Escalating the use of tech through startups

17:32 | 28/08/2019
Vietnamese logistics startup Logivan is one of Southeast Asia’s most dynamic startups with a rapid growth trajectory. Founder and CEO Linh Pham talked with VIR’s Thanh Van how she started the platform to help trucks connect with potential customers.
escalating the use of tech through startups

Could you shed some light about the facts and figures of Logivan?

Vietnam’s logistics costs currently are amongst the highest in the world, accounting for 21 per cent of the country’s GDP ($47 billion), while 70 per cent of trucks are returning empty. This presents a resource drain for Vietnamese businesses and forms a barrier to both local and international investment. Logivan was founded to reduce logistics costs for businesses by an estimated 30 per cent.

escalating the use of tech through startups
Linh Pham

Established in November 2017, Logivan provides cargo transportation services between Vietnamese northern and southern provinces. Logivan uses a network of truckers with small and medium-sized shippers, providing its platform free of charge on Logivan mobile applications.

This year already witnessed a rapid increase in Logivan’s growth. We achieved 10,000 clients and 20,000 truck owners at the end of 2018, and those figures are 30,000 clients and 42,000 truck owners at the moment. In the meantime, gross merchandise volume on Logivan’s platform constantly grew 30 per cent month over month from January to July.

How does Logivan adopt technology to improve ­efficiency in the fragmented road freight industry in ­Vietnam?

Logivan has many experts with experience from giant tech companies such as e-commerce platform Lazada, language learning platform Elsa Speak, and Uber, who bring the latest technological knowledge from over the world into our company. This year, Logivan focuses on smart strategies, so we set up a data science team in March to integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the Logivan system. For example, with our pricing model, Logivan can quote all types of trucks on all routes any time with a minimal error range of only 3 per cent by comparing to market prices in real time, while other traditional logistics companies use human calculation.

How would you estimate the trend of adopting new ­technology in the transport sector?

Our truck owners are tech-savvy long-haul drivers. The smartphone may be the only device they can often use on their truck, which can help them for finding maps, contacting clients, receiving money via bank transfers, and they can also be entertained with online services such as YouTube and Facebook when at a truck stop. Moreover, tech startups are increasing in numbers recently, and are not only introducing many good products and services but also educating Vietnamese users to use apps and online financial services. We think together, tech startups can support the push of technology across Vietnam.

How has Logivan used its fresh funding to improve ­development so far?

Logivan’s core value is providing route management and optimisation within the Vietnamese logistics network, resulting in cost and efficiency savings for businesses. The technology also provides convenience for users, price transparency, and additional features such as track and trace.

This year, Logivan has already raised $5.5 million from angel investors and venture capital firms. Among those were Indonesia’s Alpha JWC ventures and David Su, managing partner at Matrix Partners China.

Logivan plans to invest the money in data analysis and cross-platform integration as well as AI to increase efficiency. The current ­investment round marks ­Logivan’s largest fundraiser to date. The startup had ­previously secured $600,000 in seed funding in March 2018 and $1.75 million in a Series A round led by Ethos Partners and existing investor Insignia Ventures Partners in August 2018. Most of last round’s funding was spent on technology.

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