Lalamove, an Uber-like service for logistics, has raised $10 million to expand its presence across Asia, where it already operates in six cities.
The company, which began life in Hong Kong in December 2013, offers iOS and Android apps that allow customers to move items across a city using its network of ‘regular’ drivers. Its business model is basically akin to an ‘Uber for logistics’ since anyone with a valid license and car can sign up to be a driver.
The $10 million round is led by China’s Crystal Stream Capital, and it includes participation from Geek Founders, Mindworks Ventures, Sirius Venture Capital and Aria Group. Lalamove said a number of unnamed individual investors also took part.
Executive Blake Larson told TechCrunch in an interview that the money will be used to strengthen its position in its existing markets: Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Taipei and — as of last week — Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The capital will also be used to “further penetrate” China and enter more parts in Southeast Asia.
Larson said Lalamove is planning to expand into “the most obvious” cities there.
“Last mile logistics booming in Southeast Asia. We find the region interesting because it is still so fragmented… but any time there are these challenges there is a higher reward for solving them,” he added
In China, Lalamove has joined the growing legions of on-demand startups to tap WeChat after it made its service available inside the Tencent-owned messaging app. Uber rival Didi Dache saw plenty of success after putting its taxi hailing service into WeChat, as have other food delivery and retail services.
“This year is about proving that our model works in different cities,” Larson, who leads Lalamove outside of China, added. The former Rocket Internet executive explained that the company will raise more capital in 2015 but is “always open” to hearing from potential new investors.
Lalamove, which is known by its original name EasyVan in China and Hong Kong and has over 60 staff, is rivaled fellow Hong Kong startup GoGoVan. GoGoVan raised $6.5 million round and took an additional $10 million investment from Chinese social network Renren last year.
GoGoVan currently serves nine cities across six countries and its founders are keen to move into new territory this year.