Zilingo Success Story - How is the Engineering the Future of Fashion

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Like that of so many other sectors, fashion and apparel's digital transition has advanced dramatically under COVID. This has influenced not just how people engage with brands and merchants, but also how the market runs within, including inventory management, prices, and logistics, as well as production and product design.

A sector that has always (and continues to be) centred on the foundation of ideas, creative, and innovative expression is now incorporating more technology into the equation, implementing innovation to new levels.

Zilingo - Company Highlights

  • Startup Name-Zilingo
  • Parent-Zilingo Pte Ltd
  • Subsidiaries-Zilingo Business
  • Industry-E-commerce
  • Headquarter-Singapore
  • Founders-Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor
  • Founded-2015
  • Key People-Dhruv Kapoor (Chief Technology Officer), Jim Perry(Chief Financial Officer), Aadi Vaidya(Chief Operating Officer), Marita Abraham(Chief Marketing Officer)
  • Areas Served-Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and the United States

About Zilingo, and How it Works?

Zilingo is a B2B platform that connects all parts of the fashion industry's supply chain, from raw material suppliers to merchants to buyers. They offer a wide range of technical help, including data science, online platforms, and other virtual services, as well as company sourcing and finance.

When a small localised store tries to move online or attract more people, they are confronted with several challenges. Funding, technologies, accessibility, and rivalry from more prominent, more established companies also impede them.

Although their commodities may have unrealised potential on the global market, many merchants find it difficult to make a profit in that environment. When seeking to sell to a statewide or worldwide audience, small businesses sometimes have to go through multiple intermediaries and incur numerous costs. They are losing money because their margins are being stretched. Zilingo focuses on this problem, assisting small enterprises in receiving their due.

Zilingo is a comprehensive, adaptable platform that helps small businesses increase efficiency and revenue. This service is available to merchants in a variety of nations and brings together a large number of producers and manufacturers

Simultaneously, the design, production, and other parts of the final product remain decentralised. Small vendors may be independent and true to their style without paying a listing fee, which Zilingo does not charge its manufacturing workers.

Their varied staff, decentralised culture, technical innovation, and devotion to assisting smaller businesses set them apart from the competition. They offer a wide range of items obtained from many countries and providers, all of which are supported by this platform. This enables small companies to deal directly with a bigger market, such as brands or other clients, over the internet.

Products of Zilingo

Zilingo operates as a technology platform that is empowering the global supply chain. It provides innovative products and trade services to power brands, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, factories and more. Zilingo offers:

Z Trade - This vertical helps Zilingo to extend the facilities of sourcing custom-made apparel, fabric, yarn and more.

Z Factory - This Zilingo vertical helps Zilingo to let the factories optimise their operations.  

Zilingo Factory

Z Connect - Z Connect of Zilingo offers omnichannel, inventory management and marketing solutions as services.

Zilingo services are:

Z Marketing - Zilingo offers marketing solutions to help brands maximise their sales. This is done by the in-house experts that Zilingo houses.

Z Fintech - Z Fintech uses the transaction data to offer companies and individuals better access to capital for the growth of their businesses.

Z Logistics - Zilingo offers the optimisation services of logistics costs and provides others with the facilities of flexible payments.  

Zilingo - Industry

From the development of the needle and thread to the emergence of e-commerce, fashion was always at the leading edge of innovation. Fashion, like technology, is forward-thinking and progressive.

The fashion industry has been one of the world's largest, with a market value of more than $3 trillion expected by the end of the decade. Fashion technology is evolving at a quicker rate than ever before. Fashion firms are working with technology suppliers, buying startups, and even developing their technologies to expand their streams of income and marketing strategies.  

Similarly, the sector is re-evaluating operations across the supply chain in a drive to reinvent itself as it confronts a long-overdue confrontation with its social and environmental consequences.

