not just the vehicle. Physical auto coverage takes care of any damage to the vehicle or associated equipment, while cargo coverage ensures the contents of the trailer. There is a wide range of variance when it comes to cargo coverage, with a number of different types of policies and levels of coverage a company can choose from. 

“There are exclusions galore, and some policies are extremely broad,” Chad says. “As a trucker, cargo is the central line that is going to keep a customer or lose a customer. If they have an unpaid cargo claim, they're not going to be very happy about it, because a lot of times that's out of pocket. 

“We need to make sure that we're doing our best to educate them on the pros and cons of cargo forms, because that can come back to bite you really fast.” 

Truckers, brokers should assume their own liability

Chad says Reliance sees many contracts that require freight brokers to fully indemnify and hold a shipper harmless--even to the extent of the shipper’s negligence. 

“We're not attorneys,” he says. “We can't offer legal advice to anybody, but I would never sign one of those because there's not an insurance policy out there that is designed to cover the shipper from the freight broker’s vantage point.”

Indemnifying a shipper means a freight broker must hold them harmless no matter what. That means the broker doesn’t have insurance coverage for any accidents that might occur, and the shipper doesn’t have to cover the damage. 

“More and more, we’re seeing court cases where the plaintiffs’ attorneys are attempting to pull freight brokers into these lawsuits on a number of different grounds,” he says. 

“Contracts are now a lot more one-sided than they were five or six years ago. The shipper, in effect, is able to distance themselves from the risks they were previously taking on.” 

Chad says that while there could be an argument made that freight brokers should assume at least some liability for the motor carrier, each entity should assume its own liability in the case of negligence. 

“If the shipper is at fault, then they should bear some of that liability, just as if the broker’s at fault, the broker can't go and purchase coverage for the shipper because that's not how it works,” he says. 

“Fundamentally, it just seems like they're asking the brokers to self-insure and put their business in jeopardy signing these contracts.”

Chad believes that it’s the broker’s obligation to act as an intermediary between shippers and trucking companies, doing their due diligence on the motor carrier as best they can. 

Technology’s role in supply chain insurance

While many brokerages are now tech-enabled, still others are investing heavily in technology to get up to speed with their competition. 

“The name the name of the game is loads per head, who can be the most efficient, and how technology can enable them to go out and do that,” Chad says. 

Tech also saves money on insurance costs, when leveraged effectively. For example, insurance companies have begun utilizing electronic logging devices in their underwriting. They gather accurate information about the driver’s behavior and safety compliance. More often than not, this tech protects trucking companies, as well as slashing their insurance costs in some cases.

“All we can do is educate truckers and freight brokers to the best of our ability, and let them protect themselves,” Chad says. “Cameras are a great thing. A lot of people see them as somewhat oppressive, but at the end of the day, we've seen a lot more situations where they have saved the trucking company, rather than caused harm to the trucking company.

“Technology is making inroads, and it's not going to destroy the whole market at once,” he says. 

For the full episode featuring special guest Chad Eichelberger, click here.

Dynamo Dispatch (11/04/19)

Issue 83 | Choco, Greensill, Twiga

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.🗞️ 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 💭

It was a busy week in supply chain and mobility this week with a lion share of the reported fundraising activity occurring overseas. Dynamo has invested about a third of its capital internationally with a heavy concentration in Europe. Market movements are timely as our London-based Partner, Jon riffed with Santosh on The Future of Supply Chain this week - listen to Jon’s personal story, experience with startup ecosystems, and what he looks for in founding teams.

Also, we’re looking for our next Venture Fellow. This six-month program that begins in January will give somebody an opportunity to learn about venture capital and startups. Our Fellows are do-ers and work on all facets of fund management joining an active group that has made four investments to date (with several in the hopper).

Have a great week!

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 📦

Uber Freight Announces Canada and Cross-Border Expansion. This international expansion adds to Uber Freight’s existing international presence in the Netherlands, Germany, and Poland. Canada is the United States’ second-largest trading partner, and this represents an opportunity to move a portion of the $617B worth of goods that cross the border annually. Speaking of cross-border, Forager Launches Scout: Cross-Border Freight Pricing and Booking.

