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      认识一下这位27岁的女孩:曾经除了梦想一无所有,今天掌管独角兽

      Yoolim Lee, 彭博社 2019年03月16日

      在全球239家由风投支持的估值10亿美元以上的创业公司中,只有23家公司的创始人是女性。博斯是其中之一。

      时尚平台Zilingo是怎样获得近10亿美元估值的?这要从2014年说起。那年12月的一天,在印度科技之都班加罗尔,时任红杉资本印度分公司分析师的安基蒂·博斯正在家庭聚会上跟一名邻居聊天。

      博斯当时23岁。与她聊天的这个邻居名叫德鲁夫·卡普尔,当时24岁,是游戏公司Kiwi的一名软件工程师。两人很快意识到,他们拥有互补的技能,而且都有着创业的雄心。四个月之后,他们各自辞掉了工作,每人拿出3万美元存款,成立了Zilingo——一个方便东南亚的小商家在线做生意的电商平台。

      Zilingo将总部设在了新加坡。该公司于本周二表示,截至目前,它已经从红杉资本和淡马锡控股等投资者那里拉到了2.26亿美元融资。据不具名消息人士透露,Zilingo最近的估值已达9.7亿美元。年仅27岁的博斯也成为了亚洲地区“独角兽俱乐部”里最年轻的女性创业人。

      女性创业者在全球都不多见。根据创业指导网站Pitchbook去年5月的数据,在全球239家由风投支持的估值10亿美元以上的创业公司中,只有23家公司的创始人是女性。

      博斯表示:“我们只是一群二十多岁的年轻人,除了梦想一无所有,但我们决定去追逐梦想。”

      在线购物

      随着智能手机的快速普及和人均收入的提高,东南亚地区也诞生了一批像博斯一样的成功创业人。根据谷歌和淡马锡联合发布的一份报告,2018年,东南亚地区的网购总金额达到230亿美元,到2025年有望超过1000亿美元。

      从Zilingo最近递交给新加坡监管机构的备案文件看,2016财年(截止到2017年3月31日),该平台的收入为180万新元(约130万美元),高于上年度的43.4万新元。而到了2017财年(截止到2018年3月底),公司的收入增长了12倍,光是在4月到1月的时间段里就翻了四番。另一名创始人卡普尔在公司任首席技术官。

      这家公司一开始主要帮助小商家将产品卖给消费者,后来又扩展到一些新的领域。在他们与成千上万小商家打交道的过程中,他们也发现,许多商家是有潜力做大的,但是一缺技术,二缺资本,三缺规模效应。

      对此,他们有针对性地进行了扩张,开发了一些软件和工具,使商家可以更方便地联系到孟加拉国和越南的工厂,同时该公司还会在跨境物流和库存管理上提供协助。2018年以来,Zilingo还与几家金融科技公司合作,为小商家们提供运营资金,以使他们有钱购买生产商品所需的原材料。

      商家在Zilingo上展示商品是免费的,但是交易成功的话,每单就要抽成10%至20%了。

      时尚网站

      博斯的一些灵感来自于她一次去曼谷著名的周末市场参观的经历,那个市场有15000多个摊位,销售着来自于泰国各地的商品。这让她意识到,很多小商家并没有足够的机会去扩大他们的生意。

      自从2015年在泰国和柬埔寨投入运营以来,Zilingo已经在8个国家设立了办事处,拥有员工400余名。它还在印尼、泰国和菲律宾开设了几个时尚电商网站,很快还将登陆澳大利亚。

      红杉资本(印度)新加坡分公司的常务董事谢伦德拉·辛格表示,博斯已经找到了让Zilingo差异化的方法,对她来说,目前最重要的是招募一个合适的领导团队,保持正确的企业文化,以适应公司的“超高速增长”。

      博斯自幼在印度长大,她的父亲是一家国营石油公司的工程师,因此在她小时候,她的家庭时常搬家,这也让她接触到了印度各地的不同语言和文化。她母亲放弃了大学讲师的工作,将全部时间用在教育她唯一的孩子上。博斯在大学期间主修数学和经济学,成绩十分优异,最终在咨询公司麦肯锡获得了一份梦寐以求的工作,在麦肯锡期间,她主要面向印度新兴的科技、媒体和电信行业。

