Riding A Unicorn

Ankiti Boses Zilingo may soon become a part of the elite $1 billion club

Ankiti Bose, Co-founder & CEO, Zilingo Ankiti Bose, Co-founder & CEO, Zilingo

Ankiti Bose, Co-founder and CEO of Zilingo, had closely followed the rise of global ecommerce players as a consultant at McKinsey and an analyst with Sequoia Capital. Finally, a trip to Thailand gave her an inspiration to enter the world of e-commerce. She, along with ex-Yahoo techie Dhruv Kapoor, moved to South-east Asia and opened an online marketplace for unorganised businesses in fashion and beauty in Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. They later extended operations to Malaysia and the Philippines.

Zilingo, started in 2015, vets each seller for authenticity, pricing and other metrics. If they meet the criteria, they are given access to services such as tech support, financing and insurance. While listing is free, the company charges a commission of 10-30 per cent on each sale. Zilingo works with over 25,000 businesses and has over 500 employees, including about 80 engineers in Bangalore, across eight locations. It has received nearly $308 million funding over five rounds from investors such as Sequoia India, Temasek, Sofina and EDBI. With the last round of $228 million in February 2019, Zilingo is close to joining the unicorn club. It will be among a handful of start-ups started by a woman to enter the elite club.

At an awards event earlier, she had said: "Choosing the right founding team for your #startup and early investors is a bigger, more serious decision than even marriage, and can be murkier than a divorce if you get it wrong. Always look for people who aren't afraid of the brutally honest truth."