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 💭
It was a busy week for the sector with Shopify doubling-down on its fulfillment strategy by purchasing 6 River for 15x forward sales, Walmart joining the eCommerce fulfillment game, and $1.3B+ in fundraising activity (especially strong on the mobility side).
We’re about to head into a two-week string of activity between our Portfolio Day (9/23) and Founders Camp (starting 9/30). It’s going to get kicked off with some big news that we expect to share later in the week- something that we all are super excited about. Stay tuned!
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Supply Chain 📦
Shopify is Series About Its Distribution Ambitions. Shopify’s 6 River acquisition reinforces the ambition it has for its Fulfillment Network. The marriage will bring it the ability to build an inexpensive and scalable network, get proven automation talent into the fold, and empower their supplier network with baseline automation. Btw, Shopify Overtakes eBay as #2 eCommerce Site.
Walmart Tests Fulfillment Services. It looks like Walmart is entering the fulfillment fray along with Shopify and eBay to give FBA a run for its money. The retailer will begin handling orders for third-party merchants to generate revenue from eComm orders at attractive margins. Also, Walmart Expanding “Unlimited” Grocery Delivery. Related, we were in SFO when FedEx shared that they’ve fully severed all ties with Amazon. In our meetings, we remarked that FedEx Ultimately is Aligning with Walmart… the data from Rakuten proves it.
📊Cushman & Wakefield on the DC of the Future. The adoption of supply chain technology could double in the next five years that brings a faster, more cost-effective, and more accurate experience to end customers. Asset differentiation will matter as boxes become home for robots and humans and facilities are “built up vs built out.” Did you see Prologis and Amazon Partner on Vertical Warehouses?
🌟Trifecta: Turvo, Convoy, and DHL Supply Chain Clinch Partnership. The Convoy leg of the partnership will allow DHL Supply Chain customers to get access to real-time pricing on available truckload carriers in Convoy’s network. The Turvo integration will “drive contextual visibility and collaboration across the end-to-end lifecycle of a shipment.” Elsewhere, Schneider National Selects Platform Science for ELD/ Telematics Solution. It appears that the telematics software platform will power Schnieder’s AI-Driven Tools and APIs for arrival times and related functions.
Flirtey Delivery Drones Approved by FAA. The Eagle will begin testing last-mile deliveries to homes in the coming months with 4 major advancements vs predecessor platforms: 1) handle 95% of weather patterns; 2) 2x the payload as competitors; 3) deliveries take < 10 minutes due to new take-off/landing pad; 4) 10 UAVs can be flown by 1 pilot, beyond line of sight and at night.
“No Break Up of DP-DHL”. The CEO of DHL Express Americas does not believe a breakup would serve the company given the shared ethos of customer-centricity. He also noted some other interesting points: Amazon is considered a friend and a major global customer to the Group; DHL won a lot of FedEx customers due to cybersecurity concerns; increasing international flight frequency into CHI. Also, DHL Opens Innovation Lab in Chicago.
Daimler Trucks Testing Autonomous Models. The initial routes will be in southwest Virginia that’s in proximity to Daimler’s AV HQ (former Torc Robotics HQ) while it plans to expand teams to focus on the necessary engineering out of Portland, OR and Stuttgart, Germany. Related, Waymo Eyes Expansion of Technology to Trucking.
California Passes AB5 to Tighten “Gig Worker” Rule. The law doesn’t necessarily change the law but reduces the ambiguity of whether an employee is exempt or not. The ruling is expected to impact the likes of Lyft and Uber as well as the state’s trucking operations. Perhaps we’ll see an accelerated pace of investments in AV as business models come under further pressure. Also on the regulatory front, Congress Throw Cold Water on Congestion Pricing.
🌟VW’s Bold Ambitions to Build a Car OS. The new group will build an OS for all 12 VW Group brands that yield economies of scale vs the current siloed approach. The MEB platform will also leverage Android Auto for in-car infotainment. VW also released, the VW ID.3 EV and for logophiles such as myself, a breakdown of the New VW Brand.
