Amazon expands same-day Prime delivery to 6 more U.S. cities

Amazon announced this morning it’s expanding its faster, same-day delivery service to half a dozen more U.S. cities. The service, which the retailer has been working to make same-day delivery even faster over the past year, now offers consumers in a number of markets the ability to shop up to 3 million items on Amazon.com, then receive their orders in only a few hours.

To do so, Amazon invested in what it called “mini-fulfillment centers” closer to where customers lived in select U.S. markets, initially in Philadelphia, Phoenix, Orlando, and Dallas. Those customers could then shop across a dozen merchandise categories, including Baby, Beauty & Health, Kitchen & Dining, Electronics, Pet Supplies, and more. As the pandemic continued to impact Amazon’s business, in November 2020, Amazon expanded its faster same-day service to more cities, to include Nashville and Washington, D.C.

With today’s expansion, Amazon is rolling out same-day delivery to Prime members in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Tampa, Charlotte, and Houston, bringing the total markets served to 12. In these markets, shoppers will be able to place orders online throughout the day then have items on their doorstep in as fast as 5 hours, Amazon says. Customers can also place orders by midnight to have their orders arrive the following morning.

The service continues to be free with no additional charges on orders over $35 that qualify for same-day delivery. Orders under $35 have a $2.99 fee for Prime customers, and a $12.99 fee for non-members. Prime membership, meanwhile, is $12.99 per month or $119 per year.

The time frame commitments for same-day delivery are the same as those Amazon promised last year when it first announced its plans to speed up Prime delivery. Orders placed between midnight and 8 AM will arrive today by 1 PM. Orders placed between 8 AM and 1 PM arrive by 6 PM; those placed between 1 PM and 5 PM will arrive by 10 PM; and those placed between 5 PM and midnight will arrive overnight by 8 AM. That means customers can place orders fairly late and receive their items before they head out of the house the next day.

Faster same-day delivery has been one of the most significant services Amazon has used to challenge rivals like Walmart and Target, who both benefit from having a large brick-and-mortar footprint that allows them to more quickly serve their customers through same-day order pickup, curbside pickup, and same-day delivery services. While Walmart partners with third-parties on its same-day service, Express delivery, largely focused on grocery, Target acquired delivery service Shipt in 2017 to bring its fast delivery services in-house.

In response to the growing competition, Amazon has been recently acquiring smaller warehouse space inside major urban metros, including in these six new markets where it’s now announcing same-day delivery, as well as larger markets, like New York, and even suburban neighborhoods. It also acquired Whole Foods for $137.7 billion in 2017, not only to more fully participate in the online grocery business, but also in part because of its large retail footprint.

As Amazon has sped up the pace of what’s available under “Prime” delivery, it has wound down its older “Prime Now” business, which was retired Aug. 30 and will be fully shut down by year-end. The separate app had allowed customers to shop items that were available in one or two hours for an additional fee.

The news follows Amazon’s earning miss last week, when the retailer fell short of Wall St.’s estimates for revenue, and gave a weaker than-expected outlook for the quarter ahead, which Amazon attributed to difficult comparisons with a time frame that included Covid lockdowns during height of the pandemic in 2020. The company reported $113.08 billion in revenue and earnings of $15.12, versus expectations of $115.2 billion and $12.30.

#amazon, #amazon-prime, #amazon-com, #baltimore, #charlotte, #chicago, #dallas, #delivery-services, #detroit, #ecommerce, #food-delivery, #houston, #nashville, #new-york, #online-grocery, #online-shopping, #orlando, #philadelphia, #phoenix, #prime, #prime-now, #retailers, #shipt, #tampa, #target, #united-states, #walmart, #washington-d-c, #whole-foods

Smoking pizza ovens and pilfered dollar bills, or the early story of RapidSOS

The irony of 911 is that it’s a number that everyone knows (at least in the United States), and yet, no one really thinks about it. Few of us will dial 911 more than a handful of times in our lives, and even when we do, we will meet the police officers and paramedics who respond, never the 911 call taker who handled the dispatch. These systems and the people behind them garner meager attention, whether from Congress, state legislatures, the public or anyone else outside the emergency response community.

Except, that is, for Michael Martin.

RapidSOS’ story is one of a mission, a community, a team and a dream that every emergency should have the best chance to be resolved as positively as possible.

