Entrepreneur

Epost Raises US$700k Seed Funding, Marking The First VC Investment Into A Sabah Based Startup

Epost, a Sabahan startup that provides end-to-end e-commerce and logistics services, announced today that they’ve closed a US$700,000 seed funding round led by Vynn Capital.

This marks one of the first venture capital investments into the Bornean region, and the first into a Sabah based startup, according to the statement.

Founded in August 2018, Epost has since expanded its operations across Malaysia, China, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, and Brunei.

Following news of the funding, Vulcan Post reached out to its CEO and founder, Tobin Ng, to learn more about how they got started and have established their presence in multiple Southeast Asian countries in under 2 years.

It Runs In The Family

Tobin is in the fourth generation of his family-run logistics business called NCT Group in Malaysia.

When he joined the family business about 3 years ago, he realised the traditional logistics business is challenging and that the distribution channel had begun shifting with the emergence of e-commerce.

Seeing an opportunity there, he decided to venture into the e-commerce logistics industry with the establishment of Epost.

With 13 e-fulfilment warehouses in key locations throughout Southeast Asia, Epost connects businesses with online and offline distributors, and helps them sell their products to new customers in overseas markets through its cross-border services.

Over half of Epost’s orders come from China, and the majority of its users are located in Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, China, and Brunei.

On average, Tobin shared that they get about 150,000 enquiries on their service.

With this round of financing, Epost plans on enhancing its operations footprint throughout Southeast Asia by first focusing their expansion efforts in Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines for 2020.

“This is because these countries in recent years have opened up to more foreign startup collaboration, and due to this, there are more opportunities available,” Tobin explained.

Bettering The Economic Ecosystem

Epost prides itself on its ability to bring quality service to its users, and one of the ways they’ve managed to do so is by cutting down the markup cost of the traditional logistics model.

For examples, their air freight charges are per every 0.2kg instead of the traditional 1kg, and for sea freight, they provide customers with 2 methods of pricing: total cubic metre, and total weight in kilograms.

While their operations appear to be picking up and they’ve got a passionate and dedicated team, talent acquisition remains a challenge.

As this line of business is rather niche in Sabah, according to Tobin, finding suitable talents to join Epost is difficult, but they’ve found a workaround.

“We’ve worked closely with local universities like University Malaysia Sabah to identify potential fresh graduates and provide them with career opportunities post-graduation,” Tobin said.

To the team, bringing on new hires will help the company drive business growth, and they plan to use the funding to enhance marketing efforts to support customer growth in China and Southeast Asia as well.

In the press release, Victor Chua, Managing Partner at Vynn Capital remarked, “The opportunities in cross-border e-commerce are tremendous. In addition to creating greater activity between markets, it also enables smaller merchants and individual consumers to tap into new revenue streams and better service.”

“This fits into our view that eventually there will be convergence—between markets, industries, and sectors—leading up to a better ecosystem for each economy in the region.”

He also believes that there will be more quality startups and founders coming out of the Sabah, Sarawak, and Kalimantan region as a new potential business market.

  • You can read more about other logistics startups we’ve written on here.

Featured Image Credit: Epost

 

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