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NINJA VAN RAISES OVER $87M IN RECORD-BREAKING FUNDING

2018-02-12 09:19:33

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NINJA VAN RAISES OVER $87M IN RECORD-BREAKING FUNDING

 

Ninja Van, a Singapore-headquartered logistics company with a regional presence, has raised at least US$87 million in funding, making it one of the most well-funded logistics startups in Southeast Asia, according to Tech in Asia’s data. The series C round is also one of the largest in the region’s history.

Joining the latest round is DPDgroup, a European parcel delivery firm which claims to deliver 4 million parcels a day. Its logistics expertise could come in handy in helping Ninja Van improve its services.

Ninja Logistics, the startup’s registered Singapore entity, made US$9.1 million in revenue and lost US$8.7 million in 2016. Its revenue more than doubled from the previous year while its losses tripled. However, this is typical of startups that are raising significant funding to invest in growth. What’s important is whether it can convert its investments into future revenue.

 

The company’s 2017 financial figures are not available. However, it says that it delivers millions of parcels a month through its fleet and hundreds of drop-off points across the region.

It has over a thousand employees, including delivery personnel, and serves clients like Alibaba-owned ecommerce marketplace Lazada. The startup will use the new funding to expand its technology team and expand its cross-border business.

Ninja Van was founded in 2014 by Lai Chang Wen, who turned down a scholarship to venture into entrepreneurship. He had zero knowledge of logistics then, and had to learn everything from scratch. The startup is now in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

 

Record-breaker

 

Assuming that Ninja Van’s series C round is over US$87 million, it would be one of the biggest raised by a Southeast Asian startup so far, Tech in Asia’s data shows.

 

 

On an Asia-wide scale, Ninja Van’s hefty funding is in line with what logistics startups typically raise. “The business model is typically asset-heavy, requiring hefty upfront investment to build out its logistics network and fleet. Ninja Van’s initial losses in 2016 is not a surprise, while its doubling revenue indicates growing scale. What’s important in the near term is a sustainable cash-burn rate against scale growth,” says Lawrence Cheok, senior research manager at IDC.

Lalamove, a Hong Kong headquartered on-demand logistics startup serving small and medium enterprises, has raised US$100 million in series C funding last year.

But even with all that money and a rising demand for ecommerce in Southeast Asia, Ninja Van faces the immense challenge of standing out in a crowded field. It is competing with players large and small throughout the region, such as SingPost in Singapore and JNE in Indonesia. It has also in the past struggled to meet customer demand, judging by customer complaints.

However, a Ninja Van spokesperson says that these complaints do not give the full picture. “In Singapore, we had our recent volume spikes during the 11/11 and 12/12 periods,” she explains, referring to two online sales festivals held in November and December last year.

“While there were initial hiccups for 11/11, we quickly managed the situation by expanding our fleet and opened up additional sorting facilities to accommodate the greater-than-usual spike. All 11/11-related backlogs were cleared before the end of November and the additional solutions implemented resulted in little to no issues for 12/12.”

The spokesperson adds that feedback from clients across the region has been positive.

In the long run, Ninja Van faces the challenge of keeping its margins high, especially as the logistics market becomes more efficient. Alibaba is pushing hard on this with its purchase of a controlling stake in its logistics arm Cianiao.

Cheok predicts that “with Cainiao as a centralized logistics platform, driving and routing order demands to the lowest cost courier, pure-play last mile delivery will see increasing price pressure and commoditization.”

While the funding gives Ninja Van more resources and expertise to get its customer experience right, there is certainly more pressure to deliver value to shareholders.

Ninja Van’s financial figures converted from Singapore dollars. US$1 = S$1.32.

Update (Jan. 23, 6pm): Added replies from Ninja Van.

Update (Jan. 23, 1pm): Added more data and facts. Corrected issued share capital figure to US$120 million.

 

Ninja Logistics (Ninja Van) 

 

Ninja Van provides businesses with innovative technology-based solutions to optimise their logistics and achieve their business needs.

LOCATION
Singapore
FOUNDED
2014
EMPLOYEES
-
WEBSITE
www.ninjavan.co
LATEST FUNDING
Series C
HIRING
12 positions