He, along with Nick Horelik and Matt Bozik very early on, became fascinated by the complexity and lack of innovation in the sector. “Uber had just come out. I could press a button and get a car. Why can’t I just press a button and get an ambulance? And then it sparks this curiosity,” Martin said. He sought knowledge, but for such a critical system, information was sparse. “The Wikipedia article on George Clooney is way longer than the one on 911,” he noted.

So began a nearly decade-long journey with RapidSOS that would see Martin and his team first attempt to build a consumer-safety app called Haven before pivoting exclusively to helping dozens of tech companies, including Apple and Google and device companies like SiriusXM, connect to a myriad of 911 software vendors. Along the way, they experienced the full vagaries of startup life, frenetically pivoting from product to product as they tried to get consumers to even care about emergencies.

It wasn’t easy, and it took years before the company finally hit its stride. But RapidSOS’s story is one of a mission, a community, a team and a dream that every emergency should have the best chance to be resolved as positively as possible.

Indiana: The callroads of America

Martin grew up outside the rural town of Rockport, Indiana, population about 2,500 today. His mother was the local doctor, and he and his brother habituated to the openness and ennui of rural farming life. “We grew up on 35 acres of land; we had an enormous garden and a little hobby orchard and stuff like that,” he said. “We had ‘Drive-Your-Tractor-To-School Day.’”

#911, #api, #apple, #braemar-energy-ventures, #ec-1, #emergency-response, #extra-crunch-ec-1, #federal-communications-commission, #finance, #google, #government, #harvard, #highland-capital, #indiana, #kickstarter, #michael-martin, #motorola-solutions, #nashville, #rapidsos, #rapidsos-ec-1, #startups, #tc, #telecommunications, #teller, #uber, #venture-capital

FlyMachine raises $21 million to build a virtual concerts platform for a post-pandemic world

As concerts and live events return to the physical world stateside, many in the tech industry have wondered whether some of the pandemic-era opportunities around virtualizing these events are lost for the time being.

San Francisco-based FlyMachine is aiming to seek out the holy grail of the digital music industry, finding a way to capture some of the magic of live concerts and performances in a live-streamed setting. The startup hopes that pandemic era consumer habits around video chat socialization combined with an industry in need of digital diversification can push their flavor of virtual concerts into the lives of music fans.

The startup’s ambitions aren’t cheap, FlyMachine tells TechCrunch it has raised $21 million in investor funding to bankroll its plans. The funding has been led by Greycroft Partners and SignalFire, with additional participation from Primary Venture Partners, Contour Venture Partners, Red Sea Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank.

The virtual concert industry didn’t have as big of a lockdown moment as some hoped for. Spotify experimented with virtual events. Meanwhile, startups like Wave raised huge bouts of VC funding to turn real performers into digital avatars in a bid to create more digital-native concerts. And while some smaller artists embraced shows over Zoom or worked with startups like Oda who created live concert subscriptions, there were few mainstream hits among bigger acts.

To make FlyMachine’s brand of virtual concerts a thing, the startup isn’t trying to convert potential in-person attendees of a show into virtual participants, instead hoping to create an attractive experience for the folks who would normally have to skip the show. Whether those virtual attendees were too far from a venue, couldn’t get a babysitter for the night, or just aren’t jazzed about a mosh pit scene anymore, FlyMachine is hoping there are enough potential attendees on the bubble to sustain the startup as they try to blur the lines between “a night in and a night out,” CEO Andrew Dreskin says.

The startup’s strategy centers on building up partnerships with name brand concert venues around the US — Bowery Ballroom in New York City, Bimbo’s 365 Club in San Francisco, The Crocodile in Seattle, Marathon Music Works in Nashville and Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles, among them — and live-streaming some of the shows at those venues to at-home audiences. FlyMachine’s team has deep roots in the music industry, Dreskin founded Ticketfly (acquired by Pandora) while co-founder Rick Farman is also the co-founder of Superfly which puts on the Bonnaroo and Outside Lands music festivals.

In terms of actual experience — and I had the chance to experience one of the shows before writing this — FlyMachine has done their best to recreate the experience of shouting over the tunes to talk with your buddies nearby. In FlyMachine’s world this is attending the show in a “private room” with your other friends live-streaming in video chat bubbles from their homes. It’s well-done and doesn’t distract too much from the actual concert, but you can adjust the sound levels of your friends and the music when the time calls for it.

