Category: Logistics

June 7, 2019 Off

FedEx ends express delivery contract with Amazon

By Jill T Frey

FedEx will not renew a contract with Amazon to provide express delivery for the e-commerce giant’s packages in the United States.

FedEx, which made the announcement Friday, said in a statement the change would not affect other existing contracts with Amazon or international services. FedEx Express only impacts air services. FedEx will still serve as a carrier for Amazon for last-mile deliveries.

Amazon said in a statement that it respects FedEx’s decision and thanked them for its “role serving Amazon customers over the years.”

FedEx tempered the news by stating that Amazon is not its largest customer. The percentage of total FedEx revenue attributable to Amazon.com represented less than 1.3% of total FedEx revenue for the 12-month period ended December 31, 2018, according to FedEx.

The decision follows an explosion in e-commerce, a trend that is expected to continue. FedEx estimates that e-commerce is expected to grow from 50 million … Read the rest

June 7, 2019 Off

Walmart to launch in-home grocery delivery in three cities, starting this fall

By Jill T Frey

Walmart on Friday announced plans for a new, in-home grocery delivery service that would allow the retailer to deliver items directly to a customer’s fridge or freezer, even when the customer isn’t home. The service, called InHome Delivery, works by way of smart entry technology combined with proprietary cameras worn by the delivery associates that let the customer closely watch the delivery take place.

As Walmart explains, the goal is to make it easier to shop for groceries online. Unlike packages, fresh, cold and frozen groceries can’t be left on the doorstep for hours.

That means customers have to take care to schedule grocery delivery for times they are home — and that’s not always convenient, because they may get home late at night, or have a sleeping baby they don’t want to wake, or don’t know their upcoming schedule, among other reasons. Or perhaps they just don’t want … Read the rest

June 6, 2019 Off

Postmates taps longtime Apple engineer to boost autonomous delivery efforts

By Jill T Frey

Postmates has hired Apple veteran and author Ken Kocienda as a principal software engineer at Postmates X, the team building the food delivery company’s semi-autonomous sidewalk rover, Serve.

Kocienda, author of “Creative Selection: Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs,” spent 15 years at Apple focused on human interface design, collaborating with engineers to develop the first iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. Kocienda left Apple in 2017 to focus on his book.

Now, he’s picked Postmates as his next project, citing the team’s spirit and energy as motivation for joining.

“My goal throughout my career has not been technology for the sake of opportunity, I am interested in making product experiences that people out in the world will find useful and meaningful,” Kocienda tells TechCrunch. “It’s not about the technology or just the design, it’s about the technology and design coming together.”


Postmates unveiled ServeRead the rest

May 28, 2019 Off

IBM-Maersk blockchain shipping consortium expands to include other major shipping companies

By Jill T Frey

Last year IBM and Danish shipping conglomerate Maersk announced the limited availability of a blockchain-based shipping tool called TradeLens. Today, the two partners announced that a couple of other major shippers have come on board.

The partners announced that CMA CGM and MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company have joined TradeLens. When you include these companies together with Maersk, the TradeLens consortium now encompasses almost half of the world’s cargo container shipments, according to data supplied by IBM .

That’s important, because shipping has traditionally been a paper-intensive and largely manual process. It’s still challenging to track where a container might be in the world and which government agency might be holding it up. When it comes to auditing, it can take weeks of intensive effort to gather the paperwork generated throughout a journey from factory or field to market. Suffice to say, cargo touches a lot of hands along the … Read the rest

May 27, 2019 Off

India’s FreshToHome raises $11 million to expand its fish, meat, and vegetable e-commerce platform

By Jill T Frey

Shan Kadavil, who spent early days of his career managing tech support firm Support and then heading India operations of gaming firm Zynga, says he had a calling of sorts when his son was born. Kadavil realized that much of the meat that sells in India is not exactly healthy. The perishables are loaded with chemicals to superficially extend their life by six months, if not more. He wanted to do something better.

