Morning Brew - ☕️ Burrito tech

Why Chipotle created a VC arm.
Morning Brew October 21, 2022

Emerging Tech Brew

Happy Friday. Tesla reported earnings on Wednesday, and despite hitting a record-high revenue figure, the company’s shares took a hit after it revised down its delivery growth expectations for 2022.

Some analysts are concerned this is a signal of weakening demand for the EV powerhouse’s cars, but the company said the revision was simply due to some production and distribution changes.

In today’s edition:

Inside Chipotle’s venture fund for emerging tech
🏗 How Carhartt tripled warehouse productivity via automation

Hayden Field, Katishi Maake, Dan McCarthy


The guac Series A is extra

A Chipotle burrito and a storefront on top of a smartphone Francis Scialabba

Regenerative agriculture. Supply-chain solutions. Kitchen robotics.

They’re all technologies that could help fuel the future of restaurants—and they’re all areas of interest for Chipotle’s $50 million venture fund, Cultivate Next, which debuted in April after seven months of planning.

  • So far, Cultivate Next has only announced investments in two startups, but the team is looking at other companies and plans to announce investments on a rolling basis, Curt Garner, Chipotle’s CTO, told us.

The thesis: Chipotle’s fund will “support startup companies with focus areas that support our aggressive growth plans and strategic priorities such as running great restaurants, amplifying technology and innovation, and expanding access and convenience to our real food,” Garner said in an emailed statement from spokesperson Kelly Delgado.

So, while the company won’t necessarily be a customer of every startup it invests in, he said he “expects that there will be opportunities for us to partner with portfolio companies to test their solutions through our stage-gate process.”

Read more about the burrito business’s VC arm here.HF



The Crew

Who said personal finance isn’t fun? Katie Gatti, the author of our weekly Money with Katie newsletter, is obsessed with personal finance—specifically, the loopholes, nuances, and big Qs that traditional advice tends to lack. Check out her spicy approach to spending habits, tax strategies, and investing by subscribing for free, here.


Carhartt gets connected

DHL worker operating Locus Robotics robot Locus Robotics

Carhartt wants to boost innovation and technology for its consumer-facing operations. But the company is also reimagining how it functions on the back end.

  • The workwear brand recently automated a facility just outside Columbus, Ohio, with the help of Locus Robotics, a Massachusetts-based firm.
  • Third-party logistics company DHL is a client of Locus and does end-to-end fulfillment for Carhartt across its retail, wholesale, and e-commerce businesses.

Zoom out: Carhartt has seen growth over the past several years, and in April, announced a new chief information officer who’s focused on overcoming supply-chain challenges for the Michigan-based company.

The partnership with Locus Robotics via DHL offers a peek into how Carhartt is using automation to optimize the supply chain for its 35 branded stores and 5,400 employees this holiday shopping season.

Go deeper on Carhartt’s automation strategy here.KM



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Francis Scialabba

Stat: Planned investment in US battery gigafactories now exceeds $40 billion, per the Dallas Federal Reserve. More than 15 facilities or expansions have been announced since 2021 alone, up from six between 2018 and 2020.

Quote: “A common mistake is [thinking] if you build it, they will come. That’s certainly not the case now.”—Evan Horowitz, CEO of Movers+Shakers to the WSJ, re: livestreamed shopping

Read: The state of AI in 2022.

Learn: Are you stuck Googling “how to build a budget” and trying not to panic? Take a deep breath. The Brew’s one-week Financial Forecasting sprint was made just for you. Sign up now.

Communicate: CFOs are all about the numbers, but soft skills (or lack of ’em) can make or break your financial leadership. Learn which 4 skills are most in demand in Oracle NetSuite’s new business guide.*

*This is sponsored advertising content.


  • ASML, the semiconductor-equipment maker, had a surprisingly good Q3 despite economic concerns both general and semiconductor-specific.
  • Apple is reportedly cutting iPhone 14 Plus production amid softening demand. Potentially related: Global smartphone demand fell 9% in Q3, per Canalys, “marking the worst Q3 since 2014.”
  • BMW is investing $1.7 billion in EV assembly and battery-manufacturing facilities in South Carolina.
  • Starlink officially announced an aviation wing (sorry). We covered the company’s push into the airspace in May—check it out here.


Three of the following news stories are true, and one...we made up. Can you spot the odd one out?

  • Ikea is experimenting with self-driving trucks.
  • Gym owners are voicing opposition to VR workout apps due to their potential to erode business.
  • Rolls-Royce’s first EV is longer than a Cadillac Escalade.
  • Lufthansa has now reversed a policy that would have barred passengers from using Bluetooth trackers like AirTags.


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We haven’t heard of any such wide-scale protests from gym owners.


Written by Hayden Field, Dan McCarthy, and Katishi Maake

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