StartupsHK co-founder Casey Lau always advises new entrepreneurs to focus on one of the 3 pillars of Hong Kong – finance, property and logistics – when choosing a vertical to concentrate on, if they want to get traction and be ahead of other markets while being based in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is the top largest air cargo hubs, and the 4th biggest container port. The port provides 70 shipping lines, over 350 container line services per week and covers more than 510 destinations around the world.
The trading and logistic sector in Hong Kong generates 28 percent of the total GDP and the sector employs 24 percent of the total Hong Kong working force.
The busy financial centre is a well-connected city with a long history for being an accessible port to entry China and other regions in South East Asia. Hong Kong’s free tax port among other government countenance have made of Hong Kong a hub for logistics startups a great place to kickoff.
The changing environment in the e-commerce and the growth of demand from consumer goods in Asia, are pushing the logistics startups to come strong and reinvent and make more efficient industry.
Here are the 5 startups that are taking advantage of the great connectivity conditions in Hong Kong and are now reinventing the scene; they are worth taking a look into them.
LalaMove was named first EasyVan, but after expanding its business it made no longer sense to be called only a van service as it now connects customers with motorcycles, vans, lorry and truck drivers. Nowadays people call it the “Uber for logistics”.
It is in operation in Hong Kong (HQ), Singapore, Bangkok, Taipei, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. And since its first started raising funds in November 2014, it has raised US$31.5M. The company raised $10M in its 4th round earlier in May, and is planning to invest it in expanding and penetrating the Chinese market in other 12 cities.
Lalamove also provides tailor-made delivery and logistic solutions for different kinds of businesses and their needs, E.G. E-commerce, retailers, distributors and many other players of the industrial and services industries.
Founder: Chow Shing-Yuk
Founded in 2014, Floship helps customers to find the right courier for their route. Recently, more and more companies choose starting of their business through crowdfunding. Floship saw a gap of opportunity in that market and focused on providing a service in which both parties could rely on. Floship is now well-known as being a reliable logistic company certifying between crowdfunding companies and customers through ”Floship Certified Logistic Plan (FCLP)”.
The certification evaluates the logistic plan of the company in aspects as preparation, customs, safety and global fulfillment. At the moment is the logistic company with more complete orders from Indiegogo and kickstarter.
The Head quarters of Floship in Hong Kong enables fast-growing shipping and it provides a better and cheaper cost to starting companies. The startup powers “drop shipping” as it allows companies to sell products without having to worry about handling and storing the physical good. Moreover it provides to its clients a fulfilled international strategy and only charges for three things: Storage, Piece-pick and shipping. It focuses on everyday clients that do not need a upfront investment, contract nor required volume.
After partnering with the long-establish logistic companies such as FedEx, DHL, UPS, SF express Floship definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Founder: Steven Suh
The startup was founded in December 2014 and was part of the first batch of startups at Blueprint, the Swire Properties accelerator in HK. The logistic startup provides solutions to e-commerce companies and opened its first office in December 2015. The same year it was awarded best startup by Tech in Asia along with a US$15,000 prize.
Easyship facilitates the process, so the courier can pick up at the customers’ location thanks to their integrated API. Now it is present in 110 destinations and the startup employs 25 people. The target is to work with the major online retailers companies; Ebay, Alibaba, Amazon, etc.
Founders: Tommaso Tamburnotti and Augustin Ceyrac
This startup is not quite as the previous ones. Its founders realised that there was a problem of efficiency in the logistic industry and target to solve that efficiency through their company. Openport focus on building logistic software solutions to cut down such inefficiencies and increase the visibility in the supply chain, especially for emerging markets, like Asia.
Until recently, the startup was only focused on countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and India where they noticed an increment on demand for consumer goods. This year they finished a “Series A” funding and they plan to expand to more countries. The Hong Kong based company now has offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Jakarta, Gurgaon, Las Vegas, Bandar Seri Begawan,
Openport connects shippers with transporters through a free mobile app where transporters can assign and coordinate drivers and cargo. They can also keep an eye on their on-going shipment.
Founders: Max Ward and Rob Haney
Hong Kong is famous for its skyscrapers, but even in the city with the most skyscrapers in the world people face several problems when it comes to spaces as it is also the most densely populated. Boxful deals and solves one of the many problems: Storage.
Different from the previous logistic startups this company is an on-demand storage service. The self-storage startup offers complete and integrated services from delivering and picking up the “boxful” boxes. Through the app it is possible to arrange the pick up and even to check the storage boxes. The prices start at 29HKD per month, and the boxes come in three different sizes or customers can choose to arrange by square meter.
As mentioned before, Boxful deals and solves a daily life problem in Hong Kong and the app seems to be rising on demand as is a services highly needed in the city, definitely a promising 2017 for the startup. Boxful raised a combined US$8.1M in series A and seed rounds last year and plans to invest further in logistics and tech in the coming months.