Asia’s fastest growing marketplace Zilingo has raised $ 226 million in its recent Series D financing, bringing the total funds raised by the company to $ 308 million. The company now looks to Sri Lanka as well as other key Asian markets as part of its growth strategy to expand its B2B business.
Key investors from this latest round of fundraising include Sequoia Capital, Temasek Holdings, Burda Principal Investments, Sofina, Singapore investment fund EDBI as well as existing investors.
“Sequoia’s investment in Zilingo dates back to when the company wasn’t even yet incorporated and the name wasn’t finalised. Ankiti and team have 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,” said Sequoia Capital (India) Singapore Managing Director Shailendra Singh.
Value for its merchants, access to world’s most efficient fashion supply chain
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 pain points first-hand. These businesses were unable 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. A small merchant neither has the volume to source as cheaply as large conglomerates, nor do they have enough influence to get the best rates from service providers or warehouses.
This propelled Zilingo to expand its core business beyond just their marketplace. The company soon developed its own proprietary suite of tools to enable fashion merchants to access manufacturers across Asia; unlocking the best procurement rates, optimised logistics services, financial solutions, insurance, loans and analytics for them.
While most e-commerce companies remain focused on B2C and C2C commerce, Zilingo’s approach has been unique and focused on the underserved use case of creating value for fashion merchants and manufacturers. Today, Zilingo’s B2B business focuses on solving two major problems in the global fashion industry: One, the lack of clarity for international clothing brands who are looking to produce in Asia and two, the lack of year-round demand consistency for clothing manufacturers in Asia who need to keep their factories running.
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 Asia Mall and Z-Seller platforms.
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. We are building a level playing field by providing the best-in-class services and products to each merchant – irrespective of their size. We think this approach can unlock immense growth for manufacturers as we build this supply chain ecosystem of tools and services, supported by Zilingo’s proprietary software, aimed at improving efficiency.”
Asia: The untapped and infinite powerhouse of fashion supply in numbers
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.
One of the biggest challenges facing manufacturers is the seasonality of demand – the peaks and troughs of orders. Zilingo helps factories overcome this uncertainty by bringing in year-round demand. This allows factories to maintain consistent supply and maintain their skilled headcount without the need for their own in-house sales teams.
Zilingo acts as a trusted partner plugging the gap between supply and demand whilst adding technology, fintech, and economies of scale on top. Customers who partner with Zilingo enjoy the benefits of the Zilingo network and can purchase fabric and raw materials at better pricing through Zilingo. Manufacturers can access advanced payment and design support through Zilingo. Both manufacturers and brands are supported by local Zilingo teams who can provide support and expertise.
Zilingo has grown tremendously by integrating its B2B and B2C platforms and focusing on serving its merchants as well as manufacturers better. The company has grown 4x in revenue 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.
Funds to invest in infrastructure and tech
The company will use the funds to invest in the infrastructure and tech needed to further integrate and digitise the fashion and beauty supply chain.
The company plans to invest the capital for long-term value building across the supply chain, building new and deeper relationships with manufacturing partners in Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, and expansion into new markets such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia and the United States of America this year.
Zilingo is committed to accelerating growth by working closely with its merchants and manufacturing partners to leverage its proprietary technology and unlock the immense global potential and opportunity for manufacturers, 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. It is 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 the most value,” says Co-founder and CTO Dhruv Kapoor.