I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love to read stories about people who have built something from scratch and watched it grow to levels beyond what they could have imagined so when I came across the story of Mumbai native Ankiti Bose, I knew I had to retell it. Read on and maybe you’ll see yourself somewhere in Ankiti’s journey to creating South East Asia’s largest fashion & lifestyle marketplace - Zilingo
She saw an opportunity, took it and built it – In a recent interview, Ankiti recounts how her idea was sparked during a visit to Bangkok. There, she saw merchants selling beautiful apparel offline and immediately thought to herself that there was an opportunity to provide them with an on-line presence – a market place leveraging Asia’s growing internet connectivity. That’s how the concept of Zilingo was born. Zilingo lists the merchandise for free but charges a commission of anywhere from 10 – 20% on orders. The next time you’re walking around your neighborhood, a new place or even just sitting quietly with your thoughts over a latte, look for those opportunities that you could turn into money-making ideas.
Challenges will apply – When you’re trying to achieve something big or small, whether you have experience or none at all, whether you have access to capital or not, the same challenges will apply to you. “Be resilient,”, said the 27-year-old Mumbai native. Be aware that despite your best efforts, best resources or best intentions, something will always pop its head to discourage you - a speed bump of something you may not have seen coming from around the corner. Resilience means not only being able to withstand those huddles, but also being able to recover from their effects quickly.
Curiosity & continuous learning are important – this is my favorite lesson in Ankiti’s story. She excelled as a student studying Math & Economics which landed her a great job as an investment analyst. Obviously, she learned a lot about venture capital and startups that prepared her for this entrepreneurial journey, but she didn’t stop and settle “I kept raising my hand and saying ‘Teach me everything,’” said Ankiti. One of the lessons she’s learned is that the world is “Not an even playing field.” With that, she knew that as a young entrepreneur and a woman, she had to work harder. She had to ignore those who said that her ambitions were too big. She built a dream team that was both committed and believed in her dream as much as she did. In fact, her first team members helped her hand-pack boxes for shipping from a small rented apartment during the early days.
Today, the company that Ankiti co-founded with Dhruv Kapoor, a software engineer, is continuing to overcome challenges, learn and expand. Over 30,000 merchants utilize the website that enjoys over 5 million visitors monthly.
Maybe that dream you have for yourself is not that far out, after all. Dare to be bold