The Samwer Brothers make a killing after selling their Facebook stake from 2008

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The three Samwer brothers behind the highly successful European Founders Fund in Germany have sold their shares in Facebook, according to a report in the German press.

Marc, Oliver and Alexander Samwer (who also own the German language Deutsche Startups tech news site) sold their shares because “we are at the early stages” and their requirement for capital for their existing investments has “roughly tripled”, according to Oliver Samwer.

There appear to be no figures for how much their stake was worth but we can confidently say they have made their money back.

In 2008 the Samwers invested in Facebook as part of Facebook’s $15 billion valuation round with Microsoft.

But given that Facebook is now being valued at $50 billion, they will have made roughly three times as much back.

The Samwer brothers founded Alando (sold to eBay in 1999 for $54 million) and Jamba (sold to Verisign in 2004 for $273 million, now part of News Corp.). In 2006 they founded the European Founders Fund to invest in Internet businesses in the U.S. and Europe, but it’s principlally known in Germany as a clone factory which pumps out clones of US startups in the 100 million person German speaking market and sells them back to US companies when they want a European footprint.

In the US they have investments in LinkedIn, MFG, HomeAway and ReachLocal.

The Samwers were investors in German Facebook clone Studivz, which sold in 2007 €100 million and last year they sold a Groupon clone, MyCityDeal, to Groupon itself for something in the region of €100 million.

Whether you like their strategy or not – which appeals less to purist fans of innovation – they are, to put it simply, spectacularly successful at execution.

  • http://www.aqute.com AquteIntel

    Good for them. I can see why some purists might not like this strategy but as long as Europe remains short of world class startups (I know that’s a much debated topic), why not copy the US.

  • Homer119

    50 billion pounds? what?

  • http://twitter.com/cn Charl Norman

    legends

    • http://www.facebook.com/ericedelstein Eric Edelstein

      @Charl guessing you’re on the “fan” side ;)

  • http://babblingvc.typepad.com/ Paul Jozefak

    Say what you will but they’re making money hand over fist! Execute like no others in the German market and keep repeatedly doing things successfully.

  • AndAllSayYEAH

    i guess it is a sign that those guys think that FB’s current valuation is at a maxiumum, therefor it’s a good time for an exit.
    those guys don’t need the money, they have more then enough for fund all their start-ups. and if they need money they go running to united internet or some french banks. additionally they are good business man, eager to maximize profits.

    so i think they would not walk away from their shares if they would expect them to become more valuable

    apart from that, how is this important news at all?

    • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.guerguy Stephen Guerguy

      No, it probably means they thought 3x was a good enough return, especially with the size of their investment.

  • AndAllSayYEAH

    i guess it is a sign that those guys think that FB’s current valuation is at a maxiumum, therefor it’s a good time for an exit.
    those guys don’t need the money, they have more then enough for fund all their start-ups. and if they need money they go running to united internet or some french banks. additionally they are good business man, eager to maximize profits.

    so i think they would not walk away from their shares if they would expect them to become more valuable

    apart from that, how is this important news at all?

  • Phil

    in the groupon china article, some interesting comments about the brothers’ shady practices were posted
    https://techcrunch.com/2011/02/16/groupon-spars-with-tencent-joint-venture-isnt-inspiring-local-confidence/#disqus_thread

    Also, today a leading german monthly business magazine published a six page story about how they build much of their fortune by just routinely screwing people over.
    http://www.manager-magazin.de/magazin/print/index-2011-3.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/mads.dorup Mads Dørup

    “spectacularly successful at execution” is not really in a word. What you mean is “they are, in four words, spectacularly successful at execution”.

    Or maybe you could go the Schmidt way: “they are, literally, spectacularly successful at execution” :-).

  • http://topsy.com/eu.techcrunch.com/2011/02/18/the-samwer-brothers-make-a-killing-after-selling-their-facebook-stake-from-2008/?utm_source=pingback&utm_campaign=L2 Tweets that mention The Samwer Brothers make a killing after selling their Facebook stake from 2008 -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by TechCrunch, LolCrunch, Dr. Holger Schmidt, Fergus Dyer-Smith, Roman Nováček and others. Roman Nováček said: RT @tomcuprcz: Kopirovani je spatne deti m'key? Teda pokud samozrejme nechcete zbohatnout :-) http://t.co/vN4DfLF […]

  • http://techiemania.com John Rampton

    Good investing boys!

  • http://twitter.com/CoreyRab Corey Rabazinski

    I don’t see anything wrong with their investment style. Copying? Yes, but you can’t knock the hustle.

  • I am thruthful anonymously

    I am glad they have found a bigger fool!

  • http://twitter.com/knurani Karim Nurani

    Could we then say that our counterparts in India & China are also spectacularly successful at execution ?

    • Pm

      if they sell their startups making lots of money like this guys do, yes. just please let me know any chinese startup sold to a US company in the last few years. thanks

  • http://twitter.com/RicKats Rick Kats

    Congrats to the bothers, knock off or not, they raked and you wish you did.

  • joe
  • http://www.allfacebook.com/major-facebook-investors-in-europe-cash-out-2011-02 Major Facebook Investors In Europe Cash Out

    […] Crunch’s European Editor Mike Butcher does a better job translating the article than Google does, explaining that the trio — […]

  • http://www.intelliprotect.com Doug Wolfgram

    This is definitely a new paradigm. Sell off your shares at 3X long before an IPO. The real question is what kind of fool would buy them?

  • http://www.thecynicalinvestor.net the Cynical Investor

    Smart move !
    Get out before everyone realizes that Facebook is only a fade
    old article (Jan 7 2011) but spot on
    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/01/07/rushkoff.facebook.myspace/index.html?hpt=P1

  • http://twitter.com/Prinzhorn Alexander Prinzhorn

    *pop*

    Did you hear that? That was the bubble. Sell your bubbles ASAP.

  • http://www.fbisdown.com/facebook-news/major-facebook-investors-cash-out/ Major Facebook Investors Cash Out – Facebook Is Down

    […] Crunch’s European Editor Mike Butcher does a better job translating the article than Google does, explaining that the trio — […]

  • Guest

    To translate:

    “Wir haben unsere Anteile an Facebook verkauft, weil wir uns auf den Frühphasen- und Wachstumsbereich konzentrieren”

    into:

    “sold their shares because “we are at the early stages”

    does not really get the whole meaning of their message.

    What they really said is:

    –> We sold our stake in Facebook, because we are focusing on early stage and growth (projects).

  • http://ohsugar.com.au/2011/02/18/the-samwer-brothers-make-a-killing-after-selling-facebook-stake-from-2008/ Oh, Sugar! » The Samwer Brothers Make A Killing After Selling Facebook Stake From 2008

    […] Read the rest of this entry » […]

  • Anonymous

    Was selling MyCityDeal, to Groupon for “something in the region of €100 million” a smart move given the reported $6b dollar offer for Groupon by Google a few months later? Euro Groupon probably contributes 25% of total Groupon revenue.

    • Max

      TC got it wrong: the brothers received a 10% share in groupon, which now could be worth a cool billion!

  • Patrick

    Phil, any idea how to get that Manager article? it seems like u have to buy the mag online?

  • Patrick

    Phil, any idea how to get that Manager article? it seems like u have to buy the mag online?

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