With organisations and businesses growing into new sectors of the fashion business, there is a clear trend toward adopting technology to improve the consumer experience. New fibres and mixes are emerging as manufacturing methods improve, allowing for greater product diversification. The fashion industry's retail sector is putting a lot of emphasis on making the consumer's buying experience easier and more enjoyable.

Collaborations are resulting in fascinating new goods by combining the talents of several sectors to develop something efficient and innovative. With a constant stream of new and interesting propelling the fashion industry forward, these unlimited possibilities have more room to grow.

Zilingo - Name, Logo, and Tagline

Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor founded "Zilingo" in 2015, the name being a spin on the term "zillion," which also means 'Gift of god.' Bose got the idea for Zilingo while on vacation in Bangkok and realised that many SMEs lacked an online footprint. Dependability, freshness, and expressivity are all symbolised by the word Zilingo.

Zilingo's tagline says, “Dare to be Bold”.

Zilingo - Founders and Team

Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor founded Zilingo in 2015.

Ankiti Bose

Before establishing Zilingo, Ankiti spent three years in management consulting and venture capital at Sequoia Capital and McKinsey & Company. She focused on digital commerce possibilities on digital devices at Sequoia. She worked on strategy and operations in a variety of sectors at McKinsey & Company.

Ankiti graduated from St. Xavier's College in Mumbai with a Bachelor of arts degree in Maths and Economics. Ankiti adds a wealth of experience and expertise in the mobile e-commerce market to Zilingo.

She takes a hands-on, analytical approach to operations and strategy decisions, and she was heavily involved in all the elements of strategic and operational decision-making of the company. She was the CEO of the company before she was ousted from her role in April 2022. Ankiti Bose was associated with financial irregularities of the company and was eventually suspended from her duties for 51 days, and after this suspensation, she was finally terminated.

Ankiti Bose again has quit the Zilingo board, as of June 30, 2022. She has stated the same from her Instagram handle, adding that the board even failed to show her the reports from Kroll and Deloitte. The firing of Ankiti Bose from the CEO position and this resignation that she brought in to quit the Zilingo board, has two faces. Here, while the board is citing financial irregularities under Bose, Ankiti has brought up harassment complaints to the investors and claims that these were the reasons that changed the board's mind against her. However, the Zilingo board denied all the allegations of any wrongdoings whatsoever.

Dhruv Kapoor

Dhruv Kapoor is an IIT Guwahati alumnus and is known as the CTPO of Zilingo. He worked at the gaming company Kiwi Inc., as a software engineer, before joining Zilingo. Kapoor was a Software Engineer at Yahoo before that.

Aadi Vaidya, the Zilingo COO, quit Zilingo after 7 years of being with the firm, as of July 30, 2022. Along with talking highly of his tenure with the company, where he learned too many things to sum up in words, Vaidya stated that he is geared up to meet with interesting people, read, travel and re-prioritise. Aadi is now looking to embrace his next adventure.

The resignation of Aadi comes after Ankiti was separated from the firm in May 2022, and Ramesh Bafna, the CFO of Zilingo, stepped down in the same month. Besides, Naushaba Salahuddin, the head of PR and communications, also quit the beleaguered company in the meanwhile.

The employee strength of Zilingo now ranges between 201-500 employees, as per its LinkedIn profile.

Zilingo - Startup Story

Ankiti was once on a vacation trip to Bangkok with her pals. The majority of the sellers at Thailand's Chatuchak market came from distant communities miles away. They were unable to market their products on the internet. The main reason is that they lack both technical and economic expertise.

She chose to do business in Thailand because it could benefit over 8000 small businesses there. She founded Zilingo, one of Southeast Asia's most popular online platforms. By developing the right customers throughout the world, particularly merchants, obtain larger advantages in their product range.

Ankiti earned her bachelor's degree in Economics and Mathematics from St. Xavier's College in Mumbai in 2012. In 2014, Ankiti met Dhruv Kapoor during a house party. They shared the same talents and abilities, as well as the desire to establish a business by permitting a more inventive technique.