🌟 Grubhub on Demand and Unit Economics in Food Delivery. In a letter to shareholders, Grubhub explained key elements of its business model and how it provides a strategic edge in the $200B market. The company noted delivery drones and robots may reduce the cost of fulfillment, but it will be a long time before the capital costs outweigh the cost of paying someone for 30-45 minutes of their time. Grubhub is currently the only profitable model operating at scale in the United States.Related, Uber Eats Hopes Drones Can Lift It to Profitability while McDonald’s UK Says Delivery Accounts for 10% of Sales.

Walmart's Last Mile Around the World. Walmart is using diversified last-mile solutions ranging from cars to bikes to drones depending on geographic differences. In Japan, the company ran a three-month pilot in partnership with Rakuten to deliver to a tourist island in the Tokyo bay using drones. The company is showcasing its agility in orchestrating its supply chains with different partners and modes as close as Canada and as far as Japan. ICYMI, Dynamo portfolio company, Gatik AI is Working with Walmart.

50% of Procurement Organizations Use Excel Spreadsheets to Store Their DataIt turns out that procurement departments are falling behind the curve relative to other supply chain functions because of incentives and focus on cost management. It turns out that investment in data and process management could help them better manage input pricings, inventory levels, and balance sheet impact.

📊 Food Supply Chain Mapped Out. It’s interesting to note that the US food supply chain is dominated by counties in Southern California (authors note data might have some bias due to drought) with transport itself occurring via truck, train, and barge. Speaking of food, Amazon Makes Grocery Delivery Free for Prime Members.

Surge Robots Alleviate Holiday Hiring Rush. Retail warehouse operations are turning to robotics to help seasonal workers cope with the expected flood of online orders. Case-in-point, Geodis is boosting robotics workforce by 75% as it approaches holiday season. Speaking of warehouses, Dynamo portfolio company,  Plus One Robotics Opens New Facility at Port San Antonio while Cushman & Wakefield Note that 75% of New Industrial Builds Are For Warehousing/Distribution.

Waymo Begins B2B Car Parts Delivery Trial. Waymo in the supply chain section? Self-driving vehicle technology company Waymo has expanded its business relationship with automotive retail company AutoNation. Building on last year’s partnership with AutoNation, this new agreement is an opportunity for Waymo to accumulate valuable testing data on repeated routes. Related, Delta Becomes First US Airline to Offer Door-To-Door Time-Critical Deliveries

Maersk Partners with Global Companies to Trial Biofuel. In partnership with FrieslandCampina, Heineken, Philips, DSM, Shell and Unilever, Maersk continues to bolster efforts to deploy carbon-neutral vessels by 2030. Spreading out R&D costs will accelerate the utilization of Biofuels as a near-term solution and foster collaboration on long-term supply chain sustainability solutions.

Mobility 🚗

Sidewalk Labs Will Move Forward with Toronto Project. Amidst public outcry, Sidewalk Labs will continue its 12-acre project in Toronto’s Quayside district. A major point of contention, the agreement between Sidewalk and the city doesn’t define what’s going to be done with the data the company collects about the residents and visitors. This project is the essence of the ongoing battle between efficient and sustainable urban communities and privacy concerns. 

Tesla May Supply Batteries and Drivetrains for Fiat-Chrysler. In the approval of Peugeot and FCA’s proposed merger, FCA’s CEO commented a large-scale electrification initiative will indeed happen. FCA sees a valuable ally in one well-versed with EV technology, Tesla.   It would not be a surprise given Tesla’s mentality about proliferating EV technology and thus adoption. Related, Electric Vehicles Now Outsell Cars with Manual Transmissions in the US.

📊Breaking Down the Daily Commute. Dynamo portfolio company led a whitepaper effort to study the opportunity in building mobility solutions for 68% of Brits who spend over 50 minutes to commute to work each day in their car. 

