Dynamo Dispatch (10/21/19)

Issue 81 | Wheels, Realtime Robotics, Ware

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 💭

Be on the lookout for a new collaborative project we’ve been working on over the last few weeks. It’s due to be announced on Tuesday. Till then, check out the latest episode of the Future of Supply Chain covering the founding story of Arta with Adam Fields.

Have a great week!

We Are Dynamo,

Santosh, Ted, Barry, Jon, and Matt

Note: please add “dynamo@substack.com” to your email client so you don’t miss future issues due to aggressive spam filters.

Supply Chain 📦

🌟Fred Smith Needs to Reinvent FedEx. “The 75-year-old CEO confronts the rise of e-commerce and the challenge of Amazon; ‘we’ll let the points be counted up at the end of the game’.” Also, FedEx Launches Drone Parcel Delivery with Wing

Merck To Test Machine Learning to Prevent Drug Shortages. Merck is upgrading its analytics tools to improve its demand forecasting accuracy, which sits at about 85% today. Supply chain tracking has been easier in the pharma industry since 2013 when U.S. regulation forced manufacturers to add serial numbers to medications. Merck will start using TraceLink’s platform to analyze real-time data points from various parties within its supply chain, including pharmacies, hospitals, and wholesale distributors.

How Amazon Can Deliver $1 Items Overnight for Free. In September Amazon started enabling free shipping for single-item purchases in the $1-$5 range. Amazon is leveraging its growing last-mile network to manage this and limit the number of loss leaders. Amazon’s major logistics partner UPS Launches 'Valet Storage' Concept in Atlanta.

IMO 2020 BAF Transparent Indexing Mechanism Launched. Drewry and the European Shippers Council published a streamlined bunker adjustment factor (BAF) toolkit to help shippers monitor bunker chargers ahead of next year’s low-sulfur fuel mandate. Shippers were reportedly bewildered by the specific guidelines before this release. More on shipping, Data Sharing Will Cut Demurrage.

Walmart Launches InHome Grocery Delivery. Walmart launches store-to-refrigerator delivery service in select cities. Customers who sign up have access to unlimited grocery shipments for $20 a month after installing a $50 smart lock system.  More on grocery delivery, Giant Food Relaunches Delivery Service.

📊 CEMA Releases Update on Unit Handling Equipment Business. A great sign for warehousing activity, the Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association reported upticks across the board. Notably, equipment orders were up 58.1% year-over-year in August. Related, Dynamo portfolio company, SVT Robotics Deploys Pilot at Kenco Logistics Innovation Test Lab.

TuSimple Plans Fully Driverless Deliveries in 2021. TuSimple is preparing for fully contracted commercial freight deliveries by 2021. The company is currently running pilots in several states like Arizona with partners like UPS, but still at the PoC level.  Elsewhere in trucking, J.B. Hunt Sees Cost Headwinds from Digital Transformation.

Mobility 🚗

Harley Davidson Halts Production on First Electric Motorcycle. Harley says it needed to stop production and delivery of the LiveWire due to a “non-standard condition” but isn’t recalling the ones already on the road. The company has not announced when or if deliveries and production will resume. Not a great start for what was supposed to kick off an entire lineup of electric Harleys. In the world of electric, Tesla to Begin Model 3 Production in Gigafactory 3.

🌟SF Bans Cars from Market Street. On Tuesday, the San Francisco Transportation Agency approved a $600M plan to eliminate cars and make space for people. See the bikers’ response. For another take on mobility zoning, ‘Walled Gardens’ vs. Open Mobility: The Battle Begins

Hyundai Announces $35B Investment Plan. The push into future mobility technologies will include the launch of 23+ EV models over the coming years and significant R&D to bolster it’s AV goals (a first release by 2021 and a second by 2024 - neither will be L5). Note that Hyundai announced a $4B JV last month with Aaptiv to drive this.

Renault Commences Public Trial of Autonomous, Electric, and Shared On-demand Car Service. The trial started Monday and will last until November 8th, with roughly 100 people using the service. Passengers will be able to hail two different vehicles with different features using a mobile app. The commencement comes on the heels of last week’s news that Renault, Waymo, and authorities from the Paris region, would explore the creation of an “autonomous mobility service” between France’s largest airport and the business district. 

