Dynamo Dispatch (10/15/18)

Issue 39 | Maersk/Loadsmart, Uniqlo Warehouses, Ford/Argo AI

Dynamo Dispatch. Weekly update from Dynamo covering the latest and greatest in commerce and trade, #logisticstechnology, and building venture-scale businesses.

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Weekly Commentary 💭

We concluded Founders Camp last Friday with compliments from both startups and corporates. For two days, founders had introductory sales meetings with 20+ corporates. One founder remarked that he's never been able to increase his sales pipeline by $40M in just 48 hours. Several corporate executives have approached us and remarked as to how important such interactions are for them and how excited they are to dig-in and follow up.

Big thank you to our sponsors: Covenant Transportation, Chick-fil-a, Omnitracs, EPB, and Market Street Partners. Needless to say, we will return in 2019!

I'm on the road for the next several weeks, let me know if you're in Bentonville, AR; San Francisco, CA; or Las Vegas, NV. Would love to catch up and chat supply chain and startups!

We Are Dynamo,

Santosh 💥

What We’re Reading 📖

Supply Chain

Digital Freight Broker Loadsmart Raises $21.6M from Maersk and Others. The investment highlights an opportunity for Maersk to offer services that extend beyond maritime by integrating ocean and over-the-road freight movements. Loadsmart is also joined by Shipwell who raised a $10M Series A led by real estate investor, Fifth Wall Ventures. Fifth Wall believes Shipwell’s traction among construction companies can scale further as well as provide Fifth Wall LPs a value-add service (as many operate inbound/outbound services) for their customers. Shipwell is focused on small shippers (<$100M in annual freight spend) and carriers (the majority of the market. Shipwell is one of three digital freight startups that have raised in the last several months.

PSA Chief Calls for Higher Interoperability for the “Internet of Logistics”. The interoperability across supply chain stakeholders and systems is key in an economy driven by what PSA calls the "consumer power revolution." I suspect as more platforms emerge, we'll see fiefdoms that bring together certain providers, technologies, and with them, shippers. For example, a pharma collective that includes a set of ocean/air, ground transport, warehousers, as well as a variety of technology companies.

Uniqlo Replaces 90% of Staff in New Warehouse. The company debuted it’s first automated warehouse in partnership with Daifuku as part of a $800M+ investment effort. The facility can handle inbound, inventory, and outbound operations with minimal human intervention in a bid to minimize storage costs and increase sales velocity.

The Guy Who Delivers to Monks in the Himalayas. Amazon opened their first station in the Himalayas a year ago with one bag of parcels a day. Now, demand has grown with locals including monks ordering enough products (shoes, bike parts/accessories, religious clothing, etc) that the outpost sees 20-25 large bags of deliveries each day.

Uber Freight App Due for Upgrade. With Freight being spun into a separate company, it looks like it's technology will see rapid iterations. The new app will provide tools to streamline freight bookings. Drivers can find loads based on their preferences as well as book loads ahead of time.

Warehouses Building Up vs Out. CBRE notes 3 multi-story warehouse builds in Seattle, NYC, and San Fran as eCommerce growth continues. We have previously predicted this trend especially in light of constrained distribution space as it pertains to urban environments. A ramp in vertical warehouses could help the market for warehouse drones (assuming levels are build tall).

Manufacturers Optimistic on Economy But Face Labor Shortage. Manufacturers’ economic optimism is at an all-time high but labor scarcity extends upstream to our shop floors and not limited to warehouses and trucks. Similar to other labor constrained industries, the 500,000 open jobs in the industry require reskilling of the workforce.


Hedge Funds Buying NYC Taxi Medallions. Down from their $1M+ highs, hedge funds are buying medallions for $200,000 in hopes of operating their own taxi fleets. NYC allows yellow cabs to have the exclusive right to service passengers who hail them on the street. The yellow taxi contingent saw revenues of $1.7B (-27% since 2014) despite a shrinking share of for-hire rides.

Micromobility Brings Safety in Numbers. The rise of scooters and bikes should help reduce injuries and fatalities. Locales where 3x as many people walk and bicycle, the risk to walkers or bikers halves. The five major cities that introduced bike share reduced bicycle injuries and also had a 28 % reduction in overall injuries.

MTA Launches Initiative to Launch New Products to Improve Public Transit. The Tech Lab is seeking solutions beyond the prototype phase to predict subway delays and reduce commuter disruption and solutions to move buses through the congested streets. Submissions will be evaluated by a bench of investors, founders, and public officials.

Jim Hackett of Ford Speaks with Axios on AV. Hackett says Ford is focused on business model as well as technology. Regard the latter, it feels that Argo has put it on a trajectory that’s better than Waymo. It’s not a first-mover-takes-all dynamic but worth noting the head start Waymo has as it preps for it’s first public service. The service will provide a great lesson for competitors with a lack of safety standards and lack of baseline around experience.

State of the Drone Industry. DJI is still the leader both in hardware and software, mapping and survey tools are the leading revenue generators, and companies using drones are still in the early days of adoption/implementation.

Coord Raises $5M Series A for Mobility Data Software. Coord provides mobility software including APIs for tolls, parking regulation, and more. We’ve taken a look at a few startups for mobility services — we love the space as we identify that micro location data is badly needed to optimize transportation as well as solve major last mile bottlenecks.

Company Building

Renaissance Florence as a Model for Innovation. I have often thought about the Renaissance when analyzing startup ecosystems. Some worthwhile parallels we could consider as we think about building and supporting startup ecosystems away from the usual locales.

Software Valuations - Normalization Across Public/Private Markets. As the public markets have appreciated, some public companies are now fetching the multiples of the most attractive private companies.

What We’re Listening To 🎧

Seed to Scale: Brad Feld Part 1. A series from Eniac Ventures where Feld discusses things he would suggest to his younger self.

Autonocast: Deloitte and the LA DoT on Public/Private Interests Around Cities & Mobility. Scott Corwin of Deloitte and Seleta Reynolds discuss and debate the future of the city and a unified system around mobility.

Who's Hiring? 👩‍💻

Full Stack Developer at Vector AI in London, England or New York City.

BI Analyst at Sennder in Berlin, Germany.

Associate Product Manager at SKUPOS in San Francisco, CA.

Check out other jobs at Dynamo portfolio companies.