Drivers Killed the Most Pedestrians and Bicyclists in Almost 30 Years. Despite a 2.4% overall decrease in US roadway fatalities last year, the number of pedestrians killed increased by 3.4%. Particularly, the number of female cyclists killed shot up 29.2%. While technological distractions and intoxication are partly to blame, urban planners note there needs to be a continued focus on sidewalks, ramps, crosswalk improvements, and bike lanes. Related, It’s Getting Riskier to Walk and Bike After Dark.

🌟VW Separates Autonomous Efforts into VW Autonomy. The subsidiary is focused on Level-4 robotaxis which it plans to deploy in three continents by 2025. The first project will be an autonomous minibus and cargo transport vehicle, the ID Buzz built in partnership with VW’s commercial vehicle brand. VW other efforts include a $2.6B investment in Argo AI, a $91B commitment to EVs, and a partnership with Mobileye in Israel to launch a self-driving service. As a public company, this could be financial engineering that helps shine a light on what might be an otherwise overlooked business.  

Uber Pushes into Financial Services with Uber Money. Uber launched a new division focused on financial services that will include bank accounts for its 4M+ drivers that promise immediate payment from rides and a relaunch of its consumer-facing credit card. As a growing trend, startups are moving towards financial ecosystems to entrench customers in their platforms. Related, Can Mobility Services Ever Be Profitable?

📊 When Both Drivers Are in Error, People Blame the Human One More. Awad and colleagues constructed a series of scenarios describing ADAS-enabled cars killing pedestrians, with varying levels of driver involvement. In exploring how people appoint blame, tests concluded that people are more likely to blame the human party more despite the level of autonomy the vehicle possesses. Related, Six Cars Aced New Pedestrian Detection Tests.

Congress Drafts Initial Version of AV Bill. The hope is that this bill will provide a federal framework that can address the gaps and uncertainty as it relates to autonomy. A set of regulatory guidelines would help stakeholders deliver safe and efficient AV services.

Fundraises, M&A, Talent 💸

Greensill Capital Raises $655M Led by Softbank’s Vision Fund. Greensill is a London-based company democratizing capital by providing “supply chain finance”. The company will use the funds to focus on key acquisitions.

Elasticrun Raises $40M Led by Prosus Ventures. ElasticRun is an Indian logistics company focused on mom-and-pop stores. Prosus Ventures led, and was joined by return backers Avataar Ventures and Kalaari Capital.

Choco Raises $33.5M Led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Choco is a wholesale food delivery app for restaurants to source from suppliers. The company has yet to monetize as it continues to burn capital to build out its networks.

Green Rabbit Secures $31M Led by Guidepost Growth Equity. Green Rabbit is a New England-based provider of cold chain e-commerce logistics for the food industry. This investment is the first institutional capital the company’s received.

Twiga Foods Raises $30M Led by Goldman. Twiga Foods is a Kenyan, B2B food distribution platform. The funds will be used to set up a distribution center in Nairobi and expand its offering of supply chain services to both agricultural and FMCG products.

Duffel Raises $30M Led by Index Ventures. London-based Duffel is a platform that connects travel agencies with airline reservation systems. The company will use the funds to hire more engineers and expand its footprint.

Fountain Raises $23M Led by DCM. Fountain is a SF-based automated platform to find and screen candidates for gig and hourly jobs. The company, whose primary customers are Uber and Postmates, will expand its line of service offerings and geographical footprint.

CelLink Raises $22.5M from RBVC, Ford, and BMW. California-based CelLink produces flexible electric circuit technology for auto and energy applications. The capital will be used to fill orders across the company’s primary offerings of vehicle wiring, battery pack interconnects, and LED lighting.

Airlift Technologies Raises $12M Led by First Round Capital. The round is the largest Series A ever raised by a Pakistani startup. Airlift enables users to book rides on premium coaches between stops in Karachi and Lahore. This is the first time that a U.S.-based VC has led a round in Pakistan, and also marks one of the largest raises in South Asia in 2019.

