Deloitte has sought a meeting with Bose on Friday and requested her to send across any relevant documents she may be having. ET has seen a copy of the email sent by Deloitte to Bose.
On Wednesday, the business-to-business fashion ecommerce firm’s cofounder,
Dhruv Kapoor, wrote to the company’s employees, addressing allegations of harassment and toxic work culture surrounding the startup, as the tussle between Bose and the company board intensifies.
An email sent by ET to Zilingo did not immediately elicit a response.
“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 said in an internal memo that ET has seen.
company suspended Bose after discrepancies were allegedly discovered in its accounting during a due-diligence process for a new funding round, ET had reported on April 12. Bose worked with Sequoia Capital India before starting Zilingo.
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She had disputed these allegations and contested her suspension, calling the company’s action a “witch hunt” that she hinted was triggered by harassment complaints she had raised against an investor in the company. Her suspension is valid till May 5.
“Unfortunately, over the last few days, there have been some things said in the media that don’t reflect either the kind of company that we’ve wanted to build, nor the kind of culture that I’ve seen around me in my time here … 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, who is also the chief technology and product officer of Zilingo, wrote in his note.
In a public statement, Zilingo’s board on May 2 said Bose brought forth harassment-related allegations only post her suspension. The decision to suspend her was a collective one, it said.
“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.
“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,” the statement from Zilingo’s board read.
Some of the other Sequoia-backed companies have also been in the news for issues related to corporate governance and financial audits. These include fintech firm BharatPe and social commerce platform Trell.
In April, newswire Bloomberg reported that Sequoia Capital India managing director Shailendra Singh had left Zilingo’s board.
Zilingo raised $226 million as part of its last funding round in 2019, led by existing investors Sequoia Capital Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek and others, after which it was valued at $970 million.
It also raised a bridge round of $35 million from existing shareholders last year.