Singapore’s Logistics Startup Ninja Van Raises US$279M Series D

Ninja Van, with a total funding of close to $400 million, claims to be growing 2-4 times year-on-year and is profitable in half of its six markets in Southeast Asia

Singapore-based tech-enabled express logistics startup Ninja Van announced the conclusion of a US$279 million Series D funding round led by existing investor GeoPost, along with two sovereign wealth funds, one of which was Brunei’s Zamrud, according to a company statement released on Tuesday.

Other investors who participated in this round include Facebook Co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital Group, Ninja Van’s first institutional investor at Series A Monk’s Hill Ventures, U.S.-based Carmenta Capital Management, ride hailing and delivery startup Grab, Golden Gate Ventures Growth Fund, and Thailand telecommunications group Intouch Holdings.

The latest funding surpassed a $200 million target set by the startup about a year ago, and raises its total funding till date to around $400 million, according to Ninja Van Co-founder and CEO Lai Chang Wen.

According to TechCrunch, Ninja Van is estimated to be valued at around $750 million, although Wen has refused to disclose the startup’s valuation, calling it a “vanity metric.”

Launched in 2014, Ninja Van has a workforce of over 30,000 and claims to be covering 2 million square miles of Southeast Asia with 100% coverage in its 6 operating markets – Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

As of end-2019, the startup claims to be delivering over 1 million parcels per day across Southeast Asia, and has become Singapore’s fastest growing last-mile logistics company. Ninja Van is growing 2-4 time year-on-year, and is profitable in half of its markets, Wen said in an interview with Bloomberg.

With the spread of COVID-19 and the resulting movement restrictions and imposed social distancing norms, ecommerce is experiencing a boom. Ninja Van is seeing a small increase in overall demand, Wen said.

“We think that the COVID scenario will be very helpful because to an extent it is quite interesting how the entire dynamics has changed. Ecommerce used to be a small single digit percentage of retailers, and it was always important but it was hard to really focus on it,” he said.

“But with this change, what we expect to see is a renewed focus on ecommerce where a more omni-channel strategy becomes very important. With this renewed focus we think this will be an inflection point for ecommerce in Southeast Asia,” he added.

Ninja Van is looking to invest a substantial amount of capital in empowering Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to promote Direct-to-Consumer trends across SEA. The startup will also deepen its foray into the B2B sector, bringing tech-enabled operational excellence to support the logistical demands of the traditional sector, the statement said.

“With a huge growth expectance, a lot of capital expenditure is required for us to continue building our connectivity lanes and network,” said Wen, discussing the company’s plans to utilize the latest funds.

“We have always maintained a razor-sharp focus on strengthening Ninja Van’s core business in express logistics, and a keen drive for operational excellence powered by our tech and customer success enablement,” said Wen in the written statement.

Co-Founder and Managing Partner of B Capital Group, Eduardo Saverin, who also serves on Ninja Van’s board, said, “Strong foundational elements such as sustainable operating models, responsible growth, and sensible management focus are critical to a company’s success, now more than ever.”

“Over the years, Ninja Van has demonstrated an excellent grasp on running and growing a strong, thriving business and delivered tremendous value to their partners. We believe that companies like Ninja Van are built to survive and thrive throughout both strong economic climates and uncertain ones,” he added.

Monk’s Hill Ventures Co-Founder and Managing Partner Kuo-Yi Lim said, “Ninja Van has emerged as the leader in last-mile logistics for ecommerce in Southeast Asia over a short span of five years. Chang Wen and his team has demonstrated the power of technology combined with strong execution, in transforming logistics.”

“Very few companies at this scale have shown the ability to cover the region comprehensively and is able to demonstrate a credible path to profitability,” he added.

While all exit options are on the table, Ninja Van remains focused on achieving consistent profitability first. The startup has no plans of expansion beyond Southeast Asia, and may raise another round of funding before a sale or IPO, according to Wen.

Header image courtesy of Ninja Van.

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