Dynamo Dispatch (03/11/19)

Issue 57 | Hammerhead, Fictiv, DirectChassis Link

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 💭

I spent last week on the West Coast and had the benefit of running into a lot of friends from the industry. One CTO made it a point to tell me that he and his team believe the Dispatch is mandatory reading as the industry is in the midst of major shifts. I share this because we’re grateful for the support of our readership and the broader Dynamo community. Please share the Dispatch with colleagues and encourage them to sign up.

We aired Episode 17 of The Future of Supply Chain last week where I interviewed my good friend, Ty Findley. Ty shared some great thoughts around the macro trends in the industry, things that get him excited in “Operations 4.0,” and some more tactical perspectives for founders looking to build venture-backed businesses.

We Are Dynamo,
Santosh 💥

Supply Chain 📦

🌟 Digital Freight Brokerage: A Crowded Field With Many Winners. We have always thought that freight brokerage is a world that can support many winners. In the traditional model, there were many approaches to high growth and sustainability. The digital world just multiplies the options and ultimately will make technology-enabled operations the status quo (not the aspiration). In a world that’s seen plenty of interest from PE, consolidation will occur.

Walmart Toughens Delivery Demands for Suppliers. Walmart wants suppliers that ship FTL to deliver orders within a specified two-day window 87% of the time, up from an 85% rate it targeted previously. Suppliers that fill ship LTL must hit a 70% on-time threshold (vs previous target of 50%). Walmart wants to hold less inventory in the face of increased eCommerce… suppliers ultimately are feeling the operational burden. Also, Expeditors and Walmart reveal forecasting tool.

📊 Air Freight Volumes Soften in January. Air cargo volumes are down close to 2% y/y in January with global economic concerns causing soft demand. Capacity has trended up 4% in the last year causing freight load factors to sink by close to 3%.

Recapping Maersk CEO at TPM 2019. “When we speak to customers, we see that we haven’t spent a lot of time on how to make it easier and simpler to ship containers,” he told the TPM 2019 conference. “There is complexity, unreliability, and lack of transparency of shipping containers around the world, and that is what we are trying to address.”

Supply Chain Might Be the Path to Higher Hospital Margins. Over 50% of hospital executives surveyed believe that improved supply chain management can improve margins by 1-3% (operating margins can be in the single digits in this world). Most hospitals rely on analog and dated operational practices… ripe for a clipboard to software (or spreadsheet to software) moment.

Mobility 🚗

Pittsburgh Leading AV Regulation with “Pittsburgh Principles”. The order establishes Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) as the industry’s main point of contact and tasks it with developing guidelines for AV testing on public streets. The order requires annual updates on testing and policy as well as increased disclosure from companies about where and when they will conduct tests.

UPS’s Carlton Rose Says Electric is the Future. Rose manages over 340k assets, globally and discussed secular trends driving EVs among his fleet (urbanization, on-going ramp in eCommerce, and focus on sustainability). That said, he noted that we have some ways to go to deliver solutions that work across his fleet - range has been an issue. Related, new product roundup at The Work Truck Show and custom bodies for electric vehicles in last mile.

🌟 Autonomous Vehicles Hit Chinese Delivery Ecosystem. China Post and Deppon Express will begin using autonomous delivery vehicles developed by FABU Technologies. The release says the box truck form factors were piloted in day and night as well as in challenging weather conditions. The postal companies expect to recoup their investment in the technologies within a year.

Automakers Find it Hard to Make Money on Mobility, Not Cars. “Out of all the different things that have been tried by these companies over the last several years, there’s one common thread, and that’s that nobody has actually figured out how to make money on this.”

📊 Pedestrian Deaths Skyrocketing in the US. It turns out that pedestrian fatalities are nearing highs set in 1990 and up 50%+ in 15 years (not rise since introduction of smartphone). Data also implies that while people inside cars are getting safer, those outside are not. It raises the question of how we rethink our urban and suburban environments to safeguard passengers using all modes not just cars.

Volvo Sets Max Speed on Cars to 112 MPH. Volvo is serious about it’s zero fatalities goal (expected to be met by 2020) and it’s capping how fast it’s car can go. Similar to Tesla, Volvo will leverage the connectivity of it’s vehicles to monitor driving in certain geofences and use internal cameras to monitor driver alertness.

Strategic Developments, Fundraises, M&A 💸

Voi Raises Additional $30M. The global eScooter battle heats up with Voi raising another $30M after a big $50M Series A. Funds will be used to drive expansion and R&D. I suspect we will see that product development (hardware at that!) will be key in separating the haves from the have nots. Advancements in motors, materials, and design will help address issues around weather, wear-and-tear, and safety.

Locomotion Emerges from Stealth. The company previously raised a round but remained heads down on product. It looks like the team is focused on bringing autonomy to long haul trucking by enabling platooning on relay routes.

Fictiv Raises $33M to Be “AWS of Manufacturing”. Fictiv provides a platform both to design components and help get them produced. They don’t own any assets but have a network of hardware operators including those specializing in injection molding, CNC machining, 3D printing and urethane casting, covering a variety of materials. G2VP led the round.

Xapix Raises $2M Seed. Xapix enables companies to tap into the connect car trend via a set of APIs and infrastructure. Speedinvest led the round.

Zinier Raises $22M Led by Accel. Zinier provides field service automation software (think maintenance, installation, delivery professionals).

Hammerhead Raises Seed. The $4M round was led by Primary Ventures to finance the company’s aspirations to be the bicycle computer of choice.

Brodmann17 Closes Series A. Brodmann17’s edge technology (necessary for rapid computations) is designed to be used in any automotive application that requires artificial intelligence to see and process objects, roads and wider landscapes.

Apollo buys Direct ChassisLink for $2.5B. Direct ChassisLink is the largest chassis rental and leasing company in the US. Despite declining trade flows, DCL has been about to double in size since their 2016 buyout by EQT Partners.

Boeing Acquires ForeFlight. ForeFlight provides web and mobile dashboards to help pilots get the information they need for flight planning.

Company Building 🛠️

Scaling Yourself in High Growth. Steve Blank discusses the importance of early employees (and Founders!) to scale themselves as they go from startup to scaleup.

YC Seed Deck Template. Everyone has their opinion on decks and we certainly have ours too (ask our founders). That said, we are constantly seeking to improve our process and the simplicity of this template is something I liked. That said, we often seen the problem and solution being the most challenging to convey -- a post for another time.

🌟 7 Step Employee On-boarding Process. Employee on-boarding is so crucial to get your star hires off on the right path. I am not particularly great at it but am looking to develop a better process as we think about scaling Dynamo. First-time founders-- this is a must read!

Who's Hiring? 👩‍💻

ML Engineer at Vector AI in London, UK.

Front-End Engineer at LEAF Logistics in New York, NY.

Software Engineer, Simulation at Gatik AI in Toronto, Canada.

Check out other jobs at Dynamo portfolio companies.

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