Zilingo gains seed funding for mobile-first e-store

Thai startup Zilingo gives market traders an international eCommerce gateway.

Zilingo is a mobile-first online marketplace that allows merchants to list their inventory, set their prices, and fulfill online orders. Users can browse through available stores and products, then order and pay with their credit card, according to a report on TechInAsia.

Zilingo’s services include shipping, packaging, payment options, an analytics dashboard for mobile, order tracking, refund and cancellation options, and consultation on pricing strategy. The app also provides chat, through which a customer can get directly in touch with a merchant.

The concept was created by Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor, who saw an opportunity for themselves when they visited the country on vacation. Bose is an ex-McKinsey consultant from Mumbai, India, who later worked for global venture capital firm Sequoia. Together with IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) graduate Kapoor, they decided to create a way for these retailers to find new customers online.

The startup doesn’t charge merchants for listing, or any other fees, providing most of its services for free. It only takes a cut out of successful sales, wanting to encourage adoption and to “only charge for things that actually add value to the [merchants’] business.”

Zilingo has only recently gone live, and is available to buyers and merchants across Thailand. Within November 2015, buyers from Singapore, Indonesia, and Hong Kong will also have access to the platform’s Thai sellers. Other Southeast Asian countries will follow, according to the startup. Bose says there are currently more than 300 sellers on the site, Ankiti says.

The company has already raised external funding, to the tune of US$1.88 million from Sequoia India, Teru Sato of Beenext, and Freecharge’s Kunal Shah and Sandeep Tandon.

“We are delighted to back Ankiti and Dhruv, a highly talented and committed founding team, in their efforts to build a mobile-first marketplace for Thailand,” says Shailendra Singh, Sequoia India MD.

“We liked the team and their mobile-first product so much, that we agreed to invest at the concept stage. It’s early days for the company, but we’re excited about the prospects for Zilingo.”

Thailand’s retail sector is expected to be worth US$179.2 billion in 2016. Despite growing smartphone and credit card usage in the country, however, a lot of retailers haven’t jumped on the eCommerce bandwagon yet, leaving a lot of opportunity on the table.

  • Edited from a story published by TechinAsia. For more stories on eCommerce around Asia, sign up to receive their regular newsletter.

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