Investing in DASH Systems
We’re excited to announce our investment in DASH Systems, along with Techstars and Make in LA, based on our belief in a highly automated future and the company’s mission to bring about the next generation of air cargo.
DASH, which stands for “direct air shipping,” was founded on a simple but radical premise—land the package not the plane.
The system allows any cargo plane to deliver packages to multiple destinations from a single flight by literally dropping packages out of the plane’s door in a container that self-navigates using UAV technology. This not only enables deliveries to remote or inaccessible areas, but it eliminates a significant portion of the logistics chain that is cumbersome, expensive, and inefficient.
To date, the company has delivered over 5,000 lbs. of cargo to remote locations in California, Idaho, Florida, South Carolina, Puerto Rico, and Louisiana. Next, DASH will focus on the Juneau, Alaska market. The Alaska air cargo industry alone represents a $1.2B addressable market served by only a handful of large traditional carriers.
According to the Alaska DOT, a surprising 82% of communities in Alaska are not served by the contiguous road system. “In most cases, no practical alternative to aviation exists.” Alaska has 6x more pilots per capita and 16x more aircraft per capita than the rest of the United States. Compounding the challenge, 96% of airports in Alaska cannot land planes during bad weather.
The disaster relief space also provides DASH with an ideal testing ground. In fact, DASH completed the first FAA-approved civilian aerial delivery during Hurricane Maria in late 2017.
DASH will benefit from consumer expectations shifting toward ever more convenient and speedy delivery. Services like Amazon’s Prime Free One-Day Shipping are making next day delivery the standard. However, Amazon is finding the costs associated with one-day delivery to be higher than expected due to challenges with inventory placement and network optimization. DASH is able to dramatically cut the number of destination hubs needed to service demand for a given geography, resulting in higher utilization, less fuel waste, a 2x reduction in cost, and a 5x increase in speed.
Eventually, we see direct air shipping leapfrogging the popular vision of drone delivery. Where last-mile drone delivery adds complexity to the logistics supply chain, DASH’s platform has the potential to remove the need for regional and local destination air and ground hubs. As the platform scales from dropping several kilograms to larger payloads, the time and cost savings will make DASH the fastest and cheapest way to deliver cargo in remote locations.
Joel Ifill and his team of aerospace and UAV experts are already making this vision a reality. We’re proud to partner with Joel and the rest of the DASH Systems team as they launch the next generation of air cargo one drop at a time.
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