Porsche and Boeing Team up on Premium Urban Air Travel. The two companies have partnered on a new eVTOL, centered around the belief that the urban air mobility market will take off in 2025. “We are combining the strengths of two leading global companies to address a potential key market segment of the future,” said a Porsche exec.

How Fast New York Regional Rail Could Be. Public transportation enthusiast Alon Levy published this piece on optimizing the New York passenger rail system, figuring a 33-40% reduction in transit times through his analysis. The existing inefficiencies include a combination of weak rolling stock, low platforms, poor maintenance, and excessive schedule padding. Also in New York, the MTA and Partnership for NYC Transit Tech Lab Announce 2020 Accelerator

📊 How Bikes and Scooters Are Shaking up Urban Transport Worldwide. Shared bike usage in the U.S. was up 25% between 2016 and 2017; the number of shared bikes in the U.S. more than doubled in the same period to around 100,000 bikes, with the majority of new bikes being dockless. The report also covers the main challenges around the world including existing infrastructure, profitability, regulation, hardware health, and weather. Related,Ex-Uber Exec Launches Startup to Autonomously Reposition Electric Scooters and Bikes.

Fundraises, M&A, Talent 💸

Club Factory Raises $100M Led by Qiming Venture Partners. Club Factory is Chinese-based, end-to-end, cross-border e-commerce platform that sells fashion and beauty items and electronics accessories. The company will now grow its presence in India.

Wheels Raises $50M Led by DBL Partners. Wheels is an Illinois-based micromobility startup focused on electric, lightweight, sit-down, scooter-bike hybrids. Funds will be used to expand to additional markets globally.

Motive Power Systems Raises $50M Led by GMAG Holdings. Motive retrofits combustion-based medium-duty truck chassis with electric powertrains. Funds will be used to open an engineering facility in Detroit.

Realtime Robotics Raises $11.7M Led by SPARX Asset Management. Realtime Robotics is a Boston-based creator of responsive motion planning for industrial robots and autonomous vehicles. Funds will be used on product development and customer success.

Adroit Worldwide Media Raises $11M Led by Impact Venture Capital. Adroit is a California-based vision technology company powered by artificial intelligence, computer vision, and machine learning. The company focuses on applications for scanning and tracking retail inventory.

TruTa Raises $7.5M Led by Pangaea. TruTag creates microscopic, edible barcodes to authenticate medications, food, vaping pods and other products for tracking throughout the supply chain. Funds will be used on R&D and go-to-market efforts.

Carfit Raises Seed Round Led by CIC Capital Ventures. Carfit is a California-based autotech and connected car startup. Funds will be used on go-to-market efforts.

Ware Raises Seed Round Led by Bloomberg Beta. Ware is building technology to improve warehouse inventory management. Bloomberg Beta was also an early investor in Flexport.

Kodiak Robotics Hires Jamie Hoffacker as Head of Hardware. Hoffacker came from Lyft’s Level 5 self-driving vehicle initiative and also worked on Google’s Street View vehicles. Hoffacker was brought on to scale the product from the prototype level to a mass-manufacturing level.

Company Building 🛠️

Exec 101: The First 30 Days. A framework from Twitter executive, Sriram Krishnan that helps one plan their first 30 days as an executive in a high growth business.

Step Up Sales Coaching. “Better to coach the employee who shows a willingness to learn than turn to external hiring, where you have less context and might even hire someone who just has a different set of improvement areas.”

Yvon Chouinard on Saving the Planet. Chouinard can be a polarizing figure but regardless of one’s personal agreement with his opinions or approach, he’s found a way to build an amazing culture on the back of which he’s built the #1 outdoor brand. At 81 years old, he discusses his singular focus and Patagonia’s mission to limit the impact humans have on the planet. If you haven’t already, check out his book, Let My People Go Surfing.

Who's Hiring? 👩‍💻

Head of Data and Analytics at Zeelo in London, UK.

Logistics Manager at Tenderd in Dubai, UAE.

Lead Product Engineer at Mobikit in Columbus, OH.

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.