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Alibaba Nearing Investment in Singapore Unicorn Ninja Van

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(Bloomberg) -- Ninja Van, a Singaporean logistics startup, raised $578 million from investors including Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in a series E round.

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Existing investors B Capital Group, the venture capital firm set up by Facebook Inc. co-founder Eduardo Saverin and Raj Ganguly, a former executive at Bain Capital, and European parcel delivery company Geopost/DPDgroup, also participated in the fundraising, according to a statement confirming a Bloomberg News report.

The new funding round will help lift the company’s valuation to well beyond $1 billion ahead of a potential initial public offering as early as next year, people familiar with the matter have said.

Venture capital firm Monk’s Hill Ventures and Zamrud, an existing investor linked to a Southeast Asian sovereign wealth fund, also joined the round. Ninja Van plans to use the funds to better its infrastructure and technology, as it seeks to be cost efficient while improving the quality of its operations.

Investors are betting on transportation, logistics and warehouse companies amid a boom in e-commerce, one of the beneficiaries of the coronavirus pandemic.

Founded in 2014, Ninja Van operates in six markets in Southeast Asia and delivers close to 2 million parcels a day in the region, according to its website. It raised $279 million in a series D round last year where participants included ride-hailing firm Grab Holdings Inc.

Ninja Van’s clients include PT Tokopedia, which has merged with ride-hailing giant Gojek to create GoTo, Indonesia’s most valuable startup, Alibaba’s Lazada Group and Shopee, a unit of Singapore-based Sea Ltd. The logistics startup also works with global consumer groups such as Unilever Plc and with smaller shops.

(Updates with confirmation of details in first, second, third and fourth paragraphs.)

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