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ZOLO Secures Undisclosed Pre-Seed Investment Protégé Ventures

Protégé Ventures (PV), Singapore’s only student-led venture capital fund and the first such fund in Southeast Asia, has announced an undisclosed pre-seed investment in ZOLO, an AI-powered B2B software company founded by two alumni from two Singapore universities. The investment is the 11th student-founded startup Protégé Ventures has funded since 2017.

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ZOLO’s three-layer AI technology helps suppliers significantly reduce errors, save time, and minimize cost and wastage associated with inefficiencies of manual order processing. With ZOLO, suppliers can easily automate and streamline their orders from WhatsApp to ERP in seconds. Through this technology, it strives to enhance the sustainability and profitability of Southeast Asia’s B2B food industry. Building on its successful sales and order management system with the country’s largest food suppliers in 2023, ZOLO is poised to expand its capabilities in payments, financing and delivery management in 2024.

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The decision to invest in ZOLO underlines PV’s commitment to backing high-growth student startups that drive positive change and innovation in their industries. Together with ZOLO’s prior investors such as Antler, GHARAGE and NTUitive (via an equity-free grant), PV is embarking on a collaborative journey to foster innovation in the B2B food marketplace.

Reflecting on the deal sourcing and evaluation process, Mr Arjun Kumar, an analyst from PV, who is currently a third-year Computer Science and Business student at NTU, emphasises the importance of thorough assessment and conviction in startup selection. He said, “We’re grateful for the opportunity to have been involved in every stage of the deal process for ZOLO, from initial deal-sourcing to presenting to our investment committee. One overarching takeaway is that it is our responsibility as analysts to thoroughly assess the startups we source, present a compelling case, while ensuring that they have a strong potential for returns and successful exits. With that in mind, we firmly believe that ZOLO is a promising addition to our portfolio. Overall, this firsthand experience is invaluable and presents a rare opportunity, especially for us aspiring students who are passionate and keen to hone our proficiency in venture capital.”

About ZOLO

Founded in 2023 by Mr Mrat Yussubaliyev and Mr Mark Keong, ZOLO is an AI-powered B2B software designed to simplify orders, payments and deliveries for food suppliers. In response to the growing trend of restaurants utilising messaging apps like WhatsApp for B2B orders with food suppliers, it’s first starts with addressing the challenges posed by text-based orders for food suppliers which are time consuming and error-prone.

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