Jump to content

Rocket Internet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rocket Internet SE
Company typePrivate (Societas Europaea)
IndustryOnline retailing, venture capital
Founded2007; 17 years ago (2007)
FounderMarc, Oliver and Alexander Samwer
HeadquartersBerlin, Germany
Area served
Key people
Oliver Samwer (CEO), Peter Kimpel (CFO), Alexander Kudlich (Group managing director)
RevenueIncrease €2.2 billion (2016)[1]
Number of employees
300 (2015), incl. ventures 30,000

Rocket Internet SE is a German Internet company headquartered in Berlin. The company builds startups and owns shareholdings in various models of internet retail businesses.[2][3][4] The company model is known as a startup studio or a venture builder.[5]

It provides office space to new companies at its headquarters in Berlin, with IT support, marketing services and access to investors. As of 2016, Rocket Internet has more than 28,000 employees across its worldwide network of companies, which consists of over 100 entities active in 110 countries.[6][7] The company's market capitalization was €3.49 billion as of 3 November 2017.[8] On 12 July 2021, the market capitalization was €3.7 billion.[9]


The company was founded in Berlin in 2007 by three brothers: Marc, Oliver and Alexander Samwer[10] and was once also connected to the European Founders Fund, an associated company.

In 2008, Rocket Internet founded Zalando,[11] emulating the business model of US online retailer Zappos.com.[12]

On 1 July 2014, Rocket Internet changed its legal form from a GmbH (private limited company) to an AG (public limited company).[13] The initial public offering took place on 2 October 2014 on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange at €42.50 per share. The company was listed in the Entry Standard and got uplisted in Prime Standard on 26 September 2016. In October 2016 it was announced that Rocket Internet replaces Chorus Clean Energy AG in SDAX.[14] Rocket Internet SE joined the MDAX index of German mid-cap stocks on 19 March 2018. This decision was announced by Deutsche Börse AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange) on 5 March 2018. On 18 March 2015 the company changed its legal form into an SE (Societas Europaea).[15]

In mid-December 2016, Global Founders held 37.1% in Rocket Internet, Kinnevik 13.2%, United Internet 8.3%, Baillie Gifford 6.5%, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company 6.1% and Access Industries 6.0%.[16]

Holtzbrinck Ventures held a 1.8% share, with main investors holding shares of 3.4%; 16.3% was held in free float. In January 2017, Rocket Internet Capital Partners announced its final closing of $1 billion dedicated to early stage and growth equity investments. It is the biggest tech fund of any VC firm to date in Europe.[17]

On 1 September 2020, Rocket Internet announced its delisting.[18][19] As of February 2021, Rocket Internet was recognized as one of the top startup studios based on website traffic to its top 3 portfolio companies.[20]

The network of companies[edit]

Rocket Internet follows the strategy of building companies on the basis of proven Internet-based business models. According to Rocket Internet's financial statements the company especially concentrates on Food & Groceries, Fashion, Home & Living and Travel.

In addition to the companies in the five industry sectors, Rocket Internet owns stakes in companies at varying maturity stages, ranging from recently launched models to companies that are in the process of establishing leadership positions or still expanding their geographic reach.

Rocket Internet's current portfolio englobes the following companies:[21]

Rocket Internet's most notable unit is Global Founders Capital, its venture capital investment arm. Its debt financing arm, Global Growth Capital was set up in 2016. In 2020, Rocket Internet launched Flash Ventures[22]


Rocket Internet's past investments include shares in the following companies:[23]


The company has been criticised for its "copycat" strategy of founding startups which replicate the business models of other established, successful companies.[2]

In 2011, 20 of the then-130 employees left Rocket Internet at the same time.[24][25] According to media coverage at the time, the reason for this string of layoffs was "bad quality of new products" and a "gruff manner" towards employees in the course of Rocket Internet's expansion into a "large corporation". The former Rocket Internet managers subsequently went on to found the incubator Project A Ventures with help from the Otto Group.[26]

Questions were raised around Rocket's support of multiple competing companies in a particular business sector. Rocket Internet's original backing of both Take Eat Easy and Delivery Hero was questioned when Take Eat Easy was forced into liquidation in July 2016.[27]


  1. ^ "Interim Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements for the Period Ended June 30, 2015 (prepared in accordance with IFRS)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 April 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b Scott, Mark (28 February 2014). "Copycat Business Model Generates Genuine Global Success for Start-Up Incubator". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Global Founders Capital: new €150m VC fund from Rocket Internet's Samwer brothers". VentureVillage. Archived from the original on 20 February 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  4. ^ Abboud, Leila (27 April 2016). "Kinnevik Values at Odds With the Samwers". Bloomberg Gadfly. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  5. ^ "How 'venture builders' are changing the startup model". VentureBeat. 18 January 2015.
  6. ^ "The E-Commerce Icarus". handelsblatt.com.
  7. ^ "Rocket machine". The Economist. 16 January 2014.
  8. ^ "RKET:Xetra Stock Quote - Rocket Internet SE". Bloomberg.
  9. ^ "Rocket Internet SE Fundamentale Kennzahlen Aktie - A12UKK - DE000A12UKK6".
  10. ^ Ryan Mac (31 July 2014). "Germany's Samwer Brothers To Become Billionaires With Rocket Internet IPO". Forbes.
  11. ^ Jaffé, Diana; Riedel, Saskia (8 December 2010). Werbung f8r Adam und Eva: Zielgruppengerechte Ansprache durch Gender Marketing Communication. Wiley-VCH. p. 215. ISBN 978-3-527-50549-4. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  12. ^ Bloomberg Businessweek; 3 May 2012, Issue 4269, p74-80, 6p, 5 Color Photographs
  13. ^ "30 things you should know about Oliver Samwer (CEO, Rocket Internet) / EU-Startups". eu-startups.com. 19 August 2014.
  14. ^ "Deutsche Boerse says Rocket Internet to join SDAX". Reuters. 11 October 2016.
  15. ^ "BRIEF-Rocket Internet changes legal form and transforms into Societas Europaea". Reuters. 18 March 2015.
  16. ^ "Investors - Rocket Internet". rocket-internet.com.
  17. ^ "Rocket Internet has raised another $1 billion to invest in startups".
  18. ^ "Rocket Internet SE". www.rocket-internet.com. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  19. ^ "Why Rocket Internet has come down to earth". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  20. ^ Kronenberger, Craig (23 February 2021). "Top Startup Studios by Website Traffic". Medium. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Companies - Rocket Internet". www.rocket-internet.com.
  22. ^ Levingston, Ivan (2 June 2023). "Rocket Internet backs away from start-up investing in tech downturn". www.ft.com. Retrieved 13 February 2024.
  23. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 August 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ Falk Hedemann (19 December 2011). "Samwer-Klon-Schmiede verliert massiv Führungspersonal". t3n Magazin.
  25. ^ "Umbruch bei Rocket Internet: Mitten im Wandel zum globalen Internetkonzern geht fast das komplette Führungsteam". deutsche-startups.de. 18 December 2011.
  26. ^ "Erste Eindrücke von Project A Ventures". Gründerszene Magazin (in German). 10 February 2012.
  27. ^ O'Hear, Steve (26 July 2016). "European restaurant delivery startup Take Eat Easy ceases trading as it tries to find a buyer". TechCrunch. Retrieved 5 August 2016.

Further reading[edit]