As IPO Market Freezes, Should Sovereign Wealth Funds Expect More Zilingos?

Posted on 04/16/2022

Global institutional investors sometimes understand that timing is everything and with the IPO market stalled, some sovereign wealth funds may be holding the bag on some of their unicorn startup investments.

Singapore-based Zilingo is an online fashion marketplace focused on Southeast Asia. A probe initiated by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings and Sequoia Capital India, found some accounting irregularities. Zilingo co-founder and CEO Ankiti Bose was suspended by Zilingo. Bose has disputed allegations of wrongdoing. Zilingo started in Thailand in 2015 and was formed by Ankiti Bose at the age of 23 and Dhruv Kapoor. She was a former Analyst with Sequoia Capital India and McKinsey & Company working in Bangalore.

Zilingo is under investigation for accounting practices. With regard to publicly available records on Singapore’s accounting regulator’s website, Zilingo has not filed annual returns for 2020 and 2021 and the last return was for March 2019.Shailendra Singh of Sequoia Capital India has left the board of Zilingo. Sequoia Capital India then appointed Sandeep Kher, director and head of portfolio finance at Sequoia Capital India, as a board director of Zilingo. Previously, directors representing Temasek Holdings (Xu Weiyang) and Burda Principal Investments (Albert Shyy) both stepped down. According to March 31, 2019 financial statements, Zilingo had an operating loss in the tens of millions.

The Music Stops
Zilingo attempted to raise US$ 150 million with help from Goldman Sachs Group. Zilingo was trying to reach unicorn status with a valuation above US$ 1 billion. Zilingo has raised around US$ 350 million in venture capital funding. In February 2019, Zilingo raised US$ 226 million in Series D funding from Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDBI) and return investors Temasek Holdings, Sequoia Capital India, Burda Principal Investments, and Sofina. In April 2018, Zilingo raised US$ 54 million in a Series C round that was led by Sofina, Burda Principal Investments, and Sequoia Capital India. Zilingo’s other existing investors, including Tim Draper, SIG, Venturra, Beenext, and Manik Arora, all participated in the Series C round, with Amadeus Capital joining the round too. For a Southeast Asian startup, Zilingo raised big money over its peers in its state of its lifecycle.

In September 2017, Zilingo raised US$ 18 million in Series B funding co-led by Sequoia Capital India and Burda Principal Investments.

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