From making it to Forbes 30 under 30 Asia list in 2018, being on track to build a unicorn to now being sacked from the company she created, Ankiti Bose has been through multiple zeniths and nadirs.
She charted Zilingo’s road to progress by changing track from being a fashion marketplace to a service provider to businesses. Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor brought their maiden venture Zilingo within sniffing distance of becoming a unicorn within four years of launching their company in 2015 largely by taking a few unusual and tough calls.
The idea behind Zilingo was to be an online marketplace to aggregate Southeast Asian retailers who didn’t have the capabilities to sell online themselves and give them a platform to do so. Originally conceived of as a B2B platform, it also tried to build consumer-facing B2C operations, which is where trouble eventually brewed.
In 2019, Zilingo really burst onto the scene, raising $226 million from investors, including Bose’s former employee Sequoia Capital, Singaporean sovereign investment fund Temasek and Burda Principal. According to Forbes, the company was valued at $970 million at the time.
According to an investigation by Inc42, the first problem came from the B2C business, into which money was invested without proper planning. Ankiti Bose was touted to have been heavily involved in the B2C push, including attempts to get into the US market with Zilingo’s vendors’ products, where a great deal of money was spent with little visible results.
According to Inc42, it was here that allegations of misuse of funds began to appear as well, according to sources in Zilingo, including for personal flight tickets, luxury item purchases, and contracts with a branding agency.
However, sources close to Ankiti Bose have denied the allegations to Inc42 and argued that she had even paid for company expenses from her own finances.
The Zilingo board suspended Bose on March 31st, 2022 after a whistleblower apprised the company investors of financial wrongdoings in which she was allegedly involved. After investigations, she was officially fired on May 20th.
This seems to have opened up a plethora of social media outrage against her, forcing her to obtain an expedited protective order against a Twitter user from the Singapore courts on May 27th.
— Ankiti Bose (@AnkitiB) May 27, 2022
Ankiti Bose has mentioned that she will be going on record soon with all facts about her termination, including issues of conflict of interest and filing of harassment claims. Till that time, she will be remembered as the woman who stormed the business world and crashed in a plane she had painstakingly built herself.
Not competent enough to sit idle and stare as the world goes by, Pallavi is optimistic to a fault and believes in building her world on her own rather than depending on others to make things right.