Rocket Internet

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Rocket Internet SE
Societas Europaea
Traded as FWBRKET
Industry Online retailing, Venture capital
Founded 2007; 10 years ago (2007)
Founder Marc, Oliver and Alexander Samwer
Headquarters Berlin, Germany
Area served
Key people
Oliver Samwer (CEO), Peter Kimpel (CFO), Alexander Kudlich (Group Managing Director)
Revenue Increase €81.309 million (2015) [1]
Number of employees
300 (2015), incl. ventures 30,000

Rocket Internet SE is a German Internet company headquartered in Berlin. The company builds online startups and owns shareholdings in various models of internet retail businesses.[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 3.151 billion euros in October 10, 2016.[8]


Rocket Internet headquarter building in Berlin.

The company was founded in Berlin in 2007 by three brothers: Marc, Oliver and Alexander Samwer[9] and was once also connected to the European Founders Fund, an associated company.

In 2008 Rocket Internet founded Zalando,[10] inspired by US online retailer[11]

On July 1, 2014, Rocket Internet changed its legal form from a GmbH (private limited company) to an AG (public limited company).[12] The initial public offering took place on October 2, 2014 at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The company was listed in the Entry Standard and got uplisted in Prime Standard on September 26, 2016. In October 2016 it was announced that Rocket Internet replaces Chorus Clean Energy AG in SDAX.[13] On March 18, 2015 the company changed its legal form into an SE (Societas Europaea).[14] 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%.[15] 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.[16]

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 investments include shares in the following companies:[17][18]


The company has been criticised for its "copycat" strategy of founding startups which replicate the business models of other established, successful companies.[3]

In 2011, 20 of the then-130 employees left Rocket Internet at the same time.[19][20] 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.[21]

Questions have also been 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.[22]


  1. ^ "Interim Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements for the Period Ended June 30, 2015 (prepared in accordance with IFRS)" (PDF). 
  2. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-06-19. 
  3. ^ a b "Copycat Business Model Generates Genuine Global Success for Start-Up Incubator". 
  4. ^ "Global Founders Capital: new €150m VC fund from Rocket Internet's Samwer brothers". VentureVillage. 
  5. ^ "How ‘venture builders’ are changing the startup model". VentureBeat. 
  6. ^ "The E-Commerce Icarus". 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "RKET:Xetra Stock Quote - Rocket Internet SE". Bloomberg. 
  9. ^ Ryan Mac (31 July 2014). "Germany's Samwer Brothers To Become Billionaires With Rocket Internet IPO". Forbes. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ Bloomberg Businessweek; 3/5/2012, Issue 4269, p74-80, 6p, 5 Color Photographs
  12. ^ "30 things you should know about Oliver Samwer (CEO, Rocket Internet) / EU-Startups". 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "BRIEF-Rocket Internet changes legal form and transforms into Societas Europaea". Reuters. 
  15. ^ "Investors - Rocket Internet". 
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Falk Hedemann. "Samwer-Klon-Schmiede verliert massiv Führungspersonal". t3n Magazin. 
  20. ^ "Umbruch bei Rocket Internet: Mitten im Wandel zum globalen Internetkonzern geht fast das komplette Führungsteam". 
  21. ^ "Erste Eindrücke von Project A Ventures". Gründerszene Magazin (in German). 
  22. ^ O'Hear, Steve. "European restaurant delivery startup Take Eat Easy ceases trading as it tries to find a buyer". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2016-08-05. 

Further reading[edit]