Episode 21 | Disrupt Yourself or the Market Will, A Conversation with Chase Koch, Koch Disruptive Technologies and Andrew Smith, Outrider
Play • 49 min

Chase Koch, President of Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), and Andrew Smith, CEO & Founder of Outrider join Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss automation, partnerships, and the power of the Koch network for principled disruptive entrepreneurs.

The conversation begins with Grayson sharing a high-level overview of Koch Industries and the company’s economic impact globally. Koch Industries is a private company that generates annual revenues of $115 billion according to Forbes and employs over 130,000 individuals in 70 countries around the world.

Following the introduction of Koch Industries, Chase explains the Koch Laboratory approach to entrepreneurship.

We can give entrepreneurs with a lot of upside a place to experiment, grow, and transform their technology and their business model to help them unlock their potential. – Chase Koch

Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT) vision is to be the preferred partner in accelerating value creation for principled disruptive entrepreneurs while helping to transform Koch Industries.

Koch Industries success comes in part from the company’s Market Based Management (MBM) philosophy which was developed by Mr. Charles Koch. This same philosophy is applied to Koch Disruptive Technologies and the Koch Laboratory.

It’s the whole Joseph Schumpeter model, disrupt yourself or the market will. – Chase Koch

Koch incentives every employee to create value not just for their P&L, but for the entire organization. Expanding upon this conversation, Chase explains Koch’s Republic of Science approach and how it benefits founders who work with Koch Disruptive Technologies.

One of the companies that Koch Disruptive Technologies has invested in is Outrider. Andrew Smith, CEO & Founder shares his inspiration for why he founded Outrider and what the market opportunity is for Outrider.

One of the biggest market opportunities facing today’s business leaders is essentially to reinvent how we move things, power things, produce things to support higher and higher standards of living. – Andrew Smith

While leading an expedition to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to witness the caribou migration, Andrew came up with the idea for Outrider.

Outrider is the perfect example of how innovation allows us to avoid unnecessary tradeoffs. – Andrew Smith

Grayson asks Andrew, why yard automation. Andrew explains that there are over 10 billion tons of cargo moving around the United States on a daily basis. A majority of the cargo is moving over trucks and yard trucks are being used to move the trailers around yards.

Automation has become more and more a key driver for our transformation vision across all of our businesses. – Chase Koch

The partnership with Koch Industries gives Outrider a massive path to scaling operations. Andrew talks about his working relationship with Chase and how their organizations are working together.

Chase expands upon Andrew’s thoughts and shares his own thoughts on the power of relationships and partnerships. Additionally, they discuss their mutual commitment to the environment and sustainability.

The Koch Industries vision is applied to everything that Koch does:

We want to create products, services, and solutions that are better than customers’ alternative but do this responsibility while always consuming fewer resources. – Chase Koch

Over the past five years, Koch Industries has invested over $30 billion in technology alone. This investment in technology is only going to continue to grow.

Using fewer resources and being a sustainable company is one of the key goals of Outrider. Sustainability is core to who Outrider is as a company.

Wherever your gift is, you have to lean into it. Where passion meets your gift, you have to lean into because that is how you are going to unlock your potential. – Chase Koch

Prior to founding Outrider, Andrew founded ATDynamics and sold it to STEMCO in 2015. During his time running ATDynamics, Andrew learned a lot and he shares his knowledge and how this experience prepared him for Outrider.

To succeed in transportation logistics, it’s not just about fancy technology. It’s about reliability, simplicity, and durability. – Andrew Smith

Andrew discusses why having the right investors is key to succeeding. The team at Outrider works closely with their investors including Prologis to ensure that the company is creating value.

Prologis is working with Outrider to ensure that their warehouse yards are designed for yard automation. Increasing the efficiencies of the yard benefits both Prologis and their customers.

Closing out the conversation, Chase and Andrew share their thoughts on the future of automation and supply-chain management.

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Recorded on Friday, December 11, 2020

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