Industry Dispatches #1
this week in vertical tech
Welcome to the first edition of Industry Dispatches, a weekly roundup of vertical tech fundraises, content, and more. Expect the format to evolve a bit over time.
Supply chain continues to be a hot area for investment, both across domestic and international solutions.
There’s a working theory in freight. It goes like this:
Freight forwarders are critical to global trade. There’s a lot of them. And most of them are using Cargowise for their operations/TMS. Cargowise is massive with an all-encompassing platform for operations. But their bundling strategy and their current size might have left them vulnerable. And so startups can enter the scene, unbundle specific Cargowise functionality that is mediocre, develop a wedge in, and then outright replace Cargowise over time.
Raft is one of those, with a $30m Series B to do so, with an AI strategy on top.
Elsewhere in freight, Nuvocargo closed a Series B round. Lots of money is doubling down on US-Mexico trade becoming incredibly important as nearshoring trends take off.
And because I love unified APIs, I am eager to watch a company in the latest YC batch, Terminal. If you believe that the TMS is going to get continually unbundled, there’s going to be a lot of telematics data that needs to be utilized in these unbundled platforms. And since no developer wants to integrate to every telematics provider, this is a great use case for a unified API.
The cost to make new drugs has gone up pretty significantly even as the number of drugs that make it to market has flattened.
So long as you don’t think this is because we’ve ran out of human suffering that drugs can aid with, this points to some bottleneck in the R&D process. And maybe, AI can be revolutionary here too.
That’s the bet investors are making, backing Causaly to the tune of 30m in Series B funding.
Their strategy shares some similarities to Casetext in the legal field, whom was recently acquired by Thomson Reuters for $650m.
Content from the Ecosystem
You can’t start with anything other than Dave Yuan’s appearance on Invest like the Best
It’s a tour de force in vertical SaaS investing and a must-listen (I’m sure most of you already have).
Alongside, Dave’s episode I also enjoyed this piece below from the founder and previous CEO of Resy, Ben Leventhal.
Industry Bites: LiDAR and Forestry
The free market is a beautiful thing. LiDAR sensors used to be ultra-expensive. Their hyper-accurate 3-D model scans came at a high price. But as we have found new use cases for the tech in automotive, phones, satellites and more, the technological development has dropped the price dramatically.1
It’s now an affordable technology that industries like forestry are adopting.
In forestry, hyper-accurate 3-D models are particularly game-changing. Forest management has not been the most efficient endeavor - there’s a lot of forest to cover.
But by tacking LiDAR scanners to drones, satellites, and other devices, the entire industry is fast-tracking to a system where forests are nearly continuously monitored at a fraction of the price it would cost for human monitoring. All of this is starting to add up to a system where LiDAR scans along with a mix of algorithms help determine forest density, where to harvest trees, wildfire risks, and more.
Hopefully, this technology reduces the number of uncontrolled wildfires dramatically while enabling forests to be managed more efficiently.2
I have not been able to find a good graph for LiDAR price over time. If you find one, let me know.
It probably also enables a vertical SaaS/AI startup opportunity.