Singaporean logistics startup Ninja Van has reached unicorn status thanks to a $578 million Series E funding round, which included Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba Group as an investor, Bloomberg reported.
The round helps raise the value of the firm to north of $1 billion before a possible initial public offering (IPO) that could happen next year, according to the report.
The startup will use the money to improve its infrastructure and technology as it looks for ways to be more cost efficient while also upgrading its operational quality, the report stated. Investors are counting on the boom in eCommerce in the wake of the pandemic to fuel transportation, logistics and warehousing companies.
Other investors included B Capital Group, the venture capital firm run by Facebook Co-Founder Eduardo Saverin and former Bain Capital executive Raj Ganguly; and European parcel delivery company Geopost/DPDgroup, the report stated.
In addition, venture capital firm Monk’s Hill Ventures and existing investor Zamrud, which is tied to a Southeast Asian sovereign wealth fund, also joined the round, according to the report.
Founded seven years ago, Ninja Van has around 34,000 employees and 1,800 sorting stations delivering nearly 2 million parcels daily. Last year, the company raised $279 million in a Series D funding round in which investors included the ride-hailing brand Grab Holdings.
Ninja Van’s customers include PT Tokopedia, along with Alibaba’s Lazada Group and Shopee, an offshoot of Singapore-based Sea.
Ninja Van Co-Founder Chang Wen Lai has said the company is a year away from an IPO, while others have indicated Ninja Van is consulting advisors on how to go about the process, which would likely happen in the U.S.