Bangkok-based courier Flash Express has secured USD 200 million in a Series D round led by PTT Oil and Retail Business Public Company Limited (OR), Thailand’s state-owned energy company, according to a press release.
The latest funding round brings Flash Express’s total fundraising to USD 400 million since the company was founded in 2018. Other participants in the Series D round included TCP Group subsidiary Durbell, and Krungsri Finnovate, the corporate venture capital unit of Thailand’s fifth-largest bank Krungsri.
“Establishing this alliance with three of Thailand’s biggest business organizations is a monumental step forward for Flash Express to transform the logistics industry,” said Thai Chinese national Komsan Lee, CEO of Flash Express, in the press release.
Rajsuda Rangsiyakull, senior executive vice president for corporate strategy, innovation, and sustainability at OR, explained that the company’s investment in Flash Express will help enhance the two companies’ business potential in the shipping and energy industries.
In about two years, Flash Express has grown to be the second-largest private express delivery provider in Thailand, delivering more than 1 million parcels per day, with over 5,000 service branches covering all 77 provinces of the country, according to the press release.
Di Weijie, co-founder and chief operating officer of the startup, a Chinese national who previously also served Alibaba for more than eight years, told KrASIA that the majority of the service branches are owned and operated by Flash Express, providing both first-mile and last-mile delivery services, while the remaining branches are under a franchise model, serving as points where customers can drop off their parcels.
“Compared with Thailand’s other local express companies, we can learn faster from China’s advanced logistics technologies because of my background with Chinese internet tech company,” Di said.
In Thailand, Kerry Express is the largest private courier with about 10,000 service branches, while China-based express delivery firms including Best (NYSE: BEST) and SF Express (SHZ:002352) are also competing for market share. Best runs under a franchise model, and delivered 10 million parcels in Thailand in the second quarter of this year, representing a nearly 100% increase from the first quarter. The firm manages a network of 500 franchisee service centers to handle final deliveries and serve as drop-off stations.
“Compared with China-based players which are foreign to the Thai market, we know the market better than them because our CEO is a local Thai serial entrepreneur,” Di affirmed.
Flash’s portfolio of clients includes popular e-commerce platforms such as Lazada and Shopee, as well as self-employed e-commerce vendors, according to Di.