This fireside chat recap is from Day 2 of FreightWaves’ Future of Supply Chain live event in Rogers, Arkansas. For more information and content from the event, click here.
FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: How AI will be used in reverse and forward logistics for e-commerce shipping.
DETAILS: The massive surge in e-commerce over the past couple of years has opened significant opportunities for founders and the venture capitalists who support them — but is the door closing on those opportunities as freight markets begin to downshift? Investor Caroline Duffy of Construct Capital discusses why that’s not the case for supply chain startups that understand the evolving demands of customers.
SPEAKER: Caroline Duffy, investor, Construct Capital
BIO: Duffy focuses on seed and series-A startups that are innovating in some of the largest sectors of the U.S. economy, such as manufacturing, supply chain and logistics, and delivery and mobility. Prior to Construct, Duffy spent several years building and investing in AI businesses with a focus on bridging cutting-edge AI technology with compelling use cases in overlooked and underinvested industries. She started her career as a management consultant, working primarily with Fortune 500 enterprise software and retail companies.
KEY QUOTES FROM CAROLINE DUFFY
“One of the trends we’re seeing is that the barrier to entry for a brand has never been lower. But the reality is, with that increased competition, the customer acquisition cost has gone up quite a bit — there are more and more brands fighting for the same eyeballs and on the same platforms. Which means customer retention has become all the more important.”
“There is upwards of $450 to $500 billion worth of goods that are returned at any given point in time in the U.S., and I think reverse logistics is going to become a requirement for a really highly scalable last-mile delivery system — but those pipes really have to be built out. Our existing last-mile delivery systems for the most part do not have a lot of the flexibility or tech enablement to allow for smooth reverse logistics.”
“As we think about [the current market], it’s really more the consistency of investing in fundamentals where there is a key problem to be solved, an innovative product, and a great team to produce it. So we don’t feel overly concerned in the public market shifts in what we’re seeing now, and impacting us at the early stage. Good companies will still be being built.”