Tactile Mobility Raises $9M Led by Porsche and Union Tech Ventures. Tactile Mobility is an Israel-based virtual sensing startup for autonomous vehicles. The company’s technology analyzes tactile sensor data to get a feel of the road.

Link3d Raises $7M Led by AI Capital. Link3D is a Boulder-based provider of additive manufacturing execution system workflow software. Funds will be used for R&D around AI tools, as well as expanding sales and customer success operations.

Crewdible Closes $1.5M from Global Founders. Crewdible is a microwarehousing startup for eCommerce merchants that uses empty facilities such as houses, offices, and warehouses for fulfillment.

Prologis to Buy Liberty Property in $9.7 Billion Stock Deal. The warehousing market continues its hot streak after Blackstone’s $5.9B acquisition of Colony Capital last month. As proximity-optimized infrastructure continues to see increasing demand, Prologis’ acquisition of this 107M ft2 logistics property portfolio shows it is doubling down.

Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler Accelerate Merger Talks. The two automakers are set to join in a true 50-50 merger, with a deal on $50B agreement set to come this month. This new entity would be the world’s fourth-largest automaker, enabling the group to tackle the ongoing industry disruption head-on.

Company Building 🛠️

🎧Recode Decode: Ben Horowitz. Horowitz discusses company culture, diversity, and shares some perspective on VC.

16 Non-Obvious Fundraising Lessons. This is a must-read for founders raising money (be it a seed, A, or B). I especially vibe with: understand VC psychology, take notes, and know when you’re not improving.

Peanut Butter Memo: Focus & Accountability. Former Yahoo SVP Brad Garlinghouse on focusing more on fewer efforts and having clearer accountability.

Who's Hiring? 👩‍💻

Customer Success Lead at LEAF Logistics in New York, NY.

DevOps Engineer at SVT Robotics in Norfolk, VA.

Head of Business Development at Gatik AI in Palo Alto, CA.

Check out other jobs at Dynamo portfolio companies.

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

Investment Opportunities in the Supply Chain Industry with Jon Bradford of Dynamo

The Future of Supply Chain

By: Santosh Sankar & Matt McHugh

Today’s supply chain industry is ripe with investment opportunities. Jon Bradford, Dynamo’s newest partner and long-time investor, sat down with us for the latest episode of the Future of Supply Chain podcast to talk about the shift from B2C to B2B, building great startup teams, and the abundant opportunities available for both investors and companies.

Jon began his relationship with Dynamo as an advisor; in fact, he helped us launch our debut fund. He has over 15 years of seed investment experience in the FinTech and supply chain industries. He brings a wealth of industry knowledge, experience, and insight to the team. 

Most recently, Jon was a partner of Motive Partners; prior to that, he founded Springboard Accelerator, which merged with Techstars to become Techstars London. He’s the founder of Tech.eu and F6S, and has invested in more than 100 startups over the last ten years. Some of the companies and entrepreneurs he’s invested in include Apiary, Chainalysis, Flitto, Hassle, Sendbird, and Tray.io. 

Startups Should Leverage Their Strengths for Success

Jon says it’s important to build startups in an ecosystem where they can thrive and scale. Startups should be focused on what they do best. The surrounding community and industries should have a supportive nature. 

“As businesses or startups move away from B2C to B2B, one of the key attributes of a strong local ecosystem is the industry and the business that it's actually built on top of,” he says.

Throughout his career, Jon has spent time and energy focusing on where ecosystems have the deepest capability and institutional knowledge. Startups, he says, should leverage their know-how and capabilities to give themselves an advantage in the marketplace. 

person walking on concrete road beside brown concrete house near green high trees under white sky during daytime

Source: Unsplash

The Evolution of Funding the Supply Chain

The integration of technology is revolutionizing how businesses are investing in their own supply chains. 

“Historically, supply chain has been built on people’s balance sheets,” Jon says. “They’ve had to be able to pay for it.” 