Fast forward four years, Kadavil said today that FreshToHome, his new e-commerce startup that delivers “100 percent” pure and fresh fish, chicken, and other kinds of meat, has raised $11 million in Series A funding. The startup has raised $13 million to date.

The round was led by CE Ventures, with participation from Das Capital, Kortschak Investments, TTCER Partners, Al-Nasser Holdings, M&S Partners and other Asia and Valley based Investors. Some of the backers of FreshToHome … Read the rest

May 26, 2019 Off

The savage genius of SoftBank funding competitors

By Jill T Frey

Venture capitalists aren’t supposed to make their portfolio companies battle to the death. There’s a long-standing but unofficial rule that investors shouldn’t fund multiple competitors in the same space. Conflicts of interest could arise, information about one startup’s strategy could be improperly shared with the other, and the companies could become suspicious of advice provided by their investors. That leads to problems down the line for VCs, as founders may avoid them if they fear the firm might fund their rival down the line.

SoftBank shatters that norm with its juggernaut $100 billion Vision Fund plus its Innovation Fund. The investor hasn’t been shy about funding multiple sides of the same fight.

The problem is that SoftBank’s power distorts the market dynamics. Startups might take exploitative deals from the firm under the threat that they’ll be outspent whoever is willing to take the term sheet. That can hurt employees, especially … Read the rest

May 23, 2019 Off

Google integrates food delivery services into Search, Maps and Assistant

By Jill T Frey

Google today announced that it is launching the ability to order food delivery directly from Google Search, Maps and the Assistant. Google itself isn’t getting into the delivery game, though. Instead, it is partnering with companies like DoorDash, Postmates, Delivery.com, Slice and ChowNow. Support for Zuppler and others is “coming soon.” The ordering experience, though, is deeply integrated into Google’s tools and you can pay with Google Pay.

For restaurants that participate, you’ll soon see and “Order Online” button in Search and Maps when you search for a specific restaurant or cuisine.While Seach and Maps are probably the way most people will use this feature, Google is also building this feature into the Assistant. Here, you’ll be able to say: “Hey Google, order food from [name of your favorite take-out restaurant].” This is supported on Android and iOS. You can even re-order your regular go-to-meal using nothing but your … Read the rest

May 14, 2019 Off

Beyond costs, what else can we do to make housing affordable?

By Jill T Frey

This week on Extra Crunch, I am exploring innovations in inclusive housing, looking at how 200+ companies are creating more access and affordability. Yesterday, I focused on startups trying to lower the costs of housing, from property acquisition to management and operations.

Today, I want to focus on innovations that improve housing inclusion more generally, such as efforts to pair housing with transit, small business creation, and mental rehabilitation. These include social impact-focused interventions, interventions that increase income and mobility, and ecosystem-builders in housing innovation.

Nonprofits and social enterprises lead many … Read the rest

May 13, 2019 Off

Market map: the 200+ innovative startups transforming affordable housing

By Jill T Frey

In this section of my exploration into innovation in inclusive housing, I am digging into the 200+ companies impacting the key phases of developing and managing housing.

Innovations have reduced costs in the most expensive phases of the housing development and management process. I explore innovations in each of these phases, including construction, land, regulatory, financing, and operational costs.

Reducing Construction Costs

This is one of the top three challenges developers face, exacerbated by rising building material costs and labor … Read the rest

May 13, 2019 Off

Innovations in inclusive housing

By Jill T Frey

Housing is big money. The industry has trillions under management and hundreds of billions under development.

And investors have noticed the potential. Opendoor raised nearly $1.3 billion to help homeowners buy and sell houses more quickly. Katerra raised $1.2 billion to optimize building development and construction, and Compass raised the same amount to help brokers sell real estate better. Even Amazon and Airbnb have entered the fray with high-profile investments.

Amidst this frenetic growth is the seed of the next wave of innovation in the sector. The housing industry — and its affordability problem … Read the rest