Locad lands in Series A to expand its ‘logistics engine’ across Southeast Asia and Australia • TechCrunch
When Constantin Robertz worked at Zalora, he was involved six times in moving warehouses as the e-commerce company overwhelmed its logistics infrastructure. This inspired him to co-found Locad, a logistics provider for omnichannel e-commerce businesses that connects its network of third-party warehouses and shipping carriers to a cloud-based platform called its “logistics engine”.
Founded in Singapore and Manila by Robertz, Zalora alumnus Jannis Dargel, and former Map Grab Senior Product Manager Shrey Jain, Locad today announced it has raised $11 million in Series A funding led by Reefknot Investments, a joint venture between Temasek and logistics company Kuehne + Nagel. Returning investors Sequoia India and Surge, Febe Ventures and Antler in Southeast Asia also participated, along with new backers Access Ventures, JG Summit and WTI.
TechCrunch last covered Locad when it raised its $4.5 million funding round in 2021.
Locad can handle almost every step of the delivery process, from inventory storage and packaging to shipping and tracking. To date, Locad has fulfilled orders for 200 brands, including Havaians, Levi’s Reckitt Benckisder and Emma Sleep. Its customers are spread across Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Australia, and typically ship around 25-5,000 orders per day. Last year, Locad was used to ship over two million orders and boasts a 99% same-day order fulfillment rate.
Its new funding will be used to add more warehouses and transport operators to Locad’s network and to hire in Southeast Asia and Australia, with the goal of building the region’s largest warehouse network in the world. over the next five years.
Robertz said helping Zalora grow its logistics infrastructure “planted the seed of how a cloud-based supply chain approach, with scalable logistics infrastructure as a service, would be a better solution.” While at Zalora, Robertz and Dargel have also worked with brands that have had to build their own e-commerce fulfillment capabilities and technology stack to support multiple sales channels.
Legacy logistics infrastructure, originally created for B2B wholesale distribution, could not keep pace with direct-to-consumer brands as their sales channels multiplied. It also meant that they could no longer rely on “muros” fulfillment networks run by e-commerce platforms, like Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), as they grew.
At the same time, consumers want faster and cheaper delivery, and offering multiple options like same-day, next-day, or economy-class shipping is important for checkout conversions. Robertz said to deliver faster without paying more, retailers need to store products closer to customers to enable shorter, faster last-mile deliveries. This requires a network of warehouses and integration between sales channels, warehouses and carriers. This is what Locad’s technology allows.
Locad’s logistics engine syncs inventory across multiple sales channels, including Shopify, Lazada, Shopee, and TikTok Shops, and manages storage and delivery through its network of warehouses and carriers. Many Locad customers approach the startup first while phasing out their in-house logistics operations. Brands often start with one warehouse to consolidate their inventory and order fulfillment across all sales channels, before placing inventory in additional warehouses based on their customers’ locations.
As it expands into Southeast Asia and Australia, Locad also plans to increase the number of warehouses in Tier 1-3 cities across the region, with the aim of enabling same-day delivery. even in each of them.
In a statement on the funding, Reefknot Investments Vice President Ervin Lim said, “Locad’s unique operating model of locating warehouses in cities ensures inventory is maintained close to customers, enabling significant savings in time and money for the brand and the consumer. We believe Locad’s logistics engine will drive greater participation in the digital economy, as consumers outside of Tier 1 cities can now receive their orders 2-3 times faster at a fraction of the usual cost.