There’s a clear modus operandi to the Samwer Brothers, the (in)famous but highly effective cloners out of Germany. Create a company similar to a large one outside the large 90-million-strong, wealthy German speaking market, scale up and then sell out for shares in the larger acquirer, usually a US company trying to get into Germany. They’ve done it time and again, notably with Alando to eBay and CityDeals to Groupon. The latest is selling Betreut to U.S. carer-finding site Care.com and thus gaining shares in it. Terms were undisclosed, but to state the obvious: When will you guys learn?
Care.com allows users to find pre-vetted carers for children, the elderly, pets and others. It started in 2006 and not long after, Betreut launched in Germany the following year.
The Samwers were majority shareholders in Betreut alongside Mutschler Ventures and Holtzbrinck Ventures.
As is usual with these deals, the other shareholders exit and the Samwers become shareholders in the new entity. [Update: We're happy to clarify that Steffen Zoller founded Betreut, not the Samwer brothers. Zoller will remain Co-CEO of the company and all of the prior investors in Betreut – not just the Samwer brothers – are now shareholders in Care.com].
In a statement Care.com founder Sheila Lirio Marcelo said : “We have always believed that care is a global issue. By bringing together Betreut and its extensive international operations with Care.com, our leadership position in the U.S., and our new operations in the U.K. and Canada, we are creating a dynamic portal for families around the world that provides best-in-class services to help families find the local care they need.”
The question is, to enter the German market, did she have a choice?
Meantime, in the English speaking UK, care.com has had no problem launching a UK ops a couple of moths ago.
Betreut has operations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Scandinavia. Betreut has two million families and providers. Care.com has five total. Management doesn’t change.