Every time a startup fails, I am overcome by a sense of melancholy. But the collapse of supply chain startups is particularly disheartening. Convoy, a Seattle-based digital freight network founded in 2015, shut down and sold its assets to Flexport, another troubled supply chain freight startup.
I get smarter from reading things like this. Another barrier is that unlike a platform such as Uber or AirBnB ( 2 of your other favourites to analyse) - Convoy , in a pure platform model, would have been reliant on existing customers of brokers.. ie the truck drivers. Uber did not start by offering Taxi drivers lower fares to take their passengers. It untapped a wider, cheaper pool. AirBnB didn't try and renegoiate with existing holiday home owners to get out of contracts ..it unleashed capacity and enabled any home to become a "hotel". Now if you can only explain why Real Estate Brokers still make 6% in the US......
I loved your take on Convoy’s sudden collapse. You definitely identified some key challenges that the WSJ article may have missed. Right now, as venture capitalists are more diligent after the oversubscribed rounds of 2021, it’s especially pertinent to keep an eye on similar startups that balance on the edge of “market-making” versus something like “frictionless facilitating.”
I’ve noticed a few recurring themes in your newsletters: 1) the pandemic accelerated massive changes and exposed existing flaws, 2) small difficulties can morph into huge supply chain impediments, and 3) we’re not ready for automation in many industries. I’m excited to see how these concepts continue to play out in your future posts!