B2B fashion marketplace Zilingo has appointed Deloitte to investigate harassment charges filed by cofounder Ankiti Bose against the company.
Deloitte has sought a meeting with Bose on Friday and requested her to send across any relevant documents she may be having, ET reported.
Zilingo’s board, in a statement on May 2, said that Bose made allegations post her suspension and that the decision to suspend the cofounder was not that of a single investor, but a joint decision by the board.
“After receiving certain complaints of a serious nature, the board placed the CEO, Ankiti Bose, on suspension pending a full investigation. Contrary to claims that have been circulating in the media, this decision was taken jointly by the board and the relevant shareholders,” the board statement said.
The board added, “We wish to reiterate that following her suspension on March 31, Ankiti Bose brought to the board’s attention, for the first time, certain harassment-related allegations.”
It is prudent to note here that following the suspension of Ankiti Bose, Sequoia India MD Shailendra Singh vacated his seat on Zilingo’s board, in an ongoing exodus that has seen representatives from Temasek and Burda Principal vacate their seats as well.
Deloitte’s appointment comes on the back of Zilingo cofounder Dhruv Kapoor writing to the company’s employees on Wednesday, addressing Ankiti’s allegations of harassment and toxic work culture.
In an internal memo, as reported by ET, Kapoor wrote, “You may have heard that there is an allegation made that certain individuals at Zilingo ‘suppressed’ complaints of harassment. We’ve always had a culture that does not tolerate sexual harassment, workplace harassment, bullying or intimidation… In rare cases when workplace issues were reported, we’ve always followed due process and taken strict action.”
Kapoor also addressed the media coverage of the Zilingo situation, stating that the coverage does not reflect ‘either the kind of company that we’ve wanted to build nor the kind of culture I’ve seen around me in my time here’.
Kapoor commented, “We’re troubled to see some people in the team act against the interests of the company, sometimes in a way that hurts Zilingo’s reputation or the reputation of various people in the organisation.”
Kapoor claimed that Zilingo has an even gender ratio, along with many women in leadership positions in the beleaguered B2B marketplace.
Founded in 2015 by Bose and Dhruv Kapoor, Zilingo has developed a proprietary suite of applications that allow fashion merchants to access manufacturers around Asia. It also helps by enabling different procurement rates, optimised logistics services, financial services, insurances, loans and analytics for them.
Its latest audited financial performance shows losses of $236.5 Mn in FY2019. Net cash flow from operating activities was a negative $95 Mn, with a high debt-to-equity ratio of -1.60.
The startup has raised more than $308 Mn to date, with Germany’s Burda and Sofina Capital being its other major investors. The entire situation at Zilingo unravelled while it was in talks for raising a funding round worth $150-200 Mn.
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B2B fashion marketplace Zilingo has appointed Deloitte to investigate harassment charges filed by cofounder Ankiti Bose against the company. Deloitte… News, Ankiti Bose, B2B, Deloitte, ZilingoInc42 Media