Malaysia: TheLorry raises $1.5m Series A from SPH Media, Elixir Capital

Malaysia-based on-demand logistics startup, TheLorry, has raised a $1.5 million Series A round led by SPH Media Fund, with participation from Silicon Valley-based Elixir Capital.

SPH Media Fund is the venture funding unit of Singapore Press Holdings, while Elixir Capital is a San Francisco-based private equity and venture capital firm which has invested in Malaysian deals prior. The Malaysia Venture Capital Management Bhd (Mavcap) is an anchor LP in Elixir Capital.

TheLorry said it intends to use this funding to strengthen its presence in Malaysia, introduce new services, and prepare for regional expansion.

Co-founder and managing director Goh Chee Hau said the funds will be used to strengthen TheLorry’s presence in their home market, as well as for regional expansion into other Southeast Asian countries, such as replicating the business in Singapore.

“It is a competitive market but having investors familiar with the Singapore market will be useful for our expansion plans,” Goh said.

Founded in September 2014, the startup raised an undisclosed seed round from Singapore-based KK Fund in early 2015.

TheLorry offers on-demand cargo transportation services throughout Peninsular Malaysia, connecting thousands of lorry and van owners with customers to move everything from household appliances to commercial cargo.

Recently, the company expanded into the e-commerce vertical, and has since been working with leading e-commerce vendors and retailers to deliver bulky items.

TheLorry is rolling out a new service that will allow both individual and commercial customers to save cost through consolidation and space optimisation.

Customers will be able to pay for just the items that they wish to send, instead of paying for the whole vehicle.

“Rather than charging by the charter price, which some customers find cost prohibitive, we’ll offer this new, more cost effective option where they can send a few items that would take up minimal space in the lorry or van.  This option opens a new dimension of cost savings and reliability for our customers,” Goh said.

Co-founder and executive director Nadhir Ashafiq noted that TheLorry’s technology platform made the new service possible.

“Our back-end system allows us to fully utilise capacity and optimise delivery routes. It enables customers to send anything across Peninsular Malaysia cost effectively,” he said.

SPH Media Fund chief executive Chua Boon Ping underscored TheLorry’s growth over the year.

“There is much room for disruption in the Southeast Asian logistics space and TheLorry has been particularly strong in adding value to businesses with commercial cargo. Having done well in Malaysia also gives them an advantage to expanding in Singapore due to the high volume of cross border logistics between the two countries,” he said.

TheLorry also appointed BK Teoh, former group general manager of Kerry Logistics / Kerry Asia Road Transport Malaysia, as its special advisor.

With over 30 years of experience with leading multinational companies in the logistics industry.

Elixir Capital managing director Arshad Ahmed told DEALSTREETASIA that some market predictions pointed to B2C parcel shipment volume in Asia surpassing B2B parcel volume, even though B2C logistics is less profitable than B2B delivery.

“Logistics firms have started to focus on parcel delivery, whether B2C or C2C, these being under-prioritized use-cases in the Straits region relative to the B2B export-oriented movement of materials and parts through supply chains. It’s no surprise to (us) that B2C parcel shipments are predicted by pollsters to grow faster in the Asia-Pacific region than in North America and Western Europe,” he said via email.

He noted that on the front-end, TheLorry is an online marketplace that smoothly matches demand with supply which tends to be very cost effective, because on the back end, the startup uses proprietary technologies for route matching and volumetric analysis.
“As a result, logistics providers enjoy incremental profits from not having idle space on their lorries.  It serves both B2C and B2B needs fantastically,” he said.

“We share our views on the resiliency of The Lorry’s business model with SPH Capital, our co-investor in this deal.  SPH’s parent, Singapore Press Holdings, has made tremendous investment in this area to keep up with rising demand,” Ahmed added.

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