The three Samwer brothers (Oliver, Marc and Alexander) founders of the Rocket Internet incubator in Berlin, are the most successful Internet entrepreneurs in Germany and possibly Europe. After launching and exiting multiple businesses, many of them clones/copycats of US startups, they are multi-millionaires. Indeed, their Groupon clone CityDeal sold to to Groupon for an estimated €750m in cash and shares. But much of that success looks threatened by the departure of at least 20 of its key staff in the last two weeks – including CTO- level people – and possibly as much as 40, according to multiple sources spoken to by TechCrunch Europe.
While Rocket Internet has around 200 people on staff, losing key heads could be a severe blow to the renowned incubator. The timing could not be worse for the Samwers, who are understood to be in the middle of raising at least a billion dollar financing round designed to clone every successful US startup, to launch them outside the US much faster and become a larger global player than many of the Silicon Valley businesses they plan to copy.