Loship, the Vietnamese on-demand e-commerce platform that started out as a review app, today announced it has raised $ 12 million in pre-Series C funding, bringing its valuation to $ 100 million. . The round was co-led by BAce Capital, a venture capital firm backed by Ant Group, and the direct investment unit of Sun Hung Kai & Co Limited.
Founded in 2017, Loship offered one-hour deliveries for a wide range of products and services, including food, rideshare, medication, and B2B supplies. The company claims to have more than 70,000 drivers and 200,000 traders and serves approximately 2 million customers in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Can Tho and Bien Hoa.
The new round brings Loship’s total raised to $ 20 million. Its previous funding was a funding round from MetaPlanet Holdings, announced in February 2021. Loship is in the process of raising a Series C, which is expected to close by the end of this year, and is in advanced talks with investors.
Co-founder and CEO Trung Hoang Nguyen told TechCrunch that Loship has lifted a pre-Series C round because “there are so many investors participating in our Series C round that we think it would take a lot of time to close it completely “. As a result, Loship decided to split the tour into a pre-C series and C series.
MetaPlanet Holdings returned for the pre-Series C cycle, which was also attended by Wealth Well, Prism Ventures and SQ Capital Group (SCCG Ventures Asia). Individual investors included former Starbucks vice president Mojtaba Ahkbari; Tim Neville, Chairman and CEO of FNZ APAC Group; Ben Fitzpatrick, Director of Global Macro Sales at BNP Paribas; DASS-Inc founder and CEO Wayne Cowden; Managing partners EC1 Simon Eglise; Quentin Flannery, director of Ilwella Pty Ltd; the director of the Prenzler group, Jonathan Feil; and the CEO of iVS, Milan Reinartz
Loship’s new funding will be used to expand into new cities and develop verticals such as B2B deliveries for small food and beverage businesses and retail stores. As part of the round, BAce Capital founder Benny Chen, former managing director of Ant Group India, where he invested in Paytm and Zomato, will join Loship’s board of directors.
Co-founder and CEO Trung Hoang Nguyen said Loship had “a very clear path to profitability.” The company started out as an online review platform, before people started using it to buy and sell items through chats.
“Back then, people used our Lozi app the same way as eBay, where they could list their products, buy and sell to others. However, we couldn’t really tell if the transaction through Lozi was complete, especially when it was a purely online chat, ”Nguyen told TechCrunch. “The best way to know the exact status of the transaction was to check the delivery. “
As a result, the company launched Loship in late 2017, starting with food deliveries and then expanding into other verticals. Nguyen explained that his platform includes “basically anything that can legally fit or be transported on a motorcycle.” This means verticals dedicated to carpooling, groceries, drugs, laundry, packaging, flowers, beauty products and B2B supplies like ingredients and food packaging.
The number of its verticals helps Loship differentiate itself from big players like Grab and Gojek, Nguyen said. He added that being a local startup also gives him an edge.
“As the only local player, we better understand our local customers compared to other regional customers. We are locals and we have our winning playbook. We strategically enter new and relatively intact markets like lower-tier cities, expand the customer base, and then move things from there. “
Loship’s plan through the end of 2021 is to expand to five more major cities, bringing the total number of cities it operates in to 10. Next, it plans to launch into Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. in Vietnam, before expanding regionally in Southeast Asia (Nguyen describes Laos and Cambodia as “must-see markets”.)
In a statement on the funding, Chen said, “Loship creates a strong ecosystem that adds value to small businesses, customers as well as passengers. Under the entrepreneurial spirit and leadership of Trung, we have seen the company become much stronger during the pandemic by constantly bringing product and service innovations to its merchants and users. “