Hong Kong’s Uber-style on-demand delivery firm Lalamove is ramping up efforts to expand into the United States in the third quarter of 2020, as the company seeks to capitalise on the massive demand for tech-enabled delivery solutions accelerated by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The company, which currently has operations across 21 cities in the Asia-Pacific and Latin America, plans to enter the US market this quarter, starting from Texas with a team of about 20 to 30 local employees.
Backed by deep-pocketed investors such as Sequoia Capital China and Asia-focused private equity major Hillhouse Capital, the Hong Kong-born company aims to march into Chicago as the second step and to build a presence in 10 to 15 cities in the new market within one year.
“I think the US presents a very interesting and exciting opportunity for us… Our ambition is not just one or two cities, it is actually to bring our services to as many local communities as possible, particularly during this time when small businesses are struggling,” said Blake Larson, Managing Director (International) at Lalamove, in an interview with DealStreetAsia.
“The pandemic just accelerated this idea of digitization of small businesses. No longer is it optional to go online, it’s about survival now,” he added.
In its latest fundraising efforts, Lalamove secured $300 million through a Series D1 round led by Hillhouse Capital and a Series D2 round led by Sequoia Capital China in February 2019. The financing was used to lift its intra and intercity operational capabilities with an extensive focus on the business-to-business (B2B) segment.
Blake Larson has been instrumental in Lalamove’s growth across Asia, including in Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and India. In 2019, he spearheaded Lalamove’s global expansion, with the company opening its first offices in Brazil and Mexico.
Edited excerpts of an interview: