Zalando, the Zappos clone started by the Samwer brothers through their investment vehicle Rocket Internet, has closed a new round of funding. The amount remains undisclosed but according to multiple sources it’s designed to supercharge the German e-commerce behemoth to the next level. Although speculative, when looking at the site’s traffic and data from similar sized companies, the pre-round-valuation is thought to be around €100 million.
The new shareholder for the online fashion and shoe store is Swedish Investment bank AB Kinnevik who previously invested €5m in Citydeal, another Samwer startup, which was recently acquired by U.S. Groupon. Aside from AB Kinnevik, other participants in the round include Tengelmann and Holtzbrinck Ventures, an investor in Zalando from its early days.
Zalando is clearly a clone of Zappos in the U.S., if only from a purely business perspective. Zappos, widely recognized for its unusual and uber-friendly approach with customers, on the one hand built a prooven business with an eventual exit to e-commerce giant Amazon, yet on the other hand also established a new culture of customer relationship management. Zalando in contrast is not famous for its customer support, but rather for its TV commercials in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Zalando is currently one of Rocket Internet’s more successful startups. Among their 50+ investments, a number have recently gone through major turmoil in which three actually entered the deadpool. In addition, after selling the assets of CityDeal to Groupon, they received a lot of bad PR since only weeks after the sale the company is thought to have laid off a number of their 600 or so employees.
Nevertheless the three Samwer brothers are among the most prolific and sought-after investors in Europe. Having successfully exited multiple companies, they’ve perfected the art of building clones of U.S. startups and selling them to the originals.