FlyMachine’s platform launch earlier this year, arriving as many Americans have been vaccinated and many concert-goers are preparing to return to normal, might have been considered a bit late to the moment, but the founding team sees a long-term opportunity that COVID only further highlighted.

“We weren’t in a mad dash to get the product out the door while people were sequestered in their homes because we knew this would be part of the fabric of society going forward,” Dreskin tells TechCrunch.

#articles, #ceo, #co-founder, #concert, #contour-venture-partners, #entrepreneurship, #greycroft-partners, #los-angeles, #microsoft-windows, #nashville, #new-york-city, #oda, #operating-systems, #primary-venture-partners, #red-sea-ventures, #san-francisco, #seattle, #silicon-valley-bank, #spotify, #startup-company, #superfly, #tc, #techcrunch, #ticketfly, #united-states, #virtual-concert

Porter Road’s sustainable, whole animal butchery raises $10 million to expand across the U.S.

In the nearly ten years since it launched as a whole animal butchery out of a storefront in East Nashville, the founders of Porter Road have wanted to herd America’s meat industry down a new path.

Now the company has $10 million in financing from investors including L37 Ventures, River Park Ventures, Middleland, FJ Labs, Kelvin Beachum along with previous investors MAX Ventures, Tribeca Venture Partners, and Slow Ventures to bring that mission to a broader swath of the country.

Since the company bought its own slaughterhouse back in 2015 and expanded to e-commerce in 2018 it has been shipping its selections of lamb, beef, pork, chicken and sausages from local farms to tables across the U.S.

The new money will be used to scale the company’s sustainable agriculture and its pasture-raised meat for the direct-to-consumer business, its shop in Nashville, and for wholesale distribution to restaurants around the country.

It’s going to expand its operations in Princeton, Ky with a new USDA processing facility that’s 4.5 times larger to meet new demand. That move will create 80 new jobs in the small town and is part of a broader agricultural renaissance in Kentucky.

“It’s easy to back founders who are as comfortable on the manufacturing line as they are in the boardroom, and who see the world differently and have the deep domain expertise to execute on that vision,” said L37 Partner Randall Ussery in a statement. “They have spent years perfecting the Porter Road way which no company nor incumbent can replicate overnight. They are a category killer in the meat industry and have built a moat around their brand.”

Porter Road delivery box of a selection of its steaks, sausages and bacon. Image Credit: Porter Road

One indication of the ways in which Porter Road differs from its larger competitors is in the way it handled the COVID-19 pandemic at its facilities.

Due to its limited production schedule and measures like staggered break times, mask requirements and social distancing rules, the company was able to avoid having any outbreaks at its facilities, according to the company’s co-founder and chief executive, Chris Carter. “We had a handful of people who got sick, but [COVID-19] didn’t spread in Princeton,” said Carter.

And despite the push for more plant-based diets, Carter says that his company’s focus on pasture-raised animals and whole animal butchery should appeal to folks who care about sustainable production. “We care about our farmers and we care about the way our animals are raised,” said Carter. “That’s the whole point of what we’re doing… Porter Road is about animal utilization. It’s about honoring the life of an animal so we find an outlet for every single piece.”

Porter Road is expanding its product line into cooking tallow and fats, and cross cut bones for bone marrow dishes, Carter said.

“The food system is broken and in need of a substantial change. Today’s consumer is demanding a deeper level of connection to their food and can see past misleading labels and buzzwords,” said  Carter, in a statement. “We are delivering trust, transparency, and flavor so no one has to compromise, all while supporting our farmers.”

#america, #e-commerce, #fj-labs, #food, #kentucky, #max-ventures, #meat, #nashville, #slow-ventures, #tc, #tribeca-venture-partners, #united-states, #usda

Launching Panoramic Ventures, Atlanta’s BIP Capital adds a new partner and plans $300 million new VC fund

The Atlanta-based BIP Capital has a new name for its venture capital operations (Panoramic Ventures); a new partner (Paul Judge); and is launching a $300 million new fund in its bid to plant a flag as the premier venture fund among the rising startup cities across the country.

