S'pore-based, Temasek-backed Zilingo set to enter liquidation: Bloomberg

A one-time unicorn.

Belmont Lay | January 22, 2023, 07:09 PM

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Singapore-based, Temasek-backed Zilingo Pte is set to enter liquidation, Bloomberg reported.

The fashion-tech company’s board appointed EY Corporate Services Pte as provisional liquidator, it was reported.

The crisis surrounding the firm's viability and its demise has shocked the technology and startup industries in Southeast Asia and India.

It was considered an unicorn.

The tip-off regarding Zilingo's liquidation came from sources familiar with the matter, but who asked not to be named.

Financial irregularities

Zilingo was sent crashing following complaints of financial irregularities.

This led to the dismissal of high-profile co-founder and chief executive officer Ankiti Bose, 31, (pictured on top) in May 2022.

She is recognised as a celebrity guest speaker on panels and conferences.

Bose fought back against the board.

She denied claims of wrongdoing and said she was unfairly targeted.

She had argued that she was getting blamed for decisions and practices that were well known by senior managers and directors.

The board informed major shareholders and creditors of its decision to enter liquidation, according to Bloomberg.

The board declined to comment.

Temasek's backing

Zilingo had been one of the highest-profile startups to emerge from Singapore and to be headquartered here.

State investor Temasek had expressed concern the meltdown was tainting its reputation and urged the company to fix the situation, Bloomberg additionally reported.

Other prominent investors included venture capital firm Sequoia Capital India, the regional arm of the Silicon Valley firm that backed Apple Inc. and Google.

Zilingo was valued at close to US$1 billion (S$1.32 billion) in a 2019 funding round, when Bose was 27.

It raised US$226 million in that funding round from existing backers, such as Sequoia Capital, with Singapore’s Temasek joining as a new investor.

Zilingo's decline

But the Covid-19 pandemic took a toll on its business.

The company was forced to cuts jobs as revenue dwindled.

The company’s breakdown stemmed from the soured relationship between Bose, and her longtime supporter, Shailendra Singh, head of Sequoia India.

They were allies for years.

They fell out as financial pressures mounted and the company was forced to downsize, losing employees along the way.

Singh reportedly lost faith in the management skills of the young founder he had championed.

Bose believed Singh betrayed her by pushing her out of her own company.

The board started weighing options, including liquidation and a management buyout, in June 2023, Bloomberg reported then.


Zilingo evolved into a fashion e-commerce marketplace platform with a seller management tool for merchants focused on business-to-business solutions.

The company started as a fashion marketplace for retailers who sold directly to consumers.

By the time the platform expanded to a business-to-business model, it was taking a commission cut from merchants, who were supposed to be able to source efficiently from manufacturers on the platform.

Zilingo also provided value-added services, such as offering financial services from third parties.

It also allowed cross-listing across various Southeast Asian countries, aggregated upcoming trends, sourced for products, and provided content and photography services.

“Instead what we are trying to do is trying to lower the cost of procurement for these merchants and add services on that layer there, which is basically before it even gets to the merchant and they try to sell it online,” Bose previously said.

In its heyday, Zilingo reportedly grew its revenues by four times in the last 12 months, as reported in February 2019, but did not provide specific numbers.

Top photo via Zilingo