Lean manufacturing has helped local businesses that are responsible for supporting their supply chain and logistics. However, Jon says the more technology is integrated into the industry the higher the businesses’ capability of funding their supply chain through third parties.

“The world is full of lots of money looking for a good return, as base rates have gone to zero and certain parts of the world have gone negative,” Jon says. “There’s a lot of money looking for a home to make a return.” 

In the United States, for example, financial services make up 7% of the GDP, while supply chain makes up 8%. Jon sees consistency between the two sectors—and a place where potential opportunity might be found at the intersection of the two. In fact, one of Jon’s first investments here at Dynamo, which we’ll be sharing more about in the future, is a firm that could be perceived as a FinTech business.

What Makes a Strong Founding Team?

When it comes to building a founding team for a startup, Jon believes the basic principles of founding a supply chain business tend to run nearly parallel from one industry to the other. 

“The reality is, it’s not that different from many other industries,” he says. “On one side of the equation, there are a bunch of really smart people who have come out of the industry who have been frustrated by shortfalls and are trying to rip up the book and try again.

“On the other side of the equation, we can see businesses that have emerged from fund 1, where individuals have absolutely no institutional knowledge at all. And that equally can be advantageous.”

In the end, Jon says that no matter the team members’ backgrounds, what matters is having individuals who are hungry to innovate and make a difference in the industry. 

Current Opportunities in Supply Chain

Jon says the current supply chain landscape feels very much like FinTech felt when he was in the thick of investing in that industry a decade ago. Right now, investing in supply chain businesses helps entrepreneurs get into markets, find product-market fit, and scale their businesses themselves.

“The thing that genuinely excites me about what we're doing here is that it feels like this is just a really big, open space. And there are more opportunities than any single investor can put their arms around,” he says.

Listen to the full Future of Supply Chain podcast episode featuring Jon Bradford here.

Be Our Next Venture Fellow

Join us in January to learn how venture capital and startups work

By: Santosh Sankar

Here at Dynamo, we’re as busy as we’ve ever been and are excited to announce the search for our next Venture Fellow. We understand that getting exposure to venture capital is highly sought after but difficult to practically get. We created the six-month Venture Fellow program to offer an opportunity to develop hands-on experience where one can learn how venture capital and startups work in an apprenticeship model. The individual will join a nimble team of operators and investors and have a rare opportunity to learn the inner workings of a venture fund. At the conclusion of the program, we will work with the Fellow to help them identify and achieve the next step in their career.

Think it’s too good to be true? Ask our current Fellow Matt McHugh who will provide training and support to the incoming candidate and transition into his next role.

We’re excited to meet candidates and encourage all interested parties to apply!


Duties will include but are not limited to:

  • Sourcing and tracking investment opportunities

  • Collaborate on investment diligence with Partners

  • Researching opportunity areas within our industry

  • Assisting with post-investment portfolio support

  • Managing our marketing efforts

  • Overseeing basic office activities

  • Leading the charge on our annual events

    • Founders Camp

    • Portfolio Day

  • Liaising with Dynamo’s network of corporate relationships

  • Supporting Partners with LP relations

  • Having fun!

About You

  • Fast AND detail-oriented

  • Passion for startups and venture capital

  • Outcomes and execution-oriented

  • Have strong commercial and common sense

  • Team player with zero ego

  • Has a “growth mindset” and able to take constructive feedback

  • Exceptional organizational skills

  • Intellectually curious, with the ability to figure anything out

  • Currently enrolled in a four-year undergraduate program OR graduated in the last 12 months

How to Apply

Please send us a PDF answering the following questions to santosh@dynamo.vc.

Subject: Venture Fellow January 2020 + your name

  • LinkedIn profile

  • 1 paragraph outlining your personal story and why you are the best candidate for this role

  • 1 paragraph on why you want to work in venture capital and Dynamo Ventures

  • 1 paragraph describing a time when you had to deal with failure

  • List 3 pre-seed or seed-stage startups you love and why

Note: This is a paid opportunity that will begin in January in Chattanooga, TN.

Loading more posts…