New Lithium Battery Design Eliminates Cobalt and Nickel. Georgia Tech researchers have developed a new cathode from iron fluoride and a solid polymer electrolyte nanocomposite. “Iron fluorides have more than double lithium’s capacity of traditional cobalt- or nickel-based cathodes. In addition, iron is 1/300th the cost of cobalt and 1/150th the cost of nickel.” As a note, in lion batteries, energy is released when ions move from anodes to cathodes
📊INRIX Reports 48% of All Vehicle Trips in US are < 3 Miles. The report also interestingly ranks the top cities of micromobility in the US - all of the top 5 are mid-sized/tier 2 or 3 locales including Honolulu, New Orleans, Nashville, Chicago, and Charlotte. The study concludes with identifying that key challenges include partnering and integrating such services with existing infrastructure and offerings as well as having the tools to engage and manage such services. In Spain, Barcelona’s Car Free Blocks Expected to Save 650+ Lives Annually.
Brian Salesky of Argo Details Its AV Strategy. “At Argo, we have a “street-by-street, block-by-block” mindset underlying our approach to developing and deploying technology. It’s not a race. Our goal remains to make self-driving vehicles that are safe, provide a compelling experience, and are accepted by society.”
Fundraises, M&A, Talent 💸
Rivian Raises $350M from Cox Automotive. As part of the round, the duo will "explore partnership opportunities in service operations, logistics, and digital retailing,"
Root Insurance Closes $350M Led by DST and Coatue. The funding will be used to expand into all 50 states and DC by year-end as well as develop new product lines.
Samsara Raises $300M Growth Round from Tiger and Dragoneer. The company intends to use the funds to develop new products for customers, expand into Europe, Mexico, and Canada, and grow the team.
Delhivery Raises $115M from CPPIB. The investment in the Indian 3PL is still a small piece of the pension fund’s overall Indian portfolio that’s ~$10B.
SmartDrive Raised $90M from TPG Sixth Street Partners. SmartDrive provides video-based telematics and related insights.
Applied Intuition Clinches $40M Series B. General Catalyst led the round in the self-driving testing company.
ProGlove Raises €36M from Summit Partners. The funding will be used to scale internationally and become the platform of choice for frontline worker IIoT.
Voyage Raises $31M to Scale Driverless Technology. The round was led by Franklin Templeton with participation from previous investors and be used to expand it’s fleet and ramp hiring.
Yasa Raises £18M to Scale. The round in the motor and controller startup was led by Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI) and Inovia Capital.
Drivetime Closes on $11M. The startup makes in-car voice games, interactive stories, and related entertainment for drivers to pass time. Makers Fund led the round with participation from The Alexa Fund and Google’s Assistant Investment program.
Replica Spins-out from Sidewalks Labs with $11M Series A. The urban data gathering tool is backed by Innovation Endeavors, Firebrand Ventures, and Rise of the Rest.
CMDTY Closes $10M Series A. The company is founded by the former founder of AppNexus and Venrock led the round with participation from Rucker Park. CMDTY seeks to use technology to streamline the physical commodities supply chain; help participants optimize their activities; and to find global efficiencies through data science and technology.
Forager Raises $3.2M Seed Round. The round in the cross border trucking logistics startup was led by Chicago Ventures.
Shopify Buys 6 River Systems for $450M. The deal was done at 15x forward sales with the consideration paid in 60% cash and 40% stock.
Company Building 🛠️
Building a Quality Network. “There’s time beyond this fundraise and even this company. Relationships take years to build. Start now.”
From Technical to Product to Sales CEO: Hard-Earned Lessons Learned. David Ulevitch from a16z on his evolution as a CEO as he led OpenDNS to an acquisition by CSCO.
Village Global Podcast: Michael Kim of Cendana Capital. Michael Kim at Cendana discusses the importance of portfolio construction and what he looks for as a major LP in several major seed funds.
Who's Hiring? 👩💻
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.