Temasek and EDBI backed Zilingo enters liquidation

Temasek and EDBI backed Zilingo enters liquidation

Singapore-based fashion technology start-up Zilingo has entered liquidation, as its ACRA record shows.

According to its sources by Bloomberg, Zilingo’s board of directors has appointed EY Corporate Services as its provisional liquidator.

It is reported that Zilingo’s creditors Varde Partners and Indies Capital Partners found a buyer for some of its assets and they have already been transferred to the new owner for an undisclosed purchase price.

When asked, Zilingo declined to give a comment to Bloomberg but major shareholders and creditors have reportedly been informed of the decision.

Founded by a former Sequoia analyst, Ankiti Bose, and ex-Yahoo engineer Dhruv Kapoor, Zilingo once had about 600 employees in eight countries and was valued at about US$1 billion.

In 2018, Zilingo reportedly splashed out US$1 million to send a number of social media influencers to Morocco for a three-day extravaganza, including camel rides, a hot-air balloon trip, yoga lessons and gourmet dinners — after it had secured US$54 million in funding.

A source told Bloomberg that the marketing campaign was a “massive flop” as it only brought in 10,000 new users instead of the projected one million customers.

Later in 2019, Zilingo raised US$226M in its Series D financing from Sequoia Capital, Temasek Holdings, Burda Principal Investments, Sofina, Singapore investment fund EDBI and existing investors, bringing the total funds raised by the company to US$308M.

Bose was suspended from her duties as Chief Executive Officer at the fashion e-commerce platform on 31 March last year after the company opened an investigation into allegations of accounting irregularities.

Among other allegations, shareholders questioned her S$50,000 per month salary which according to her contract five years ago was S$8,500. Her management style of using intimidation to extract compliance in her daily working in Zilingo was also called into question.

Zilingo’s ACRA record also shows that it has not filed its financial report since March 2019.

More than 100 staff left in the wake of that decision, and a month later, Zilingo ousted Bose.

The company “decided to terminate Ms Ankiti Bose’s employment with cause, and reserves the right to pursue appropriate legal action,” it said in a statement.

Soon after the suspension, Temasek Holdings sent a ‘strongly’ message in April last year to errant start-ups in its venture capital portfolios, saying: ‘We expect our portfolio companies to abide by the sound corporate governance and codes of conduct and ethics. We are, therefore, in support of the board’s investigation into the complaint as a part of good governance to safeguard the interests of the company.’

The sovereign wealth fund did not elaborate on the investigation.

According to Bloomberg, Zilingo’s last headcount stood at fewer than 100 staff in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

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