Miami may have grabbed headlines recently as a new hub for venture capital and technology startups, but like other cities across the Southeast it’s lacked venture funds of a significant size since the early days of the dot-com bubble. Panoramic wants to be the fundraising destination for entrepreneurs outside of traditional tech hubs like Boston, Silicon Valley and New York as these new tech hubs emerge.

Atlanta, which already boasts several startup companies that have achieved billion-dollar valuations including Greenlight Financial and Calendly, has an equally burgeoning startup scene and an opportunity to become the central hub for venture capital investment in a region that encompasses several other rising tech hubs in the Southeast like Birmingham, Miami, Nashville, and New Orleans.

It’s a strategy similar to the one that Drive Capital has employed to become a leading fund in the Midwest and across the U.S.

Under the new partnership, which will include famed early stage Atlanta investor, Paul Judge, BIP Capital’s venture activities will operate under the Panoramic Ventures brand.

Should the firm manage to raise the $300 million it has targeted for Panoramic’s inaugural investment vehicle it would become the largest venture fund in the Southeast.

“It’s important to have a fund at that scale,” said Mark Buffington, a co-founder of BIP Capital and Panoramic Ventures. “You see the venture activity that is increasing in the region [and] one thing that’s been missing is a really active venture fund that can scale up as companies grow.”

Panoramic intends to be active at the seed stage while having the capacity to make investments in later stage venture backed companies as well, according to the two co-founders. And the firm will also try to focus on a more diverse group of entrepreneurs, thanks to the addition of Paul Judge.

Judge, a Black serial entrepreneur and investor, was the co-founder of the Atlanta-based voice recognition tech developer Pindrop, the Wi-Fi startup Luma Home, and security tech developer Purewire.  He’s also an investor several startups across the Southeast through his own venture initiatives, including Techsquare Labs and Judge sits on the investment committee for the SoftBank Opportunity Fund, focused on Black, Hispanic and Native American founders. His portfolio includes companies like LeaseQuery, Cove.tool, OncoLens and Eventeny.

About $125 million has already been soft-circled for the new Panoramic Ventures fund, which expects to work closely with some of the other investment firms that have cropped up or established a presence in the Southeast. That includes firms like Outlander Labs, founded by the husband and wife investment team of Paige and Leura Craig, and the LA-based firm, Mucker Labs, which has an investment partner working out of Nashville.

“There’s been an absence of this type of energy and this type of heft in a venture fund in Atlanta,” said Judge. “That’s the hole that we’ve been aiming to fill.”

Panoramic will invest in Seed, Series A, and Series B funding rounds, the company said in a statement. Investment areas will focus on include business-to-business software as a service companies, healthcare software, financial technologies, digital media, cybersecurity, and frontier technologies. 

#atlanta, #bip-capital, #boston, #business-incubators, #business-software, #calendly, #co-founder, #corporate-finance, #digital-media, #drive-capital, #economy, #energy, #entrepreneurship, #finance, #judge, #louisiana, #miami, #money, #mucker-labs, #nashville, #new-orleans, #new-york, #paige, #pindrop, #private-equity, #softbank-opportunity-fund, #startup-company, #tc, #techsquare-labs, #united-states, #venture-capital, #venture-capital-investment, #voice-recognition

VC meets the land of opportunity

The wave of venture capital interest in geographies other than Silicon Valley has been building momentum over the past 5+ years. If you measure capital flow by Twitter chatter alone, you may assume the tidal wave is about to break and checks are being doled out via T-shirt launchers repurposed from hockey games.

Meanwhile, VCs will approach founders saying, “We are now looking into markets beyond Silicon Valley.”

When Mucker launched back in 2011, our founding partners, who had left Silicon Valley for LA, set out to prove that high-growth companies can be built anywhere. Our portfolio from this past decade is a testament to this very narrative. With offices in LA, Austin and Nashville — and investments all over North America, we are seeing a marked increase in receptivity to an idea we had over a decade ago to invest across the U.S. and into Canada.

As of late, I’m receiving more and more outreach from VCs based in San Francisco, New York and beyond interested in deal flow here in Nashville and the Southeast.

When we think about the opportunity beyond Silicon Valley, we are really speaking of America.

In reality, there will be some lag time before the checks being written by these same VCs are consistent with both the outward hype and existing market opportunity. The broadened geographic focus of VCs for marketing purposes and FOMO is not adequately capturing the real narrative.