Dhruv worked as a software developer for a well-known gaming firm, while Ankiti worked as an analyst for Sequoia India. During the party, Ankiti and Dhruv established a deal that allowed the two of them to leave their jobs and start their own business. Both of them quit their jobs within four months to work on Zilingo, a fashion e-commerce technology company.

Two of them put their resources and savings of around $30,000 into the Zilingo startup concept. The Sequoia company also put money into Zilingo. With its innovative and open-minded founders, Zilingo has had more success. Eventually, Ankiti became the CEO, and Dhruv the CTPO of the company.

Zilingo - Mission

Zilingo's mission is "to provide a platform where thousands of fashion merchants could sell and become part of the digital economy."

Zilingo - Business and Revenue Model

On the back of its robust business model, Zilingo had geared to revolutionize the clothing and accessories industry by assisting small firms in bypassing intermediaries on their journey to a massive internet market. It decided to provide traders with an end-to-end cloud-based platform that not only connected but also provided technical and financial assistance to numerous independent participants.

The company operates as a B2B platform in the fashion industry that offers small businesses the resources, networking, financial, and technical help they need to interact with other small businesses and their larger client base. To grow their firm, a small retailer or designer can now acquire raw materials from suppliers, manufacturers, and even tech help.

Zilingo has raised over $347 million in funding and had almost closed in terms of valuation to become one of the Indian unicorn companies, but that didn't happen ultimately. However, it aspires to become a big player in fashion by building symbiotic connections with small merchants and enterprises since they are committed to enabling small firms in the sector. It wants to become a platform that enables small brands to band together and continue growing, in rivalry with multinational companies.

The Zilingo revenue model primarily depends on the business-to-business operations that Zilingo does, of matching brands with suppliers. In 2019, the same operations successfully contributed to 80% of the revenues that Zilingo received.  

Zilingo - Funding, and Investors

Zilingo has received 7 funding rounds in total as of June 20, 2022, which might receive yet another funding round worth around $8 mn in equity in tranches to prevent the voluntary liquidation of the company, as stated by the letter that the founders of the company have forwarded the board, according to reports dated June 20, 2022.  

Zilingo - Growth

Zilingo has achieved quite a growth since it started. The company has powered innovation for 20,000+ companies worldwide. It even chased the unicorn valuation and reached $970 mn in net worth before the outbreak of the Covid-19 disease. The customers of Zilingo include reputed brands like Flipkart, FirstCry, Myntra, Wrogn, Nykaa, Aditya Birla Group, Radnik, Dressmen, Redwolf and more. Zilingo went from being a company that was all set to raise millions of dollars to one that needs to fight for its survival. Remarking on the same, Ankiti Bose, the Former Founder, CEO, and Board member, said “hundreds of employees and customers are also in a state of limbo and do not have any clarity on their future: just like me.”  

Numerous media reports stated that the Zilingo company is all set to liquidate in order to pay its creditors off, while Bose has opposed this decision of the board, mentioning that would result in unsettling numerous employees.

Zilingo - Competitors

The top Zilingo competitors include:

  • deco network
  • Zalora
  • BlueCherry Suite
  • RLM Apparel Software
  • Printavo
  • ApparelMagic
  • SupplyCompass
  • Sync
  • TRIMIT Fashion

Zilingo - Challenges Faced

Zilingo's issues began with disorganized management and a lack of transparency in expenditures and quickly escalated into a violent ideological battle between founders Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor, which risked swallowing the company whole.

Lack of Proper Software

In the early days, the capital-intensive B2C vertical and the lack of a software platform for B2B operations led to overpaying on marketing, staff committing fraud, and more.

The Covid-19 Onslaught

Zilingo was once a company that was a soonicorn, the value of which neared $970 bn in 2019. However, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, revenues started dipping and layoffs followed. The revenues dropped to 1/3rd of what it was prior to the pandemic period, which was roughly estimated at around $40 mn. Even the Former Co-founder-CEO, Ankiti Bose also took a 30% pay cut as a result.

