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Singaporean Courier Start-up Uses Tech to Enhance Customer Experience

Ninja Van aims to be a choice courier for e-commerce and start-ups in Southeast Asia

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BY Melissa G. Bagamasbad - 30 May 2018

Singaporean Courier Start-up Uses Tech to Enhance Customer Experience

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Ninja Van, the scrappy start-up from Singapore sets its sights on winning in other Southeast Asian markets.

Founded in 2014, Ninja Van achieved its goal of expanding to other SEA countries. The start-up raised US$2.5 million in a Series A funding round two years ago to expand its activities. By 2018, they have expanded to five other countries. Ninja Van entered Malaysia in early 2016 then Indonesia during the latter part of the year. In 2017, they officially launched in Thailand. In 2018, they launched the service in the Philippines and Vietnam.

In the Philippines, country head Martin Cu says what sets them apart from others in the same line of business is that they’re a tech-enabled courier. He adds being “tech-enabled” is at the heart of what they do to deliver a hassle-free experience to consumers.

Cu admits that there are challenges in being in less developed markets, such as payment processes, address quality, and the like.

“Because of those challenges, having a technology layer, it allows us to do more with less,” he says.

For instance, Ninja Van uses proprietary routing factors that are used to group their parcels according to size and destination. “The routing factors allow us to make a better recommendation,” Cu says.

For example, instead of delivering 10 parcels all around town, they stick to a smaller geographic area. As such, Ninja Van can also guarantee same or next day delivery. This, he says, allows consumers to get more bang for their buck, while the company can have more operational efficiency.

Ninja Van also has access to warehouses and offers COD or cash on delivery, an option many smaller players may not have.

Big names in e-commerce have availed of Ninja Van’s services in delivering non-perishables like cosmetics, make-up, and the like. In the Philippines, these include Shopee, Lazada, Human Nature, and Penshoppe.

Growing in SEA markets

Cu says the company wants to grow to keep pace with a regional customer base that has been maturing rapidly in terms of Internet access and mobile use.

He says that Indonesia is one of the most exciting markets because of e-commerce maturity, as well as  Singapore. The Philippines, meanwhile, is an up and coming market.

“The Philippines is going through the same steps that Indonesia went through to get to where they are today,” says Cu.

Ninja Van plans on expanding their coverage in the Philippines — even gunning for 100 percent nationwide coverage.

Cu says they are expecting more modernization in their technology, but not robot deliveries just yet ala-Amazon.

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