Pickupp, a Hong Kong-based logistics startup, announced earlier this week that it has raised about $15 million in funding since November to fuel its Asia expansion and grow its e-commerce platform.
New investors include Taiwan e-commerce company PChome, Taipei-based Cornerstone Ventures and Drive Catalyst, the corporate venture arm of Taiwan conglomerate Far Eastern Group, which is chaired by billionaire Douglas Hsu. Existing investor Swire Properties, a Hong Kong-headquartered property developer, also participated in the funding.
Other investors include Hong Kong-based Zipx, which is headed by James Steinberg, an honoree on this year’s 30 Under 30 Asia list; Cathay Venture, the corporate venture arm of Taiwan-based Cathay Financial, which is led by the billionaire Tsai brothers; and Hong Kong-based conglomerate Jardine Matheson Group.
Pickupp currently operates in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. In Taiwan, the startup is partnering with PChome for last-mile delivery. Crystal Pang, cofounder and CEO of Pickupp, said in a phone interview that the five-year-old startup is also open to working with investors in Hong Kong who require logistics services.
“I think this would be a very good way to showcase that we are able to add value and provide flexible and highly transparent delivery solutions for whatever business sector they may be in,” says Pang.
The funding also allows Pickupp to capitalize on the opportunities amid the soaring growth in e-commerce in the pandemic era. Online retail sales in the Asia-Pacific region will grow from $1.5 trillion in 2019 to $2.5 trillion in 2024, according to market research firm Forrester.
Pickupp also saw demand increase for cross-border deliveries, such as between Taiwan and Hong Kong. Before the pandemic, Hong Kong consumers would fly to Taiwan, which is just an hour away, to bring back Taiwanese goods.
“People are also more willing to try out new websites and new e-commerce players out there, so for cross-border e-commerce, making it economical and feasible to [small- and medium-sized enterprises] and individuals is key,” says Pang. “This demand is not going away any time soon.”
Last year, Pickupp launched Shop On Pickupp, an e-commerce mobile platform that allows small businesses to transition online. As the pandemic has accelerated the growth of e-commerce, Pickupp aims to operate in 10 markets in Asia in the next three to five years. “I don’t think right now we have a very specific next city on the roadmap, but we do have quite a number of partners we already work with,” says Pang. “Even though we don’t have an office there, we are already taking volumes from these places.”
Pickupp was cofounded in 2016 by Pang and Eric San, two Uber alums, and Paco Chan, an honoree on last year’s 30 Under 30 Asia list, who previously worked at Procter & Gamble. The startup serves more than 20,000 merchants across Asia with 80,000 registered agents.
In 2019, Pickupp raised an undisclosed funding round led by the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, with participation from Hong Kong-based venture capital firms Spark Ventures and Axis Capital Partners.