For most Singaporean men who have served in the army, the term “ninja van” is one that brings back happy memories of that stealthy mobile snack vehicle that provides temporary relief from the rigours of outfield training. But for Lai Chang Wen, the term also represents his dreams to reshape the logistics scene in Southeast Asia using technology-enabled delivery systems.
The 30-year-old entrepreneur is today the CEO of Ninja Van, a startup that provides last-mile delivery solutions (think Uber, but for businesses). “During my military experience in Taiwan, ninja vans were food trucks that scoured the highest reaches of our training grounds in the mountains. This is in line with our vision of Ninja Van – a ninja that is within reach of every consumer in Southeast Asia,” said Lai of the decision to name his company after the iconic snack vendor.
“By combining our passion for harnessing cutting-edge technology solutions and our in-depth knowledge of e-commerce needs, we can ensure that logistics is a simple and seamless affair for our business partners and consumers. Just like real ninjas, we are dependable and deliver on our promises to them.”
Lai has always been a “big picture” person, saying that his childhood ambition was to become an astronaut so that he could see Earth from space. When he was older, visionaries such as tech magnate Elon Musk were among his role models. As such, he said he was eager to forge his own destiny and leverage technology in the pursuit of entrepreneurship.