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Sequoia’s Surge-backed Locad to launch logistics aggregator platform

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

As published by: Tech in Asia

Locad, an end-to-end fulfillment service and cloud logistics provider based in the Philippines, is set to unify third-party logistics players under one aggregation platform for merchants.

Through the new platform, which will be launched in January next year, sellers will be able to see shipping options from providers such as Ninja Van, J&T Express, DHL, Entrego, XDE, LBC, and Lalamove. This will allow merchants to easily compare and pick couriers based on preferred parameters like price, pick-up time, and delivery time.

“As we have worked to build a better fulfillment network, we have realized that shipping, and especially integrating shipping and fulfillment, is a key pillar to close the loop, right all the way to the customer receiving their product,” Constantin Robertz, co-founder and CEO of Locad, told Tech in Asia.

He added that merchants and brands have been requesting the company for such a feature on its platform. But it wasn’t previously possible to create the new feature as all of the company’s services, such as warehousing, carrier integration, fulfillment software, analytics, and inventory access, were bundled together. This made it difficult for the company to add the new aggregated logistics service.

Locad eventually decided to develop a standalone platform, which has already passed testing stage with some clients like Kumu, Etaily, and Havaianas, with other businesses lined up to be onboarded by the end of the year.

This new offering comes from its US$4.9 million seed round led by Sequoia Capital India in July.

Founded in 2020, Locad was the first startup from the Philippines to join a cohort of Surge, Sequoia Capital India’s accelerator program. The company makes order fulfillment easier for direct-to-consumer businesses by taking out a huge part of the work related to product preparation.

“Fulfillment and shipping are essentially the broken link in the ecommerce ecosystem from a merchant perspective, because it’s extremely complex to do this all by yourself,” said Robertz, noting that most small and medium-sized enterprises that started out of passion are finding themselves spending more time on preparing packages and managing deliveries.

Having been established during the Covid-19 pandemic, the experience allowed Locad to identify with other businesses who similarly saw opportunities within the pandemic-driven landscape.

“Many merchants were forced to make very drastic digital pivots during the pandemic, and that includes many of the long-standing established brands that we serve. They pivoted from a wholesale offline retail-driven business model to one that is now much heavier on online direct-to-consumer sales,” said Robertz.

The logistics space was one of the few industries considered as an essential service by the Philippine government at the start of the pandemic, which allowed players to continue operating, eventually leading to a local industry boom. With the country’s ecommerce space expected to reach US$26 billion in value by 2025, the fulfillment industry is bound to hitch a ride on that rise.

Locad’s services currently cover the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia, with engineering teams in the Philippines, Singapore, and India. It also plans to expand the business into new markets next year.

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