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Temasek backed fashion supply chain unicorn Zilingo seeks $200M funding to push forward its meteoric rise


The fashion business is well-known for its unequal work standards and practices, which aren’t necessarily environmentally friendly.

Many people are now aware that a pair of jeans requires almost 4,000 gallons of water to manufacture. To address this – as well as other environmental issues, startups like Zilingo decided to examine their sellers and see how they could be more sustainable.

Singapore’s Zilingo, a startup that provides technology to textile producers and retailers, is looking to raise $150M to $200M in its latest investment round.

According to the people aware of the matter, the company, which is backed by state-owned investor Temasek Holdings, is working with Goldman Sachs Group on a prospective financing deal that could lift its valuation to above $1B. They asked not to be identified since the process is confidential. Zilingo has reached out to a few investors to gauge interest.

Besides that, there is one more interesting development, Ankiti Bose is the first Indian woman to launch a unicorn startup as the Co-Founder and CEO of business-to-business ecommerce platform Zilingo — and that too before the age of 30.

She acknowledges, “Being a unicorn company was never the plan.” “And it was never only about selling clothes to businesses and working in the fashion industry.” Zilingo was developed with the intention of making fashion more equitable, transparent, and sustainable. We believe we are making a difference and improving the world. So, until we’re generating really excellent outcomes for our stockholders, that valuation means nothing to us.”

Business Model

Zilingo, a business-to-business marketplace for wholesale buyers and sellers in the fashion industry was co-founded in 2015 by Chief Executive Officer Ankiti Bose and Chief Technology and Product Officer Dhruv Kapoor. When it secured $226M from investors such as Sequoia Capital India and Temasek in early 2019, it was valued at $970M.

Zilingo is one of the increasing number of companies in South-East Asia raising capital for growth. ShopBack, a Singapore online shopping rewards app, is in talks with possible investors to seek $150M, while Voyager Innovations, a Philippine fintech firm, is exploring raising $150M to $200M.

Zilingo began as a B2C marketplace for markets such as Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, but as the co-founders dug deeper into the market and talked with more sellers, they recognised that there were various challenges ranging from logistics, supply, finance, and so on.

Zilingo evolved into a B2B platform in 2017, bringing merchants and raw material wholesalers together on a single platform to make sourcing easier and more transparent.

“We recognised an issue we knew we could solve that none of our competitors were solving,” Ankiti says. “The entire value chain prior to the product reaching the vendors on our site was broken.” So our entire change to B2B occurred to enable us to execute the things that our merchants truly wanted us to do. It was all about providing value to them while remaining committed to our objective. And in doing so, it put us in a prime position in the supply chain, just where our merchants needed us.”

The revenue model of Zilingo is built on finding the greatest approach to give value to its consumers. While connecting its network of credible suppliers and its team of sourcing experts with its customers, the company charges its suppliers a commission for each order that originates on the Zilingo Trade platform and also provides them with its Seller Center software to enable them to sell on Zilingo Trade and improve their online presence. Similarly, it charges a monthly fee rather than a hefty fixed cost from clothing companies with which it has collaborated.

Despite the fact that the sector was severely impacted by Covid-19, the rapid shift to digital channels has resulted in a quick recovery and, as a result, profitability.

According to McKinsey’s State of Fashion 2021 research, over the last few months, more than $100B in fashion, leisure, and beauty consumption transferred online from offline channels, and while overall demand in these categories fell, digital distribution increased dramatically. 

Zilingo competes with the likes of Printavo, BlueCherry Suite, RLM Apparel Software, Sync, TRIMIT Fashion, ApparelMagic.

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