Deal Abstract

Robot company that wants to deploy thousands of tiny delivery robots. Currently has 50 robots in production with the city of San Jose, generating ~$280k in revenue last year. Raises questions about whether the future of delivery is Kiwibots, Amazon drones, Uber’s network of drivers or autonomous vehicles.

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The 6 Calacanis Characteristics (91 161 18)

1. A startup that is based in SVYes: Berkeley, CA (but also Medellin, Colombia)
2. Has at least 2 founders Yes: 3
3. Has product in the market Yes
4. 6 months of continuous user growth or 6 months of revenue.Yes: Revenue doubled from 2018 (136k) to 2019 (279k).
5. Notable investors?No: Don’t recognize any of the following (Berkeley Skydeck, Infinity, Prototype Capital, & TYLT Ventures)
6. Post-funding, will have 18 months of runway No: Only raised $323k and burned 2.6MM in 2019 (218k monthly.) At present, only has 1.5 months of burn.

The 7 Thiel Questions (ETMPDDS)

  1. The Engineering question:
    • Uncertain: is this driving robot really 10x better than Amazon’s flying drone deliveries? Link.
  2. The Timing question
    • Uncertain: Sensors and ubitquitous Internet help the connectivity side but uncertain if it helps the hardware side.
  3. The monopoly question
    • Uncertain: If Amazon’s drones are good enough, what’s to prevent them from going AmazonGo and licensing the technology out to competitors much like Tesla open sources its battery technology to own the standard?
  4. The people question: 
    • Good: CEO and COO seem very strong.
  5. The distribution question
    • Bad: Would be great if one of them had experience with a large delivery chain (e.g. Pizza Hut, which they referenced,) to secure hundreds of thousands of these robots to finish last mile delivery.
  6. The durability question
    • Good: Once you build the end to end robotic infrastructure to restaurants chains & food delivery aggregators, this is very defensive.
  7. *What is the hopeful secret?

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