- Why did Jeff Bezos just invest in the “Uber of trucking”?
- Can science create life? (Controversial…)
- Remember the Fukushima reactors? You won’t believe what’s happening at the site now…
Tomorrow is an exciting day in the world of electric vehicle (EV) technology.
Tesla will announce its electric pickup truck on Thursday evening in Los Angeles. If it brings anything like the success Tesla has seen with its Model S, Model X, and Model 3, the pickup truck industry is in trouble.
About three million pickups are sold in the U.S. alone each year. This is a massive market.
And Tesla’s pickup will be unique. EVs have much more torque than internal combustion engines, so they are much quicker to drive. And in the case of Tesla’s pickup, it can tow 300,000 pounds… That’s more than 10 times as much as a Ford F-150.
I’m excited to see the details on Thursday evening. The stock is up 100% from its June low of this year. I remain bullish and am enjoying watching the Tesla permabears lose their shorts on this incredible technology company.
Now on to The Bleeding Edge…
The “Uber of trucking” is on the rise…
Early stage company Convoy just completed a massive $400 million Series D venture capital (VC) round. The company is now valued at $2.75 billion despite only being founded in 2015.
This company provides an on-demand shipment service that matches carriers with trucking capacity with freight shippers that need to transport cargo. In other words, Convoy seeks to provide shipping on demand, much like Uber provides personal transportation on demand.
And, of course, Convoy is using bleeding-edge technology to tackle these complex logistics problems. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to optimize the performance of this highly complex logistics task.
By mining logistics and shipping data, Convoy’s AI can quickly match trucks with extra capacity with freight shippers needing to get goods from point A to point B quickly.
This is an exciting company to watch. The trucking and freight industry is riddled with stodgy incumbent companies that are ripe for disruption. And that’s just what Convoy plans to do.
But Convoy’s early investors were what really caught my eye…
A star-studded cast of private investors backs Convoy. Big names like T. Rowe Price, Fidelity Management, and CapitalG (Google’s VC arm) led the most recent financing round.
Then, if we look at earlier VC rounds, we see that Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos have invested in Convoy… as have early founders of LinkedIn and PayPal.
Bezos’ investment specifically is interesting. As we already know, artificial intelligence powers Amazon’s massive logistics network. It’s not a stretch to imagine that Amazon might utilize Convoy’s technology to further improve Amazon’s own technology.
This could be through a partnership or an outright acquisition. After all, Amazon has excelled at creating marketplaces. Why not create a marketplace for shipping and logistics?
I suspect this company will drive as much disruption in the trucking and freight industry as Uber did in the taxi industry. We will want to follow Convoy very closely, looking for an acquisition or possible IPO.
The first non-bacteria synthetic life-form is almost complete…
Fair warning, this next insight will be controversial…
We talked back in May about how scientists created a new form of bacteria by programming a new bacterial genome. This resulted in a synthetic life-form – a living organism that does not exist in nature.
Well, a team of researchers working with Genome Project-write (GP-write) – a large-scale genomic research project – is building the most complex synthetic organism ever attempted.
In fact, at Genome Project’s most recent conference, the talk was about moving into an era where we can “write genomes.”
And that’s exactly what the GP-write team is doing. It is creating a new form of yeast that isn’t based on an existing yeast. Instead, the scientists programmed the new yeast genome from scratch.
In other words, the researchers didn’t clone life. They are creating it.
This work has taken nearly two years, and it is 99% complete. Soon, the new yeast will be a living and functioning synthetic organism.
I know this is a controversial subject, but there are some benefits to creating synthetic life-forms. For example, scientists could create new forms of yeast to optimize food production or perhaps new forms of algae that can clean up oil spills.
But imagine the implications…
This technology could theoretically create a human life-form. That’s the frightening part.
Now, that’s a long way away. It’s a big jump from creating yeasts to creating humanlike organisms. But the fundamental technology is the same.
We must understand that with such advanced technology comes great power and responsibility. We must ensure that we use our technology only in ethical ways.
This will be one of society’s greatest challenges over the next 30 years.
What the press won’t tell you about Fukushima…
We’ll end today with a story that I have a personal connection to.
I’m sure most of us remember the three nuclear meltdowns that took place in Fukushima prefecture, Japan back in 2011. I was living and working in Tokyo when this happened. I sent my family to southern Japan because I was concerned about the radiation reaching Tokyo.
And as we now know, the nuclear meltdowns resulted from management failure. They could have been avoided. The team on the ground could have safely shut down the reactors, but the company was too mired in traditional bureaucracy to take the necessary actions.
Well, eight years later, Japan has announced plans to install 11 solar plants and 10 wind farms in the prefecture, not too far away from the decommissioned Fukushima power plant. The total cost will be $2.7 billion.
I’m sure the mainstream media will fawn over this story. They will talk about how progressive this move is. I’m here to tell you that, as is usually the case, they will be dead wrong.
What the press won’t tell you is that these new facilities will only produce around 600 megawatts of electricity. That’s a fraction – about 12% – of the nearly 4,700 megawatts that Fukushima could produce. For context, 600 megawatts could only power about 100,000 American homes.
It doesn’t even come close to providing Fukushima prefecture the energy that it needs to operate.
And the country now burns fossil fuels to fuel the country’s energy needs. More specifically, 92% of its energy is produced from petroleum, natural gas, and coal. And yes, that is the energy used to “fuel” Japan’s electric vehicles.
And how about the price tag – $2.7 billion. Clearly, the output is not worth the cost. In fact, it’s an absurd move. And it’s being done purely for the nice headline and the political gains that may come from it.
As a former resident of Japan, I’m sad to see such a wasteful project undertaken. The country should invest that $2.7 billion in something truly bleeding edge, like nuclear fusion technology.
As a reminder, nuclear fusion replicates the power of the Sun. It is 100% clean energy that can produce power 24 hours per day… with no radiation or nuclear waste of any kind.
What’s more, Japan could build a nuclear fusion reactor that could fuel far more homes than its proposed solar and wind farms for less than one-tenth of the cost.
Simply put, nuclear fusion is the future of energy production.
If we want clean energy and sustainable energy production, we must focus on energy production technology that can provide a baseload of power that’s capable of powering nations, not small towns.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
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