Legal action against the co-founder and the sack of CEO Ankiti Bose

Ankiti Bose is believed to have taken legal action against co-founder Dhruv Kapoor and is attempting to purchase back Sequoia's 26% stake in the firm, notwithstanding her suspension.

Ankiti Bose and Sequoia's Shailendra Singh had a personal spat about the direction of the business, capital burn, and the absence of a route to revenue gains, all stemming from the company's concentration on a rapid expansion that began in 2018. And that unfolded as conflicts between Bose and Dhruv Kapoor, the other co-founder, grew.

There have also been claims that Kapoor and other top workers at the business concealed sexual harassment reports. Bose is reportedly considering suing Kapoor as well as buying back Sequoia's investment in the firm.

It was more like a jigsaw puzzle, with concepts and tactics that lacked practical vision and preparation. In the early years, the digital platform was mostly absent, and Zilingo burned through millions of dollars marketing and promoting the B2C fashion vertical. Founders argued over various ideas and even alleged practises of sexual harassment in the workplace throughout all of this. But now the case against Zilingo is that he committed deliberate fraud. At least, that's what the board says, but we don't know what the fraud was, how it happened, or how it escaped the notice of the board and key VCs like Sequoia, Burda, Temasek, Beenext, and others.

The Zilingo board was already looking forward to a voluntary liquidation of the company, but the founders Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor have joined hands to make a management buyout offer of the company, as per reports dated June 20, 2022. The letter that was issued by the Co-founder and CTPO of Zilingo Dhruv Kapoor, mentioned that the new investor will infuse $8 mn in equity in tranches. According to this new offer, if the deal comes through, "pursuant to Singapore's Insolvency, Restructuring, and Dissolution Act, Zilingo will be transferred to the ownership of a newly incorporated entity."

A look at how the events unfolded and the firing of the company CEO and Co-founder Ankiti Bose

If you are wondering how Ankiti Bose was fired all of a sudden, then here's a look at all the events that happened and led to the eventual firing of the Zilingo CEO Ankiti Bose:

  • April 12, 2022 - Ziling shareholders discovered financial irregularities and suspended Ankiti Bose until May 5th. Bose was first called to a meeting dated March 31st, 2022, and was briefed about serious complaints against her, and all about financial discrepancies and mismanagement. Bose, in turn, called the company's actions a "witch hunt".
  • April 14, 2022 - Shailendra Singh, Sequoia Capital MD stepped down.
  • April 19, 2022 - Zilingo Board discussed replacing Ankiti Bose, and talks of the company CFO Ramesh Bafna to be elevated as the CEO circulated.
  • May 4, 2022 - The Zilingo Board appointed Deloitte to launch a probe after Ankiti Bose claimed that sexual harassment was an issue after she was suspended. Dhruv Kapoor also penned a note to the employees where he defended the company.
  • May 20, 2022 - Zilingo fired Ankiti Bose, and stated that it can also take legal action against her.  


What does Zilingo do?

Zilingo is a B2B technology platform that provides innovative manufacturing, sourcing, and trading technologies to the global clothing distribution chain.

Who founded Zilingo?

Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor founded Zilingo in 2015.

When was Zilingo founded?

Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor founded Zilingo in 2015.

Is Ankiti Bose still the CEO of Zilingo?

The former CEO-Co-founder, Ankiti Bose was fired by Zilingo on May 20, 2022. So, she is no longer the CEO of Zilingo.

Why was Ankiti Bose fired by Zilingo?

Ankiti Bose was sacked by Zilingo board because of financial irregularities noticed in the company in relation to Ankiti Bose.

What are the Zilingo competitors?

The main Zilingo competitors are:

  • deco network
  • Zalora
  • BlueCherry Suite
  • RLM Apparel Software
  • Printavo
  • ApparelMagic
  • SupplyCompass
  • Sync
  • TRIMIT Fashion