In short: When we think about the opportunity beyond Silicon Valley, we are really speaking of America.

America is the opportunity and we are worthy of investment, aren’t we?

“We” is a loaded declaration. I write this as a venture capitalist and also as the biracial daughter of a first-generation immigrant, with both of my parents growing up poor by most people’s standards. One branch of my family immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico during the Mexican Revolution, the other harkens back to rural Oklahoma. The founders I meet day in and day out in the Southeast oftentimes tell a similar story.

My story is that of the average American, and yet feels light years apart from what people perceive as the “innovation economy.” Many of the people I’ve met in venture capital this past decade come from prestigious lineages with parents and grandparents who may have never associated with mine. And yet, here we are. This is America.

While Silicon Valley’s origins and climb to international stardom center around a collection of innovators, attracting more innovators and capital as the decades passed, one critical element arguably fell by the wayside — America as an expansive and diverse collection of states and people. Annual reporting on where venture capital dollars flow supports this discrepancy, with the majority of funds being funneled into companies based in and around Silicon Valley.

US VC deals by region as of June 2019

U.S. VC deals by region, as of June 2019. Image Credits: PitchBook/NVCA Venture Monitor

We find ourselves at the threshold of a decade where America will be rightfully recast as the land of opportunity for VC dollars to flow into the products and services fueling America’s future. And, at the helm of such innovations needs to be the people closest to these market opportunities, in full alignment with their customers and the nuances to best serve them.

In a post-COVID world, customers have never demanded more transparency into supply chains, workplace culture and equity ownership. Customers are more informed than ever before, with a 24/7 info line on brands and a growing scrutiny on where to place their hard-earned dollars. In short, they demand to be seen, and the founders who recognize this are the ones thriving in this new climate.

Follow the money

Where do the customers live? I’ll give you a hint: They are largely not in Silicon Valley.

U.S. population around Nashville, TN. Image Credits: Nashville 2018 Regional Economic Development Guide

I wrote about the unfair advantage of Nashville back in 2018 when I announced the launch of Build In SE, a community I co-founded to support founders choosing to build their companies in the Southeast. Nashville is at the center of over half of the United States population within a radius of 650 miles, and within a two-hour flight of 75% of the U.S. market.

Customers come in all shapes and sizes, and founders with boots on the ground in these markets, wearing the same brand of proverbial boots as these customers, carry an unfair advantage. These same founders historically bootstrapped their companies out of need, as access to early-stage, high-risk capital can be scarce and vary widely city by city, state by state, industry by industry.

These same founders still built household name companies in the tech and innovation economy, including the likes of Mailchimp, Calendly, Lynda.com, and GoFundMe (their Series A valued them at $600 million pre-money). All of these companies have another thing in common — they were founded “beyond Silicon Valley.”

Talent as the stronger magnet

Another macrotrend at play is that of the increasing distribution of talent beyond traditional metropolitan strongholds like San Francisco and New York. Entrepreneurs, technologists and operational talent are lifestyle-seeking at a time in history when life feels all the more precious. Moving to cities like Nashville, Austin, Atlanta, Denver, Durham, Miami, et. al. means proximity to aging family members, affordable childcare and outdoor activities.

These simple pleasures were the tradeoffs people made when “pursuing their dreams” in coastal cities, picking up to move in pursuit of money (sometimes better weather). Seemingly overnight, capital abounds in the private markets just as talent becomes increasingly scarce and therefore valuable. The pendulum swung, and capital became the weaker of the two magnets; Wall Street began moving up Manhattan island toward coffee shops and dog parks when talent began to pose the question, “How long do I want my commute to be?” and “How much time do I want to reclaim for my family, and myself?”

2020 was the match to ignite this dry hillside. People trapped inside of cramped quarters with resources left to invest in a new life (or in other cases, left with nothing to lose) packed their bags for a new, up-and-coming metro.

For some, this comes with a newfound sense of community and belonging, as I experienced in 2017 when I moved from my lifelong home of Los Angeles to Nashville. In LA, my local neighborhood hardly knew one another due to the transient nature of the town. In Nashville, I became part of something greater than myself.

