Last week I shared my thoughts on upcoming technology trends in the supply chain industry. Now I’d like to turn to Schematic’s network of advisers, senior executives and associate team to share their perspective on what emerging trends will reshape the supply chain industry this year.
Five years ago, the acquisition of Kiva created a market opportunity for a new wave of companies developing warehouse robots. While material handling equipment has always been a big part of distribution centers, this latest class of robots operates with an unprecedented level of autonomy powered by advanced sensors and software. Warehouse robots are a core focus of Schematic Ventures and, in this article, we hope to share our perspective.
At Schematic Ventures, I’ve invested in a few industrial software companies tackling automation and met with countless more. Over time I’ve noticed a common pattern: companies are following the strategic playbook of the modern computer software industry. However the industrial software market (or at least automation software) is still in its infancy and faces different market dynamics.
Entrepreneurs have been building software businesses for more than two decades which has brought us to a period of relative maturity in the current technology cycle. Over the years, we’ve distilled the strategies of the successful companies into best practices for the next entrepreneurs to follow. These methodologies are at the core of how we think about business so it’s worth taking a step back and reflecting on how we got here.
Given the enormous size of the entire supply chain market, verticals (and the start-ups within) are mostly discussed in isolation. I thought it would be interesting to examine start-ups in relation to the supply chain as a whole and soon noticed a pattern. Companies fell into one of three buckets: technology enabled, software infrastructure or automation infrastructure and each bucket seemed loosely tied to particular verticals.