Zilingo goes the way as a start-up in absence of Amazon.
Lazada only dominant e-commerce player in Thailand where 4G is seamless.
Mumbai, India | Red Newswire | Nov 10, 2015 00:26 IST.
Two years ago, on a vacation in Thailand, Ankiti Bose was soaking up the sun, shopping on the streets of Bangkok and wondering which bar she could hit for the evening, when she noticed all store owners had phones with seamless fourth-generation (4G) connections. What came as a surprise was near absence of an e-commerce buzz in that country.
“There is no e-commerce marketplace in Thailand for customers to get access to the excellent Bangkok stores. The only one around which comes close is Lazada, where the prices were not consistent and packaging was a problem,” Bose said.
The former technology venture capitalist at Sequoia Capital teamed with friend Dhruv Kapoor, who was working at an American gaming start-up in Bengaluru, and decided to start Zilingo in Bangkok.
Ask her why Thailand of all the places, and she laughs. “South East Asia is a $2.4-trillion retail market, waiting to be brought online,” said Bose, chief executive of Zilingo. “In Thailand, 4G is seamless and in Bengaluru, India’s Silicon Valley, we are still trying to get consistent 3G coverage.”
The crowded e-commerce market in India, and the infrastructure struggling to come to terms with demand, made her path easier. The $1.8-million seed investment from Sequoia Capital, Teru Sato of BeeNext, Kunal Shah and Sandeep Tandon of Freecharge and others added to her resolve.
“We liked the team and their mobile-first product so much, that we agreed to invest at the concept stage. It’s early days, but we’re excited about the prospects,” said Shailendra Singh, managing director, Sequoia Capital India Advisors.
The duo started to play with the idea of whether or not they needed to develop a back end.
“There are several plug-and-play options but they can’t scale, especially when we go to other markets,” she said. Language in these plug-and-play solutions is a huge block. So, Kapoor, who is the chief technology officer, started to work on coding and developing the back-end. “These plug-and-play options can’t translate, our back-end can,” she said.
The company already has on board 300 sellers and has integrated a unique chat console on the website so a buyer could talk to the seller. The usual trending hot-sellers are also enabled on the website, something not yet on Lazada. Their tech team is based in Bengaluru, which brings down costs, as talent is easily accessible.
The Android app was launched last week and the company will be moving to other metros within Thailand in the next few weeks. It will ship cross-border in the next two weeks. “In the next six months, we plan to set up operations in Singapore and Indonesia,” Bose said.
The absence of Amazon in these countries has given them the first-mover advantage and they intend to make it last.
- Founded by Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor six months ago
- Start-up received $1.8 million seed investments
- Absence of Amazon there given it the first mover’s advantage
- Company has on board 300 sellers already
- In the next six months, plans to enter Singapore, Indonesia
- It will be moving to other metros in Thailand in the next few weeks
- Tech team is based in Bengaluru, that cuts costs considerably
(First published on BS)