8VC, the Austin, Texas-based venture capital firm run by Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale, is partnering with Morgan Stanley-backed Lineage Logistics, a company known for its global network of temperature-controlled cold storage facilities, to double down on investments in the transportation and logistics sector.
8VC co-founder and partner Jake Medwell is joining Lineage in an advisory role, while Lineage’s chief information officer Sudarsan Thattai is joining 8VC in an advisory role as well, as part of the formalized alliance between companies.
“I admire what Lineage Logistics has built over the last decade and am very excited to officially be partnered,” Medwell told CNBC. “They think about technology as a core pillar of business and it fits hand in hand with what I spend my time on at 8VC.”
The pandemic exposed the fragility of the global supply chain. With facilities in China and elsewhere shuttered, stores experienced dramatic shortages of apparel, car parts and packaging materials.
Still, supply chain software and warehousing technology attracted record venture backing in 2020, with North American and European investors funneling roughly $12.6 billion into more than 550 start-up deals, according to PitchBook data. The growing demand for warehousing space and supply chain solutions, coupled with high levels of VC funding, are giving rise to companies like Lineage, which ranked No. 17 on this year’s CNBC Disruptor 50 list.
Founded with the acquisition of a single warehouse in Seattle in 2008, the company offers a global network of temperature-controlled cold-storage facilities for proteins, bakery products, dairy, and fruits and vegetables. It also manages processing facilities and automated, port-based and custom warehousing.
Lineage is among the most recent innovators in cold storage, applying the latest in data science and vision technology to what is essentially a square-footage challenge.
It “blast freezes” cold air at temperatures as low as -25 to -35 Fahrenheit on up to 5 million pounds of product a day at a single facility, and using only 40%-50% of the time required in traditional blast freeze operations. That proprietary solution, combining shelf space with calculus, received one of its multiple awards from the Department of Energy — and a patent for the company, which has many more, some still in the application process.
It uses LIDAR and stereoscopic cameras to map facilities to sub-millimeter accuracy, “effectively playing Tetris in the physical world … to design warehouse racks that store product as efficiently as physically possible,” the company explains.
“At Lineage, we develop and deploy industry-leading technology and applied sciences to increase distribution efficiency, advance sustainability, reduce environmental impact, minimize supply chain waste, and, most importantly, help to feed the world,” Thattai told CNBC.
“This partnership with 8VC is a strong testament to our commitment to build lasting technology platforms and create long-term economic and societal value. I’m excited for what the future holds for the next-generation of supply chain and logistics technologies.”
Among 8VC’s better-known investments to date are Palmer Luckey’s start-up, Anduril, which is building a virtual border wall, and Dustin Moskovitz’s software company, Asana, which went public in September. The firm has also put a lot of money into health-care companies like insurance provider Oscar Health and men’s health company Hims.
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