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Supply chain tech investors focused on the last mile

Sep 19, 2022
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Illustration: Victoria Ellis/Axios

Investors have poured some $8.6 billion into supply chain tech startups in the second quarter, with last-mile delivery seeing the largest inflows, according to new PitchBook data.

Why it matters: Amid global supply chain disruptions and increasing costs of the last mile of delivery, emerging technology can help "enhance visibility, manage supplier diversity and improve decision making,” PitchBook says.

  • Investment in supply chain tech is down roughly 40% from 2021, reflective of a broader market pullback, PitchBook notes.

By the numbers: Last-mile delivery saw $3.8 billion invested across 38 deals in Q2.

  • Enterprise supply chain management had the second-highest value of deals at $1.5 billion, but was third overall in deal count at 21, behind warehousing tech (23).
  • Freight tech had the fewest deals at 13, but ranked third in overall value at $746.4 million.
  • Global logistics spending was $9 trillion, or about 11% of global GDP in 2020, according to Statista.

What they're saying: “Building resiliency has emerged as the key concern,” PitchBook says, becoming more of a focus for companies rather than trying to maximize efficiency.

State of play: PitchBook highlighted two emerging segments to watch: supply chain visibility platforms and last-mile drone airspace management and infrastructure.

  • In June, FedEx invested in logistics software startup FourKites and struck a partnership to build a new package tracking platform. The company recently raised $30 million in June and closed a $100 million Series D round led by Thomas H. Lee Partners last year.
  • Earlier this year, supply chain visibility platform Project44 raised $420 million in equity and debt in a Series F round led by TPG, Thoma Bravo and Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

Yes and: With Amazon, Walmart, Google and UPS launching pilot programs to try out drone delivery capabilities, the interest has also spurred a number of competitors, PitchBook says.

  • Airspace Link, a drone safety software and data platform for pilots, businesses and local governments, raised $23 million in a Series B led by Avanta Ventures.
  • Near Earth Autonomy, a developer of sensors and systems for low-altitude autonomous flight with or without a GPS, raised $10 million from corporate partner Kaman Corp.

Of note: Major tech giants are also entering the fray.

  • Google Cloud introduced a supply chain service last September, allowing companies to build a digital “twin” of their physical supply chains.
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