Ninja Van to use funds raised to boost Malaysian ops

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on February 12, 2018.

The recently raised funds will be used to expand Ninja Van’s fleet to achieve full nationwide coverage by the end of 2018. Photo by Reuters

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KUALA LUMPUR: Singapore-based logistics provider Ninja Van, which reportedly raised some US$85 million (RM336.6 million) in funding last month, aims to drive deeper into Malaysian markets by tripling the number of collection and drop-off points.

“At present, we have 200 points which are all located in the Klang Valley,” said the group’s country head for Malaysia Adzim Halim.

“We plan to establish footholds in Johor Baru, Penang, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan and Kuantan.”

He said the recently raised funds would also be used to expand the group’s fleet in order to achieve full nationwide coverage by the end of 2018. Its fleet currently serves only Peninsular Malaysia.

In addition, the logistics start-up will deploy capital towards investment in sortation and warehousing assets, Adzim told The Edge Financial Daily in an email interview.

“We’re looking to improve our sorting capacity by at least four times what it is now by investing in an automated parcel-sorting machine,” he said. The group is currently in talks with robotics companies for a tailor-made integrated solution.

Although Ninja Van declined to disclose the exact amount it raised from its Series C fundraising, which was concluded on Jan 23, Reuters cited a source as saying that about US$85 million was raised.

Tech in Asia, meanwhile, reported that the group had secured over US$87 million, noting that this was one of highest amounts raised by companies in the region. The amount is more than the US$65 million raised by Grab in 2014 but slightly below the US$90 billion raised by iflix in March 2017.

In total, Ninja Van is estimated to have received more than US$115.5 million to date, with its latest investor being the DPDgroup, one of the largest international parcel delivery networks in Europe.

In a press release, Ninja Van said the DPDgroup delivers some four million parcels daily for over 360,000 customers to over 230 countries.

Ninja Van’s earlier investors include private equity firms The Abraaj Group, Taiwan-based ACE Capital, B Capital Group, YJ Capital and Monk’s Hill Ventures.

Launched in 2014, Ninja Van currently has a presence in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam, and is “currently profitable in some markets and working towards establishing its revenue streams in others,” Adzim said.

A quick check on Ninja Logistics Sdn Bhd’s financial statements show that the company’s revenue for financial year 2016 (FY16) soared more than five times to RM6.77 million from RM913,589 in FY15.

However, its loss after tax widened to RM6.09 million in FY16 versus RM1.07 million in FY15.

Going forward, Adzim said that the group’s main challenge would be to maintain the growth trajectory it saw in 2017.

“Otherwise, the challenge will be how we manage the ever-growing spike in volumes during peak periods (namely November and December),” he said, noting that growing Ninja Van’s fleet size and network of collection points are aimed at alleviating the peak pressure.

The group foresees an increasing need for delivery services by online sellers as some 30% of e-commerce transactions in Southeast Asia are from Malaysia, according to a 2016 report by consulting firm Bain & Company. A recent survey by one of Ninja Van Malaysia’s e-commerce partners, 11street, found that more men shop online compared to women, and East Malaysians are 2.6 times more likely to shop online than those in Peninsular Malaysia.

“Fifty-nine per cent of online shoppers purchase at least once a month, and 80% of them shop on their smartphones,” said Adzim.