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On-demand logistics startup Lalamove raises $10M more in push for profitability

TechCrunch TechCrunch 30/05/2016 Jon Russell

Lalamove, one of a number of companies offering logistics on-demand in China and across Asia, has closed $10 million in funding as it targets profitability this year.

The round was led by existing investor MindWorks with other Lalamove backers from other existing investors, including China’s Crystal Stream (China), AppWorks (Taiwan), Aria Group (Hong Kong), taking part. In addition, Asia Plus from Thailand, where Lalamove recently launched a joint service with Line, joined as a new investor

This fundraising takes Lalamove, which is also known as EasyVan in some markets, to $30 million raised from investors to date. Interestingly, founder and CEO Shing Chow said this money will help the two-year-old company reach profitability by the end of this year thanks to a planned series of city expansions.

Started in Hong Kong in December 2013, Lalamove is currently present in 20 cities in China, alongside Hong Kong, Bangok and Taipei. The startup said it is on track to expand its presence to 49 cities this year, with a particularly aggressive slate of launches planned inside China, where Lalamove has focused much of its expansion efforts to date.

Lalamove operates a consumer-facing app, but much of its customer base is business — and particularly those in the e-commerce or delivery spaces. Some, for example, may need to expand their delivery or logistics capacity at peaks times or during busy order period, and that where Lalamove’s “Uber For Logistics” model — to use the hackneyed term — comes into play. Beyond that on-demand need, the company claims its fleet of vans and motorbikes is more efficient than traditional logistics partners.

“We began as a small start-up in Hong Kong working out of my apartment and have grown to 19 cities across Asia in the last two years. When we began, we targeted lots of small businesses, but since then we have developed enterprise solutions to allow companies like Google, IKEA, and now LINE to make their delivery much faster and simpler,” Chow said in a statement.

As a logistics player, Lalamove is technically rivaled by existing, legacy players. Other on-demand startups in their space do include fellow Hong Kong-based GoGoVan, which closed a $10 million Series B round last year. Also in Hong Kong, where logistics is hugely challenging but lucrative, is Uber Van — a service launched by Uber in January 2015. Initially named Uber Cargo, it is focused more on consumers than GoGoVan or Lalamove.

Further afield there is NinjaVan in Southeast Asia, although that startup covers the full logistics space including warehousing and storage as well delivery. Ninjavan, which recently $30 million and works with e-commerce firms, actually works with Lalamove in some cities.

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