Singapore-based fashion startup Zilingo raises USD226 million in Series D round

Ankiti Bose | Ore Huiying  Bloomberg

Started as a fashion marketplace, Zilingo allows smaller merchants from Southeast Asia without an online presence to list their items for sale direct to consumers.

The investments were made by the firm's existing backers, including Sequoia Capital, as well as newcomers Temasek Holdings and EDBI, and will support the business's expansion into fresh markets in the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia, as well as build new infrastructure and modernise its supply chains.

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 Dollars 1 billion valuation, making Ankiti Bose among the youngest female chief executives to lead a start-up of the size in Asia. These tools not only help merchants to access reputed manufacturers but also other value added services like optimized logistics services, financial services and insurances.

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

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Listings are provided for free with the company charging a commission of between 10% and 20% on orders, helping drive a fourfold increase in revenue in the past 12 months.

Some of Bose's early inspiration came from a visit to Bangkok's popular Chatuchak market, which features more than 15,000 booths selling goods from across Thailand. As the founders dealt with thousands of small sellers, they realized that many lacked access to technology, capital and economies of scale. She realized the sellers didn't have sufficient opportunities to expand.

Bose met Kapoor in Bengaluru when she was looking for investments for her company in 2014. Her mother gave up her career as a university lecturer and devoted her time teaching her only child at home. 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. Currently, Zilingo is present in eight countries and has 400 employees in total. She has become the youngest female chief executive to lead a startup of this size in Asia.

Ankiti recalls being enthusiastic to learn new things, "I would raise my hand and say, "Teach me everything", she said in an interview. "I busted my ass, working 18 hours a day because it was so much fun". Only the headline has been changed.

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