Ninja Van, a Southeast Asian logistics company that’s just raised $578 million from investors including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., plans to hire 200 engineers to beef up its technology ahead of a potential initial public offering in the U.S. within two years.
The new hires across Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia would double the startup’s engineering workforce to 400 in the next 18 months, Chief Executive Officer Lai Chang Wen, 34, said in a video interview.
Ninja Van, which is 40% owned by European logistics company GeoPost/DPDgroup, plans to invest in technology and automation to improve its parcel delivery services as Southeast Asia’s e-commerce industry expands rapidly. It plans to allocate the bulk of the funds on Ninja Direct, a relatively new business that allows online sellers in the region to buy products from China and other markets. The service includes customs clearance, delivery and financing, Lai said.
“I see so much potential in the Ninja Direct business and so much more room for growth in our core business,” the CEO said. “We need to execute first, but I don’t think we’re too far away. We can push to an IPO” within two years, he said.
Seven-year-old Ninja Van is among the biggest Southeast Asian startup employers with 61,000 workers across six countries, including 46,000 who work as truck drivers, warehouse staff and in other operational roles. The company has raised a total of $974.5 million from investors including Monk’s Hill Ventures, B Capital Group and Zamrud, according to Crunchbase.