Above the Fold: Supply Chain Logistics News (September 24, 2021)

Who says there’s no such thing as a money tree?

There’s at least one such tree in the supply chain and logistics forest, where technology companies and logistics service providers keep plucking its leaves. Check out the first ten news items below: they’re all related to acquisitions and funding rounds.

I wish I had a money tree in my backyard, but all I have are oaks and other trees that are starting to shed their leaves. Soon, I’ll rake those fallen leaves and bag them up, but they’re worthless when it comes to paying college tuition bills (or any other bills, for that matter).

No money tree in my backyard, but I love autumn, nonetheless.

On to this week’s supply chain and logistics news:

“We’re In the Money”

Ports are still congested. Capacity remains constrained. Rates are still sky high across all modes. Shipments are still delayed. It’s still hard to find drivers and warehouse workers. 

There you have it: a quick summary of the current state of supply chain and logistics. The same as it was last week, and it will be the same next week (and for the foreseeable future too).

But against that backdrop, many technology companies and logistics service providers are singing “The Gold Digger’s Song: We’re In The Money.”

Here are some examples from the list above:

  • project44 announced that it has acquired [for $255 million in total consideration] Austin-based Convey, a last-mile technology provider.
  • Emerge “has raised $130 million in a Series B funding round to expand product development and research while significantly scaling their enterprise sales efforts.” 
  • Transfix announced “it has entered into a definitive business combination agreement with G Squared Ascend I, Inc., a special purpose acquisition company.
  • Blume Global “announced it has raised new equity from London-based Bridgepoint Group…This latest funding values Blume Global at $500 million.”
  • 3G announced today “that the company has completed a $15 million financing round led by Sumeru Equity Partners, Hercules Capital, and existing investors.”
  • Blue Ridge announced “a strategic investment from Great Hill Partners, a private equity firm that invests in high-growth, disruptive companies.”

Why all of this funding and M&A?

There are many factors, but here’s one: there is a transformation taking place in the supply chain and logistics realm, where new entrants in both the technology and service provider segments are challenging and disrupting the old guard (while also blurring the traditional lines between technology and service providers). This is triggering a race to grow in size and scope and market share as quickly as possible (profitability be damned for now, in many cases), which requires more and more money.

Only a few will survive this disruption cycle. And over time they will become the old guard. Then new startups will arrive and the disruption cycle will begin again in a few years. 

(And as long as interest rates are low, the money will flow.)

And with that, have a happy weekend!

Song of the Week: “Vertigo” by Alice Merton