Opportunities abound everywhere

One of the big frustrations expressed by founders I know in markets like Nashville, Atlanta, the Research Triangle, Cincinnati and Toronto, is, “I keep hearing there is more capital available, but I’m not seeing it.” They will meet with investors, then be told they are too early, raising too little money, or too much, or not going after a “big enough market.”

Sometimes, one or more of these may be true. However, there are instances where these investor responses may be thinly veiled criticism of the perceived ability of the founders who might not sound, look or behave like Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.

Closing this gap of understanding between pattern-matching VCs of varying skill and startup CEOs across the country will require hard work in the coming decade. A big piece of this will require breaking bread as neighbors, with kids in the same schools, a shared affinity for the local greasy spoon and a mutual trust. This will be step one. Though really, it will require much more alignment and rigor around the very definition of America.

It is up to investors to capture this opportunity in the next decade. In fact, it is our job.

#column, #diversity, #entrepreneurship, #nashville, #private-equity, #startups, #tc, #venture-capital

From bioprinting lab-grown meat in Russia to Beyond Meat in the US, KFC is embracing the future of food

From a partnership with the Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions to make chicken meat replacements using plant material and lab cultured chicken cells to an expansion of its Beyond Fried Chicken pilots to Southern California, KFC is aggressively pushing forward with its experiments around the future of food.

In Russia, that means providing 3D Bioprinting with breading and spices to see if the company’s chicken replacements can match the KFC taste, according to a statement from the company. As the company said, there are no other methods available on the market that can allow for the creation of complex products from animal cells.

“3D bioprinting technologies, initially widely recognized in medicine, are nowadays gaining popularity in producing foods such as meat,” said Yusef Khesuani, co-founder and Managing Partner of 3D Bioprinting Solutions, in a statement. “In the future, the rapid development of such technologies will allow us to make 3D-printed meat products more accessible and we are hoping that the technology created as a result of our cooperation with KFC will help accelerate the launch of cell-based meat products on the market.”

KFC beyond meat

Image: Beyond Meat

Closer to its home base in the US, KFC is working with the publicly traded plant-based meat substitute developer Beyond Meat on an expansion of their recent trials for KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken.

Continuing its wildly successful limited trials in Atlanta, Nashville, and Charlotte, KFC is now setting its sights on the bigger markets in Southern California, near Beyond Meat’s headquarters in Los Angeles.

Beginning on July 20, KFC will be selling Beyond Fried Chicken at 50 stores the Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego areas, while supplies last, the company said.

Unlike the 3D bioprinting process used by its Russian partner, Beyond Meat uses plant-based products exclusively to make its faux chicken meat.

Beyond Fried Chicken first appeared on the market last year in Atlanta and was made available in additional markets in the South earlier this year.  The menu item — first available in a one-day consumer test in Atlanta — sold out in less than five hours, the company said.

“I’ve said it before: despite many imitations, the flavor of Kentucky Fried Chicken is one that has never been replicated, until Beyond Fried Chicken,” said Andrea Zahumensky, chief marketing officer, KFC U.S. “We know the east coast loved it, so we thought we’d give those on the west coast a chance to tell us what they think in an exclusive sneak peek.

Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets will be available as a six or 12-piece à la carte or as part of a combo, complete with a side and medium drink starting at $6.99, plus tax.

Meanwhile, KFC’s Russian project aims to create the world’s first lab-made chicken nuggets, and plans to release them this fall in Moscow.

Popularizing lab-grown meat could have a significant impact on climate change according to reports. The company cited statistics indicating that growing meat from cells could half the energy consumption involved in meat production and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while  dramatically cutting land use.

“Crafted meat products are the next step in the development of our ‘restaurant of the future’ concept,” said Raisa Polyakova, General Manager of KFC Russia & CIS, in a statement. “Our experiment in testing 3D bioprinting technology to create chicken products can also help address several looming global problems. We are glad to contribute to its development and are working to make it available to thousands of people in Russia and, if possible, around the world.”

#articles, #atlanta, #beyond-meat, #charlotte, #east-coast, #emerging-technologies, #energy-consumption, #fast-food, #food, #food-and-drink, #forward, #fried-chicken, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #kfc, #los-angeles, #moscow, #nashville, #russia, #san-diego, #synthetic-biology, #tc, #united-states, #west-coast

Tesla scouts head to Tulsa, Austin as hunt for Cybertruck gigafactory location nears end

Tesla officials visited two sites in Tulsa, Oklahoma this week to search for a location for its future and fifth gigafactory that will produce its all-electric Cybertruck and Model Y crossover, a source familiar with the situation told TechCrunch.

