Temasek-backed Zilingo poised to go into liquidation: Report

Zilingo, backed by Temasek, is about to liquidate: Bloomberg reports that the Singapore-based startup Zilingo is about to go out of business.

According to sources who spoke with the financial news service provider, the board of the fashion technology start-up has appointed EY Corporate Services as its provisional liquidator.

Some of its assets have already been transferred to the new owner for an undisclosed purchase price, according to reports from its creditors Varde Partners and Indies Capital Partners.

Zilingo declined to comment to Bloomberg when asked, but the decision has reportedly been communicated to major shareholders and creditors.

Temasek stated that it did not wish to comment in response to CNA’s inquiries.

The process of liquidation concludes the demise of a start-up that was once adored throughout Southeast Asia and Singapore’s tech scene.

Temasek Holdings and Sequoia Capital India, the regional arm of the Silicon Valley firm that backed Apple and Google, were among the region’s most prominent investors. At its height, the company had raised more than US$300 million.

In its most recent round of fundraising, Zilingo raised $226 million at the beginning of 2019, valuing the company at approximately $1 billion. The company had approximately 600 employees spread across eight nations.

However, cracks began to appear after that, and the board became more concerned about the company’s poor financial performance and excessive spending.

According to reports, Zilingo spent $1 million to send a number of social media influencers to Morocco in 2018 for a three-day celebration that included camel rides, a trip in a hot air balloon, yoga classes, and gourmet meals.

Bloomberg, on the other hand, was informed by a source that the marketing campaign was a “massive flop” because it only attracted 10,000 new users instead of the one million customers that were anticipated.

The COVID-19 pandemic also hampered Zilingo’s revenues, and the company failed to submit annual financial statements for two years in 2020 and 2021, which is a fundamental requirement for all businesses of its size in Singapore.

Ankiti Bose, the company’s CEO and co-founder, was fired in April after an investigation into the company’s accounts revealed allegations of financial irregularities.

After that decision, more than 100 employees left, and Bose was fired a month later. Zilingo said at the time that it reserved the right to take appropriate legal action.

In May of last year, chief financial officer Ramesh Bafna, who had been in the position for just two months, and chief operating officer Aadi Vaidya left the company, continuing the trend of downsizing and eliminating additional C-suite positions.

Bloomberg claims that Zilingo had less than 100 employees at its most recent peak in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India.

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