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Startups

Singapore's logistics Ninja Van raises $124m in Series D round

Brunei sovereign wealth fund Zamrud joins in investment

A Ninja Van employee unloads his van at the startup's Singapore office. Its latest round of fundraising will bolster the company's cash on hand as it looks to ride out the coronavirus pandemic.   © Reuters

SINGAPORE -- Singapore-based last-mile logistics player Ninja Van has raised at least $124 million of new Series D equity capital since April 2019, including a substantial investment from Brunei's sovereign wealth fund, according to data obtained by DealStreetAsia.

Ninja Van also issued $89 million of convertible notes for existing investors Geopost SA and B Capital in 2018 and 2019, from which Ninja Van has obtained $52.4 million of equity capital following conversions at Series D pricing.

The Series D preferred shares were sold at $61.43 apiece, which is also the conversion price for the convertible notes. That is about 70% higher than the $36.21 share price of its Series C shares. At the Series D pricing and the company's total issued shares disclosed so far, Ninja Van is worth about $590 million. In April 2019, just before Ninja Van announced the first investment by Singapore-based super app Grab, the company was worth $235 million, based on its Series C pricing and its total allotted ordinary and preferred shares.

Based on available data, Zamrud, a sovereign wealth fund controlled by Brunei, joined Ninja Van's capitalization table as the largest disclosed investor in the Series D equity round so far, with a $50 million stake.

Besides Zamrud and Grab, other new investors included U.S.-based venture firm Carmenta Capital Management's $10 million buy-in; Thai commercial bank Bangkok Bank with a $5 million stake; Thailand telecommunications group Intouch Holdings Public Co.'s $3 million investment; and GxH Investments, a partnership between Singapore-based Golden Gate Ventures and South Korea's Hanwha Asset Management, with a $2.5 million stake. Grab had committed $15 million in three equal tranches to Ninja Van in April 2019, and had only paid in two of those tranches, or $10 million, as of January.

In addition to the convertible notes, French courier Geopost and venture firm B Capital also bought equity outright in the round. B Capital bought $16.2 million of Series D shares, while Geopost bought $27.5 million of Series DD shares.

The figures are based on corporate filings. There could be further developments that have not yet been disclosed. Ninja Van declined to comment.

The disclosed share sales and conversions increased Ninja Van's paid-up capital for dollar-denominated preference shares to $294.2 million, up from $117.6 million before Grab's first tranche investment in April 2019.

Zamrud's participation in the Series D round marks a rare appearance in the venture deal headlines by kingdom's sovereign wealth fund. It coincides with Ninja Van's plans, disclosed to business news network CNBC in February, to expand into Brunei in 2020. The company already operates in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand. The Brunei Investment Agency could not be reached for comment.

The Series D capital helps Ninja Van cash position as the global COVID-19 pandemic threatens to trigger a global recession. Ninja Van's financial filings showed the company with 5.6 million Singapore dollars ($3.9 million) in cash at the end of June 2017 and an operating cash outflow of SG$13.1 million for the six months ended June 2017. Results for subsequent periods have not been filed yet.

DealStreetAsia is a financial news site based in Singapore that focuses on corporate investment activity in Southeast Asia and India. Nikkei recently announced the acquisition of a majority stake in the company.

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