Company representatives also visited Austin. A final decision has not been made, but Austin and Tulsa are among the finalists, according to the source. The AP also reported Tulsa and Austin as top picks for the gigafactory.

Tesla expects to make a decision as soon as next month, and “certainly within three months,” CEO Elon Musk said April 29 during the company’s first quarter earnings call.

Musk tweeted in March that Tesla was scouting locations for a so-called “Cybertruck Gigafactory.” Musk said, at the time, that the factory would be located in the central part of the U.S. and would be used to produce Model Y crossovers for the East Coast market as well as the cybertruck.

Not long after the tweets, TechCrunch learned that Tesla was eyeing Nashville and had been in talks with officials there. It’s unclear if Nashville is still in the running.

An email was sent to Tesla requesting comment. The article will be updated if Tesla responds.

This next gigafactory, wherever it is located, will likely be larger and produce multiple products, CFO Zachary Kirkhorn said during the same April 29 call.

“That’s under a belief that there’s significant efficiencies by having as much as possible and similar product lines under the same roof and as much vertical integration as possible all in one facility,” Kirkhorn said.

Musk has referred to these as future plants as “tera” factories — a nod to terawatt, or more specifically a terawatt-hour of battery capacity. The company’s first “gigafactory” is in Sparks, Nevada. The massive structure, which has surpassed. 1.9 million square feet, is where Tesla produces battery packs and electric motors for its Model 3 vehicles. The company has a joint venture with Panasonic,  which is making the lithium-ion cells.

Tesla dubbed the Sparks plant a “gigafactory” because the company said at the time it would be capable of producing 35 gigawatt-hours per year of battery cells.

Tesla assembles its Model S, Model X and Model 3 vehicles in Fremont, Calif. at a factory that was once home to GM and Toyota’s New United Motor Manufacturing Inc (NUMMI) operation. Tesla acquired the factory in 2010. The first Model S was produced at the factory in June 2012.

“Gigafactory 2” in Buffalo, New York, is where Tesla produces solar cells and modules. The company’s third gigafactory is located in Shanghai, China and started producing the Model 3 late last year. The first deliveries began in early January.

Tesla is now preparing to build another factory near Berlin. Once complete, this German factory will produce the Model 3 and Model Y for the European market.

#austin, #automotive, #cars, #east-coast, #elon-musk, #gigafactory, #hyperloop, #nashville, #oklahoma, #tesla, #tesla-roadster, #the-boring-company, #transport, #transportation, #tulsa, #united-states

Spin restarts scooter business in four markets

Spin, the electric scooter startup acquired by Ford in 2019 for nearly $100 million, has restarted operations in four U.S. markets as COVID-19 related closures begin to ease.

The company has resumed operations in Orlando, Nashville, Columbus, Ohio and St. Louis. The ramp up of operations will depend on the city, the company said. In Columbus, Spin has deployed its entire 200-scooter fleet, the largest number allowed under the city’s permit. Spin is putting fewer scooters than permits allow in other cities. The company said it will scale up its scooter numbers based on demand.

Spin was operating in about 70 markets, a figure that includes college campuses and cities, up until the COVID-19 pandemic caused governments to issue stay-at-home orders. The company has maintained operations in some areas that have allowed it.

Spin said it has “enhanced” its safety protocols, which includes disinfecting scooters more often and requiring employees to wear gloves and face shields during their shifts.

The scooters are now disinfected every time they’re picked up for charging or enter a warehouse, the company said. Scooters with higher usage will be cleaned more frequently — as much as twice a day or more, a spokesperson said when asked for more details.

At warehouses, where Spin scooters are maintained, charged and cleaned, workers are supplied with disinfectant materials to properly clean high-traffic surfaces between every shift. Employees also carry disinfectant materials with them out in the field to clean scooters on the spot.
Spin said it has been working directly with cities to fill transportation gaps and deploy scooters where they are most needed.

Separately, the company said it has extended through May 31 a program that gives essential healthcare workers free 30-minute rides and helmets.

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