Singaporean logistics startup Ninja Van secures $279 million cash infusion

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Singaporean logistics startup Ninja Van secures $279 million cash infusion.
Image: Ninja Van

Singaporean logistics business, Ninja Van, announced it secured $279 million in Series D funding on Monday. The six-year-old firm received investments from ride-hailing company Grab, GeoPost GA, and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital Group.

TechCrunch estimates the firm’s latest investment round has raised its valuation to $750 million, which makes it one of Southeast Asia’s most valuable startups.

Ninja Van’s Rapid Growth

Ninja Van CEO Lai Chang Wen co-founded his company with two partners in 2014 with an eye toward offering Singaporean consumers a technologically optimized logistics service. One year later, the firm secured $2.5 million in outside capital that it has used to expand its operations gradually. The company, which serves independent merchants and large corporations like L’Oreal, has experienced robust growth since then.

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Today, the startup operates in six countries throughout Southeast Asia and employs more than 30,000 workers, including 20,000 full-time drivers, to transport over 1 million parcels a day.

Notably, Ninja Van’s rapid expansion has not pushed its finances into the red. The company stated it makes money in half of the markets it operates in and is on the cusp of becoming a profitable enterprise. Lai noted he wants his firm to become solvent before pursuing an initial public offering (IPO).

Given the recent high profile implosions of once-promising startups, Ninja Van’s strategy of measured growth is refreshingly prudent.

COVID-19 Impact

Since its outbreak began in late December, the novel coronavirus has dramatically changed the global economy. For laptop manufacturers and semiconductor makers, COVID-19 prompted unexpected surges in sales. But the pandemic has caused the world’s largest social media companies to experience major drop-offs in advertising revenue. In Ninja Van’s case, the global crisis has had the effect of shifting the dynamics in its core markets.

Lai told Bloomberg the pandemic, and resultant social distancing recommendations has made doing business online more appealing in Southeast Asia.

The startup’s backers agree with its chief executive’s perspective; the company beat its latest fundraising goal by $79 million. Moreover, the logistics firm has received significant financial support in a time when investors are tightening their purse strings. Last month, only 44 Silicon Valley startups received cash infusions, down 62 percent from January.

Ninja Van’s success is even more impressive considering investment groups and venture capitalists have recently lost interest in supporting Southeast Asian firms. Nikkei Asian Review reports outside investments in the region’s startups totaled $9.5 billion in 2019, a 30 percent year-over-year decline.

Monk Hill Ventures managing partner Lim Kuo-Yi remarked the startup’s competency and consistency won his group’s confidence. “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,” noted the investor.

Indeed, with its latest capital injection, Ninja Van only reaffirmed its status as the next big thing in digital logistics.

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