Fashion start-up Zilingo to pump $136m into US ops

Zilingo chief executive Ankiti Bose says her firm levels the playing field in fashion so that businesses can have access to a fair, transparent, affordable and fast supply chain. PHOTO: ZILINGO
Zilingo chief executive Ankiti Bose says her firm levels the playing field in fashion so that businesses can have access to a fair, transparent, affordable and fast supply chain. PHOTO: ZILINGO

Singapore-based fashion technology platform Zilingo said yesterday that it will invest US$100 million (S$136 million) across the United States to digitally transform the fashion supply chain.

Part of the investment will go into hiring staff for its sales and product teams in the US, where the start-up recently launched operations with offices in New York and Los Angeles.

It will also help to make responsible manufacturing fast, feasible and accessible for US retailers enabled by Zilingo, while factories in the country will see improved line efficiency, labour management and sustainable sourcing, said the company.

The US investment also comes as Zilingo plans to enter new markets, including Australia, Europe and the Middle East.

The start-up uses technology-led solutions to reimagine the fashion supply chain. These include software to connect merchants and factories to digitise, automate and scale, and to remove unnecessary middlemen; artificial intelligence to predict upcoming fashion trends; and financial services in terms of credit, working capital and insurance.

Zilingo focuses on building a global network of sustainable supply, and also provides access to auditing and compliance services to ensure responsible manufacturing.

Early this year, it raised US$226 million in Series D funding, bringing the total amount raised by the company to US$308 million.

Key investors in the latest round included Sequoia Capital, Temasek, Singapore investment fund EDBI, Burda Principal Investments, Sofina and existing investors.

Zilingo is valued at US$970 million after the fresh funding, according to a Bloomberg report in February.

The start-up began in 2015 as an e-commerce platform in South-east Asia, but has since expanded upstream into the business-to-business space to look at problems relating to sourcing, software, data and financing.

Zilingo co-founder and chief executive Ankiti Bose said: "The fashion industry is exploitative, wasteful and, frankly, completely broken.

"We're bringing technology to a supply chain that hasn't changed since the industrial revolution. Zilingo levels the playing field in fashion so that businesses - no matter big or small - can have access to a fair, transparent, affordable, fast supply chain," she added.

The start-up works with 60,000 retailers and 6,000 factories on its platform, across 17 countries.

Part of the investment will go into hiring staff for its sales and product teams in the US, where the start-up recently launched operations with offices in New York and Los Angeles.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2019, with the headline 'Fashion start-up Zilingo to pump $136m into US ops'. Print Edition | Subscribe