      博斯表示,自己创办Zilingo并不是心血来潮,而是在红杉资本的风投部门学会了如何评估东南亚主要创业公司的专业知识后,才自己去投身创业的。在红杉资本从事风投业务的过程中,她也看到了自己创业的巨大机遇。

      回忆起创业之前的日子,博斯说道:“我总是举手问问题,说:‘把所有东西都教给我吧!’我忙得不可开交,每天工作18个小时,因为它太有意思了。”(财富中文网)

      译者:朴成奎

      Zilingo Pte’s path to becoming a fashion platform with a valuation approaching $1 billion began in December 2014 when Ankiti Bose, then an analyst at Sequoia India, chatted with a neighbor at a house party in the Indian tech capital Bengaluru.

      Bose, then 23, and Dhruv Kapoor, a 24-year-old software engineer at gaming studio Kiwi Inc., quickly realized they had complementary skills and similar ambitions to build their own startup. Four months later they had quit their jobs, and each had put in their $30,000 in savings to found Zilingo, an online platform that allows small merchants in Southeast Asia to build scale.

      On Tuesday, the Singapore-based company said it raised $226 million from investors including Sequoia Capital and Temasek Holdings Pte. The latest financing valued Zilingo at $970 million, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the information is private. That makes 27-year-old Bose among the youngest female chief executives to lead a startup of the size in Asia.

      Female founders remain rare in the global startup world. Of the 239 venture capital-backed startups around the world worth at least $1 billion, only 23 have a female founder, according to data from Pitchbook in May last year.

      “We were a bunch of twenty-somethings with nothing except this dream and we decided to chase it,” Bose said.

      Shopping Online

      Bose is now part of a group of founders in Southeast Asia who are capitalizing on the region’s rapid adoption of smartphones and rising incomes. Online shopping in the region reached $23 billion in 2018, according to a report by Google and Temasek. It’s expected to exceed $100 billion by 2025.

      Zilingo posted revenue of S$1.8 million ($1.3 million) in the year ended on March 31, 2017, up from about S$434,000 since its inception though March 2016, according to the company’s most recent filing with Singapore regulators. Revenue grew 12 times in the year ended March 2018 and fourfold in the April to January period, according to the company. Kapoor holds the title of chief technology officer.

      The company started off by helping small merchants sell to consumers, and has since expanded into new areas. As the founders dealt with thousands of small sellers, they realized that many lacked access to technology, capital and economies of scale.

      So they expanded, developing software and other tools to allow vendors to access factories from Bangladesh to Vietnam and also help with cross-border shipping and inventory management. Since 2018, Zilingo has also worked with financial technology firms to provide working capital to small sellers so they can buy raw materials to produce goods.

      Listings are provided for free with the company charging a commission of between 10 percent and 20 percent on orders.

      Fashion Site

      Some of Bose’s early inspiration came from a visit to Bangkok’s popular Chatuchak market, which features more than 15,000 booths selling goods from across Thailand. She realized the sellers didn’t have sufficient opportunities to expand.

      Since setting up its first presence in Thailand and Cambodia in 2015, the company has grown to have offices in eight countries with 400 employees. It operates fashion e-commerce sites in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines and is preparing to launch in Australia soon.

      While Bose has figured out a way to differentiate Zilingo, her challenge is to now manage the company’s “hyper-growth” by recruiting the right leadership team and maintaining the right culture, said Shailendra Singh, managing director of Sequoia Capital (India) Singapore.

      Raised in India, Bose’s father’s job as an engineer at a state-owned oil company caused the family to constantly move when she was a child, exposing her to different cultures and languages within the country. Her mother gave up her career as a university lecturer and devoted her time teaching her only child at home. Bose excelled as a student, studied math and economics, and eventually landed a coveted job with consultancy McKinsey & Co. in India, where she covered India’s burgeoning technology, media and telecom sector.

      She took the calculated plunge to set up Zilingo, she says, after gaining expertise evaluating major startups in Southeast Asia at Sequoia India’s venture capital business. As she did that, she saw a huge opportunity to build a business herself.

      “I kept raising my hand and said, ‘Teach me everything,’” Bose said of her pre-startup years. “I busted my ass, working 18 hours a day because it was so much fun.”

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