Every year, a handful of themes drive deal making. This year’s innovations are in the logistics, construction, retail and electric vehicle segments.
1. Logistics embraces digitization
The traditionally staid supply chain and logistics industry will speed up its drive to digitize, turning to autonomous drones, robotics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics to ensure faster deliveries at lower rates. Classic logistics heavyweights Deutsche Post’s DHL and C.H. Robinson are pouring millions of dollars into such technology. Oracle and SAP, which already do supply chain work, likely will make acquisitions in the area to improve their capabilities.
The disruptors to watch in freight forwarding include Flexport, which raised a $1 billion round led by Softbank Vision Fund last February, and Arrive Logistics, which raised $25 million in June. Others to watch are Cloudleaf, Polte and SenseGiz, which offer IoT services and sensors for shippers to improve visibility throughout the supply chain. FourKites uses machine learning and data analytics for more efficient deliveries. Others innovating in delivery are Dispatch, which offers an Uber-like service connecting businesses with drivers, and Zipline, whose autonomous drones deliver medical supplies to remote areas.
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