Zilingo raises $226m from Sequoia, Temasek, others

Ankiti Bose | Ore Huiying  Bloomberg

It started as a fashion and lifestyle marketplace to help small merchants build scale.

Zilingo, an online fashion and lifestyle marketplace, has secured $226 million in its Series D funding round, which witnessed investment from Sequoia Capital, Temasek, Burda Principal Investments, Sofina, Singapore investment fund EDBI, along with existing investors.

Female founders remain rare in the global start-up world.

Singapore headquartered company claims to be growing at an exponential rate.

Bose is now part of a group of founders in Southeast Asia who are capitalizing on the region's rapid adoption of smartphones and rising incomes. A study by Google and Temasek has forecast that e-commerce in Southeast Asia will exceed $100 billion in gross merchandise value by 2025 from over $23 billion in 2018.

Zilingo posted revenue of S$1.8 million ($1.3 million) in the year ended on March 31, 2017, up from about S$434,000 since its inception though March 2016, according to the company's most recent filing with Singapore regulators. As per the report, Last year, India ranked at 52 on the 57-country list of Mastercard Index for Women Entrepreneurs.

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Zilingo, a Southeast Asia fashion e-commerce website founded by 27-year-old Ankiti Bose in 2014, is all set to scale new heights, approaching United States dollars 1 billion valuation, making Ankiti Bose among the youngest female chief executives to lead a start-up of the size in Asia. "We're re-wiring the entire supply chain with that lens so that we can add most value", says co-founder and chief technology officer Dhruv Kapoor. They then made a decision to expand to include developing software and other tools which would allow vendors to access factories from Bangladesh to Vietnam.

Zilingo has grown its revenues by four times in the last 12 months, it said, but did not provide specific numbers.

Clothing items hang on racks next to a mannequin at the Zilingo Pte office in Singapore.

Bose knew that there was a business opportunity for small merchants when she observed Bangkok's Chatuchak Market, wherein about 15,000 shops selling goods from across Thailand had no sufficient opportunity to expand. It operates fashion e-commerce sites in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines and is preparing to launch in Australia soon. While Ankiti was Investment Analyst at Sequoia Capital, Dhruv is a former software engineer at Yahoo Inc.

Bose met Kapoor in Bengaluru when she was looking for investments for her company in 2014. She graduated from St. Xavier's College in Mumbai with an economics and mathematics degree, before taking up a job with a consultancy McKinsey & Co in India.

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