- Zilingo’s board members have suspended CEO Ankiti Bose amid financial scrutiny.
- Reuters and Bloomberg reported that investors are concerned with the startup’s accounting practices.
- Zilingo was founded in 2015 and reached $970 million in valuation four years later.
A fashion e-commerce startup in Singapore valued at $970 million has suspended its CEO after investors began an investigation into the company’s accounting practices, Bloomberg and Reuters reported this week, citing unnamed sources.
30-year-old Ankiti Bose co-founded Zilingo with Dhruv Kapoor in 2015. In 2019, Zilingo raised $226 million from its investors, which raised its valuation to Bloomberg to $970 million.
On Wednesday, Zilingo said its board members decided to suspend Bose because the “cases” were under investigation, Reuters reported.
The company did not specify the focus of the investigation to Reuters, but unnamed sources told Reuters and Bloomberg that the investigation pertains to the company’s financial and accounting practices. These include how the startup was keeping records of transactions and revenue, sources told Bloomberg. The company has refrained from filing annual financial statements since 2019.
Bose and cofounder Kapoor met in 2014 in Bengaluru, India, where they shared an idea to help small players produce, source and trade fashion apparel. Bloomberg reported in 2019 that he made Singapore the base of the company. The investigation and Bose’s suspension threatened to derail Bose’s startup, which he had given unicorn status.
Big-name Zilingo investors Temasek Holdings and Sequoia Capital first raised concerns with their boards last month, sources told Bloomberg and Reuters.
“Principal investors have hired an independent firm to investigate the matter, and the company is working closely with major investors and the independent firm,” Zilingo said in a statement to Reuters.
According to a correspondence seen by Bloomberg, Bose disputed Zilingo’s board’s decision to suspend him and called it a “witch hunt.” It was the first outlet to report on Bose’s suspension.
Bose’s lawyer told Bloomberg, “We believe that our client’s suspension has been achieved by invalid and faulty means, that the investigation launched against him is unfair and deficient in due process, and that he should be given a fair and reasonable order.” has been suspended without reason.” ,
Zilingo, Bose and their lawyer did not immediately respond to insider requests for comment.
According to Bloomberg, Zilingo has offices in Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and India. In 2020, the company laid off dozens of employees from its 900-strong workforce as Southeast Asia enforced a COVID lockdown, according to a company blog post and a previous Bloomberg news report.
As these economies reopen, Zilingo is predicting better financial conditions in the coming fiscal years. According to documents seen by Bloomberg, at the end of 2021, it was projected that core net revenue for that fiscal year would increase from about $40 million to about $60 million in fiscal 2022.