Success Story

How a shopping spree inspired a billion-dollar startup?

Zilingo, Singapore-based fashion startup co-founded by Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor is on its way to achieving unicorn status. Learn how they build this e-commerce empire.

How a shopping spree inspired a billion-dollar startup?

Ankiti Bose, 27, is on her way to being the first Indian woman to co-found a unicorn startup, soon to be valued at $1 billion.

Zilingo, the Singapore-based fashion startup, has not just digitized factory operations in S.E. Asia, but also lent working capital to businesses that don’t get help from traditional financial institutions.

According to Bose,

Stairway to success

Zilingo was incepted in 2014, when Bose, while visiting Bangkok's iconic Chatuchak market, saw the untapped potential of business there. It had over 15,000 stalls, where 11,500 independent sellers had no digital access other than Facebook.

A year later, Bose met Dhruv Kapoor who had tagged along with a neighbor for drinks at her flat in Bengaluru. Following a discussion on potential prospects of Bose’s business idea, the then 24-year-old software engineer was quickly sold on the idea.

Within six months, both of them quit their jobs, pooled their savings — $30,000 each, and convinced a handful of trusted friends to quit their jobs to found Zilingo — a play on the word “zillion”.

Founding this billion-dollar startup wasn’t easy. In order to get buy-ins from merchants, Bose had to travel across Southeast Asia and convince retailers that Zilingo could boost their businesses by plugging in the gaps- listing procurement, design, and financing. Meanwhile, Kapoor was building Zilingo’s tech capabilities in Bengaluru, aiming to make it “as easy to use as Facebook. ”

Funding Rounds

Over the last four years, Zilingo has raised plausible funding rounds, closing in on the unicorn status. The first seed funding round in 2015 was from Bose’s former employer, Sequoia Capital India.

In September 2016, they raised an additional Series A funding of $8 million. The next year, Zillingo had an additional $18 million in the Series B round.

While in 2018, the company's revenue grew nearly four times, with an additional $54 million raised in the Series C round.

As of this year, the company has raised $226 million in the Series D round and has received $308 million in funding from investors, including Singapore’s Economic Development Board Investments (EDBI) and sovereign fund, Temasek.

Where can you find Zilingo?

Today, the soon to be unicorn startup runs its operations with 27,000 merchants in 15 regions and has more than 500 employees across eight locations including the U.S., Australia and Hong Kong.

At present, Zilingo’s primary revenue source (nearly 80 percent) is from its business-to-business operations, connecting brands with suppliers in Southeast and South Asia. This service was recently launched in the US to attract more American brands to use Zilingo’s network of suppliers. Whereas, the rest 20 percent is from its business-to-consumer e-commerce service operates in six Asia-Pacific markets where it sells both branded products and items from smaller merchants.

Zilingo success story

The Next Step

By digitizing factory operations and connecting suppliers to brands, Zilingo was able to collect valuable data on the creditworthiness of companies. So anytime a company that did not meet Zilingo’s loan requirements needed capital, the fashion start-up could provide the financial data of these users to other prospective lenders.

As of 2018, Online shopping in S.E. Asia reached $23 billion in 2018, according to a report by Google and Temasek. It's expected to exceed $100 billion by 2025. Bose is a part of a group of founders who are capitalizing on the region's rapid adoption of smartphones and rising incomes.

With the rise of e-commerce apps in the mobile ecosystem, Zilingo has trumped its way to the top. Especially with the US-China Trade War, as more and more US retail brands decide to relocate their manufacturing units out of China and into lower-cost countries in S.E. Asia. Zilingo along with its 4,000 factory operations in the region is rising as a winner.

Meenal <span> Creative Lead </span>
Written By
Meenal Creative Lead

She is a writer and content marketer at MobileAppDaily. Her knack around the mobile apps is merely splendid. Her experience in the tech industry has assisted her in churning out the best and more importantly, unbiased mobile app reviews.

Success Story

How Yalantis Paved its Path to App Development Stardom

4 min read  

Alexander Kholodov was employed as a Game designer when the first edition of the iPhone debuted. He probably watched the entire presentation glued to his television (or maybe not). But that’s not important. What matters is the voice he heard, when an idea clicked somewhere in his prodig

Success Story

Droids on Roids - Putting Poland on the Map of the Global App Economy

4 min read  

Eleanor Roosevelt once put it, “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” This quote has powered innumerable lone-wolfs whose creative and undying spark has turned simple ideas into thriving businesses. One such pair of entrepreneurs is Wojciech Szwajkiewicz

Success Story

A Story That Transpired From Cloud Platform

4 min read  

Nowadays, earning a name in this cut-throat competition is way too grueling. But, people who aspire high are never short of ideas, and that ultimately turns them into an idol for many budding talents. Same goes for Mark Petrie and Bob Lawson. Both of them are tech gentlemen, who kick-started their j

Success Story

Wolfpack Digital: How a Romanian agency ‘hunts’ its way to success

4 min read  

“Give me a place to stand and I will move the world.”                                           — Arianna HuffingtonBusinesses today are moving towards a more gen

MAD Originals
MAD Originals

Cut to the chase content that’s credible, insightful & actionable.

Get the latest mashup of the App Industry Exclusively Inboxed

  • PRODUCTS
  • SERVICES
  • BOTH