The Hong Kong-based logistics startup Lalamove has raised a US$30 million Series B to facilitate its expansion to over 100 cities in Asia by the end of the year.
It currently operates in 45 cities across China and Southeast Asia.
The latest round brings the company’s total funding to US$60 million since its launch in 2013 (called EasyVan back then).
The round was led by Xianghe Capital from Beijing (started by Hesong Tang, the former head of M&A at Baidu). Blackhole Capital also participated as a new investor. Mindworks Ventures and Crystal Steam, previous investors, also contributed to the Series B.
Blake Larson, Managing Director for International at Lalamove, told TechCrunch the company is close to being profitable.
The startup is often dubbed the ‘Uber for logistics’ because applies the on-demand economy to the delivery industry.
The comparison is apt. Lalamove works by allowing users to choose a pick up and drop off point, the type of delivery vehicle and either ‘advance booking’ or ‘immediate delivery’. Then, said delivery person arrives at the business to complete the order.
There are some necessary differences for adapting to the logistics business. A company can schedule up to 20 stops per order, customise an account with ‘favourite drivers’ and take advantage of one-click optimised routing to save time.
Lalamove says it already has the largest service area for intracity deliveries in Asia and has more than 500,000 drivers using the platform. The startup says more than 5 million people have used the service to date.
Founder and CEO Shing Chow said he believes the logistics industry is underpenetrated by mobile platforms. He pointed to a US$1.7 trillion market in China as an example.
“The evolution of the logistics industry has not been as rapid as some other markets like communication, but we believe we are at a tipping point where transformation will now happen very rapidly. We will see some amazing companies built this this sector,” said Chow.
Southeast Asia operations
In Southeast Asia, Lalamove was the company that facilitated LINE MAN, a partnership with the Japanese chat company to allow its Thailand user base to purchase and deliver documents, packages, groceries and food items in the country.
In November 2016, the company expanded into the Philippines. One particularly SEA-centric feature is the ability to request round trip deliveries to facilitate cash-on-demand — an important part of the region’s e-commerce industry.
The company rebranded from EasyVan to in November, 2014 ahead of its Bangkok launch.