CNA Explains: The rise and fall of Temasek-backed trend start-up Zilingo

SINGAPORE: It was as soon as hailed because the darling of Southeast Asia’s tech scene and even got here near turning into a unicorn 4 years in the past however now, the times are numbered for beleaguered trend start-up Zilingo.

On Monday (Jan 23), the Financial Occasions reported that the Singapore-based firm had bought its tech property to Swiss e-commerce administration software program supplier Buyogo AG, together with its Sri Lanka-based acquired entity nCinga Improvements.

The sale was reportedly accomplished in the primary week of January, marking the start of the liquidation course of on the Singapore-based startup.

The method will put an finish to Zilingo’s months-long wrestle for survival, which has despatched shockwaves by way of the tech business in Southeast Asia and India.


Right here’s what we find out about Zilingo.


The corporate was based in 2015 by Ms Ankiti Bose and her enterprise associate Dhruv Kapoor, serving to to mixture small trend retailers in Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta onto a single platform.

From there, Zilingo expanded into the business-to-business area by offering provide chain capabilities to trend retailers.

By September 2017, the corporate was reportedly transport to eight nations with vendor hubs in Hong Kong, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand, including 5,000 new retailers to its platform.

Throughout its fourth spherical of funding in 2019, Zilingo raised US$226 million from a number of the area’s most distinguished traders, together with Temasek Holdings and Sequoia Capital India, the regional arm of the Silicon Valley agency that backed Apple and Google.

It lifted the corporate’s valuation to US$970 million – simply shy of the US$1 billion mark that categorises start-ups as unicorns.

Later that 12 months, Zilingo introduced that it might spend US$100 million to develop into the US, establishing workplaces in New York and Los Angeles.

Nonetheless, cracks quickly started to appear, with the board more and more involved in regards to the firm’s monetary efficiency and profligate spending. 

Based on a Bloomberg report, the US$226 million Zilingo had raised from traders in early 2019 was gone in lower than two years.

The agency additionally didn’t file annual monetary statements, which is a fundamental requirement for all companies of its dimension in Singapore, for 2 years – 2020 and 2021 – and the COVID-19 pandemic additionally buffeted Zilingo’s income.

In April final 12 months, Ms Bose was suspended as the corporate’s CEO following an investigation into the start-up’s accounts after complaints about alleged monetary irregularities have been raised. A month later, she was fired.

In the meantime, the corporate continued to downsize. Based on Bloomberg, Zilingo’s final headcount stood at fewer than 100 employees in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.


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