Group 36@Sophia – The Rise of Rocket Internet

Rocket Internet is a German VC firm and startup incubators founded in 2007 by the 3 Samwer brothers.

The company’s business model is to quickly build copies of successful E-commerce platforms in markets and countries where competition is not very strong in the targeted sector. The firm controlled by its founders is known for its aggressive approach in building these new companies, often referred to as “blitzkrieg”. It prides itself for the speed of execution and ability to hire exceptional talents.

Rocket Internet operates in more than 50 countries and has more than 75 ventures in their portfolio such as the e-commerce retail companies Zalando in Germany, in India, in Russia, ZALORA in South East Asia, The Iconic and Zanui in Australia, the global food delivery platform Foodpanda/Hellofood, etc.
In France, they are for example known for creating CityDeal, which is a clone of american Groupon. They implement new firms all around the world except in USA and China.


“My advantage is never that I’m the first” the elder brother states “My advantage is that we just build faster and better in more instances than anyone else.” As well as copying others’ models, the Samwers have made significant investments in originals, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Zynga.

“We looked at trends in the US, the Asian market and in the offline industry, and thought about how we could bring them online, because this is what we have some relevant experience at doing. That was the original idea for Rocket: bringing together people who will then allow us to be faster than competitors whenever we have an idea, because we can start right away.”

The overall performance has been extraordinary. The company has so far launched around 30 startups, only five of which have failed.



Marc, the youngest of Samwer brothers likes to compare Rocket Internet to some kind of McKinsey on steroïds… The company recrutes their « entrepreneurs » from high level international consulting firms or corporate banking. The entire organization is maximum efficiency oriented. Because each and every new project is planned to be sold at the highest price possible.

Created 15 years ago, this war machine rarely misses its goals and continues its spectacular development. This has been so successful that its founders are now going for an IPO : they want to raise from 800M$ to 1.5B$ for 15% of their company.

So why have they been so successful ?

Because their business model is not just about cloning websites which are successful in the US, make them grow fast and manage them on the long term; but above all selling them for a high price only a few years (or months) later…

And it works, as shown by the long list of success stories : in 1999 they sold their online auctions website Alando to Ebay for 53M$, 5 years later they got 270M$ with the sell of Jamba (mobile rings platform) to Versisign. In 2008, they sold BigPoint (online social games) for 110M$ and in 2010 it was Groupon’s turn to buy its own French copy : CityDeal…


Team Vision 2014-2030 (Group 36): How will Globalization affect us in our future professional careers ?

We increasingly live in a world, where society is changing at a rapid pace, presenting new opportunities and challenges to us on a regular basis. Globalization has pushed aside geographical and political boundaries, making jobs borderless, as well as technology showing no limits. It has given instant communication to even the remotest regions of the world. Throughout our professional career, further global trends will show effect.
Business schools are helping us explore the various cultural and geopolitical elements that create today’s complex international business environment, and help us learn how to manage and benefit from this environment in the future. We will be able to analyse the aftermath of many global trends, enabling us to stay ahead of the game. In our future professional careers, we will continuously take advantage of our acquired knowledge and skills.
Being globalized comes at a cost. This means that any event, in any part of the world, being political, economic or natural, will affect us in one way or the other.  Due to the interdependence between countries, events such as wars and natural disasters can hamper our professional careers. Outsourcing is a huge aspect of globalization. This means that we might witness competing with a professional from another nation for the same job. Globalization emphasizes the need for highly skilled professionals, who are aware of global trends.
In conclusion, opportunities may arise in emerging markets and developed countries may want to protect their economy and competitive advantages. This will impact our career choices, and in order to be successful, we will have to adapt accordingly.​