Singapore Logistic Startup Raises $279 Million As People Resort To Online Shopping Amid Virus Crisis
May 06, 2020

While the majority of businesses suffer from severe economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, there are still the lucky ones for whom the crisis turns out to be advantageous.

Singapore-based e-commerce delivery firm Ninja Van is one of them. The company on May 5 announced that it raised $279 million in fresh funding from investors including Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital and ride-hailing firm Grab as the coronavirus pandemic is causing more people to shop online across Southeast Asia.

The round was led by existing investor GeoPost, a logistics holding company owned by French postal service La Poste, alongside two sovereign wealth funds. Additional investors include two Singapore-based venture capital firms, Monk’s Hill Ventures and Golden Gate Ventures Growth Fund, among others.

Ninja Van, founded in 2014 by young Singaporean entrepreneurs Lai Chang Wen, Shaun Chong and Tan Bo Xian, has now raised a total of $400 million since its launch and expanded its operations abroad, to Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

One million packages a day delivered

The company currently works with large regional e-commerce firms including Lazada, Tokopedia and Shopee. It plans to use the funds to focus more on into the business-to-business sector, while extending its services for small firms and direct-to-consumer brands.

Ninja Van, which says it delivers more than a million packages daily across six Southeast Asian countries, is benefiting from a spike in orders as coronavirus lockdowns force people to stay home and work remotedly.

“The investor interest shows that logistics is something which is around to stay,” said co-founder Lai Chang Wen, a former derivatives trader at Barclays, adding that “social distancing will have a profound effect. It may be an inflection point Southeast Asia needs for e-commerce.”