Fashion and lifestyle marketplace Zilingo has raised $226 million in Series D financing from Sequoia Capital, Temasek, Burda Principal Investments, Sofina, Singapore investment fund EDBI and existing investors, bringing the total funds raised by the company to $308-M.
The company will use the funds to invest in the infrastructure and tech needed to further integrate and digitize the fashion and beauty supply chain. The company plans to expand in key markets including the Philippines, Indonesia, and Australia in 2019.
“Sequoia’s investment in Zilingo dates back to when the company wasn’t even yet incorporated and the name wasn’t finalized,” said Shailendra Singh, Managing Director at Sequoia Capital (India) Singapore. “[The team has] rapidly transformed their original ideas about Zilingo into a platform company that serves fashion consumers, merchants, retailers, brands and manufacturers, collectively representing a multi-hundred billion dollar market size. We are amazed by the team’s ability to envision and execute against such an ambitious roadmap and are excited to continue to support them on their journey.”
Zilingo’s purpose is to create value for its merchants and provide them access to the world’s most efficient fashion supply chain Zilingo started as a fashion and lifestyle marketplace in 2015 by Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor. While dealing with thousands of small sellers on their platforms, the founders saw their plight first hand. These businesses were not being able to improve their margins or grow any further due to the lack of access to technology and capital — while the big international brands kept growing aggressively.
Building capacities of small merchants
Responding to small merchants’ lack of volume to source as cheaply as large conglomerates and influence to get the best rates from service providers or warehouses, Zilingo expanded its core business outside just their marketplace. The company soon developed its own proprietary suite of tools that enable fashion merchants access to manufacturers across Asia and unlocks the best procurement rates, optimized logistics services, financial services, insurances, loans, and analytics for them.
In 2018, the company saw exponential revenue growth after investing in building up their B2B and supply chain capabilities and delivering them through the Zilingo AsiaMall and Z-Seller platform. While most e-commerce companies remain focussed on B2C and C2C commerce, Zilingo’s approach has been unique and focussed on the underserved use case of creating value for fashion merchants.
Co-founder and CEO, Ankiti Bose who now joins the ranks of a very small group of women founders leading Asia’s big tech startups said the role of technology should be to create inclusive growth. “In the fashion industry, core supply-chain inefficiencies hinder small and medium merchants from unlocking their full potential as compared to the big brands,” she said. “We are building a level playing field by providing the best-in-class services and products to each merchant.
“We think this approach can unlock immense growth for South East Asian suppliers. We are tremendously grateful to have the continued support of our existing and new investors with whom we share this ambitious vision to build a cutting edge fashion company,” she said.
The untapped powerhouse of Asia’s fashion supply
Of the $3 trillion of global fashion manufacturing, $1.4 trillion comes from Asia alone. If this supply is optimised further, billions of dollars’ worth of value can be unlocked.
Zilingo has grown tremendously by integrating its B2B and B2C platforms and focusing on serving the merchants better. The company’s revenues have grown four-fold in the last 12 months, as more and more merchants are willing to pay for services which add value to their business both in the short and long term.
“Zilingo’s comprehensive platform allows consumers to have greater access to a diversity of fashion merchants, fostering cross border partnerships between micro merchants and manufacturers, and providing them with value added services including working capital financing,” said Chu Swee Yeok, Chief Executive Officer and President of EDBI. “EDBI is delighted to support Zilingo as they empower the B2B fashion industry through Singapore, bringing their multiple e-commerce solutions to meet the demands of Asia’s fast-growing market of digital consumers.”
Zilingo is committed to accelerating growth by working closely with its merchant partners to leverage its proprietary technology and unlock the immense global potential and opportunity for both merchants and consumers in fashion and beauty.
“Fashion and beauty merchants are hungry for tools that can help them scale. At the same time the ecosystem is marred by outdated tech,” said Co-founder and CTO Dhruv Kapoor. “So it’s imperative for us to build products that introduce machine learning and data science effectively to SMEs while also being easy to use, get adopted and scale quickly. We’re re-wiring the entire supply chain with that lens so that we can add most value.”