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  • Beautiful clothes here.

  • So can you tell me a little bit about some of these?

  • This is Ankiti Bose.

  • She's 27, a fashion junkie and on course to become the first Indian woman to co-found a billion dollar start-up.

  • I think to be an entrepreneur, or to do anything, you have to be a pathological optimist.

  • Bose is CEO of online fashion marketplace Zilingo.

  • She started the business with her neighbour, Dhruv Kapoor, back in 2015, when she was just 23.

  • We were neighbours. Literally, it was unit 302 and 303, and we had never met.

  • But my flatmate invited his flatmate over for a beer, and neither of us was actually supposed to be there.

  • That casual get together in Bangalore gave birth to what would eventually become Zilingo.

  • And in four short years has grown it into a global platform with more than seven million active users.

  • I've come to Zilingo's HQ in Singapore to find out more.

  • Ankiti, tell me, how did this all start?

  • It was 2014, and I was on a holiday with some friends in Bangkok.

  • And we were in this market called Chatuchak, which has over 8,000 small stores, designers.

  • And I was like, "Wow, this stuff should be online."

  • But they just couldn't sell online, they didn't know how to.

  • And that was the inception.

  • At the time, Bose was working in India as an investment analyst for venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.

  • The fact that I was working in venture capital and consulting before that definitely played an important role in shaping our opinions on what would work and what would not work.

  • But as she closely followed the tech's pace, she was keen to do something of her own.

  • We started spending a lot of time with merchants and we realized that there were some gaps, right.

  • So, everybody was solving for access to the internet.

  • But what about everything else that goes on before you actually sell the product?

  • So when she met Kapoor and found their skill sets well-matched, she decided to go all in.

  • We knew what we wanted to do together was the same.

  • It was really quite serendipitous.

  • The business initially started by listing products from merchants across Southeast Asia.

  • But now works with businesses in 15 regions globally.

  • The business also has around 500 employees in eight countries.

  • We have 25-year-olds, we have 50-year-olds.

  • Everybody's leading initiatives that they're really passionate about, and I really like to get behind that and that makes all the difference.

  • Zilingo, which is a play on the word "zillions", has fueled that growth with $308 million worth of investment.

  • Plus $30,000 each from both Bose and Kapoor.

  • At the close of its series D funding round in February 2019, that valued the company at $970 million.

  • With revenues having grown four times in the past year, investors suggest that could put the company on for a $1 billion valuation in the coming months.

  • We don't put as much emphasis and importance on some of the more glamorous labels.

  • But I still think it's a huge achievement and just helps us think more about how big and audacious this whole thing can be.

  • That would be all the more impressive given that India recently ranked as one of the least accommodating countries for women entrepreneurs.

  • Ankiti's success is an important milestone.

  • This is Leanne Robers, founder of She Loves Tech, a global platform for women tech entrepreneurs.

  • I spoke to her about what Bose's achievement could mean for others.

  • Leanne, why do you think Ankiti's achievement is important?

  • Well, today there's such an under representation of women in technology and women in entrepreneurship.

  • And it's really important to have female role models like Ankiti, because you can't be what you can't see.

  • Look at the example of running a mile in four minutes.

  • Back in the day, people thought that it was physically impossible for a human to break the barrier of running a mile in less than four minutes.

  • Until, Roger Bannister did it in 1954.

  • And after he did it, he broke this perceived barrier, and the floodgates just opened up.

  • In the same way that Bannister broke barriers for runners, I hope Ankiti will do the same for women and encourage more women to enter into entrepreneurship, especially in Asia.

  • And for Bose, that would be the real success story.

  • One of the things that we didn't have as much growing up was role models in tech and new, innovative industries.

  • And we want to make sure that maybe the next generation doesn't have that problem.

Beautiful clothes here.

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She's set to become India's first female unicorn founder - and she's only in her 20s | CNBC Make It

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    Celeste posted on 2019/06/08
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