The e-commerce industry in Southeast Asia is getting more and more crowded. What with the local e-commerce such as Tokopedia and Tiki, the regional such as Lazada and Shopee and even those from Chinese such as JD. But Zilingo proved that there’s room left to make a difference in the industry.
Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor, both 27 and 28 were chatting in a party and found out that they have same dream of starting a company. The small chat grew big, taking them to move out to Thailand in 2015 to start Zilingo.
As an ex-employer at Sequoia Capital, Bose knows exactly how to put a distance from other e-commerce platforms. It started off offering fashions by joining partnerships with small merchants around Thailand.
Then, the company grew with various investment. The most recent one is a $226 million worth of funding from Sequoia, Burda Principal and Temasek Holdings. Now the company has $970 million valuation. The valuation makes both of its co-founders the first female unicorn co-founders from India.
Moving out from Thailand to Singapore, it now has other offices across 8 markets. The markets include Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and US. And it is considering another expansion to the South American Market.
What set Zilingo apart from other platforms
Unlike other e-commerce platforms, Zilingo always encourages its 30,000 merchants to sell their goods at other platforms. The company provides them with analytic software, management tools, automated logistics and payment systems. And it only take 15% from sales made in its platform.
Though it is similar to Alibaba’s system, Bose is unfazed. According to her, the merchants in Indonesia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are still in sort of tech and financial services. And Alibaba’s JD operates just like other e-commerce in the region.
However Zilingo has yet to face profit. Even though Bose previously expected her company to turn profit within 18 months. Instead, it reported a $6.3 million loss over $1.3 million revenue in 2017.