Logistics firm eyes PH expansion after securing $4.9-M funding

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Logistics integrator Locad will seek to enhance and expand its platform and fulfillment network in the Philippines, after the tech startup secured $4.9 million in funding.

The company last week said the $4.9 million in funding was led by Sequoia Capital India’s Surge with participation from Antler, Febe Ventures, Foxmont, Global Founders Capital, the Gokongwei Family, and Hustle Fund.

Founded in Manila and Singapore in October 2020, Locad also has offices in Australia, Hong Kong, India, the Philippines and Singapore.

The company said while many businesses address “first mile” and “last mile” problems in delivery, very few provide the fully integrated solution that Locad is pioneering.

Business customers of Locad have the opportunity to integrate with e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Lazada, Shopee, and Zalora. Brands can manage all their orders and stock from a single virtual pool across multiple sales channels, with real-time visibility of sales, orders, inventory, and service levels.

Constantin Robertz, Locad CEO and founder, said the company is the first Philippine-based startup to participate in Sequioa’s seed funding.

“Company was born in Manila, affirming the Philippines as an attractive market,” Robertz said.

According to Robertz, Locad offers e-commerce brands and retailers “simple yet scalable end-to-end solutions, ranging from plug-and-play eCommerce fulfilment to a distributed warehousing network in Asia Pacific for companies that are looking to scale their business internationally.”

“With e-commerce showing 76% penetration in the Philippines in 2020, an increase in the usage and need for Locad’s comprehensive services is likely to occur as businesses strive to level up their fulfillment infrastructure,” the executive said.

Robertz said before the pandemic less than 2% of Filipino are transacting via e-commerce. “But now, (during the pandemic), more than 75% have engaged in e-commerce transactions,” he said.

The executive cited one noteworthy figure: A local company “sold” 12 million items in 24 minutes, which indicates a continued growth of e-commerce in the country.

“E-commerce and on-demand delivery services are accelerating in the Philippines. Many vendors, producers, and sellers are migrating to digital channels but are still hampered with the logistics of bringing products to their customers. They also lack infrastructure, resources, and experience in managing both online services and their own supply chain,” he added.

The additional funding is also expected to accelerate the development of Locad’s technology and “will create better opportunities for businesses that select the logistics cloud as their platform of choice to grow their direct-to-consumer business in e-commerce and omnichannel retail, also ensuring continuity for years to come.”

The company also has lofty goals, citing that it “hopes to redefine the e-commerce fulfillment in the country, helping the growing number of e-commerce merchants to grow their brands and be in the league of the so-called ‘big boys’ in the e-commerce space.”

Robertz said Locad is brand agnostic and is ready to cater to large retailers as well as SMEs. It currently has operations in Manila, Cebu, and Davao.

Robertz, meanwhile, said Locad can also work with the government on mission-driven efforts, including the delivery of relief goods or similar activities.

“We are focused on corporate and retailers, brands, going direct to consumers, but we are happy to partner with the government on mission-driven initiatives,” he said.

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