Last week we broke the exclusive story that Rocket Internet, the incubator in Berlin best known as the epicenter of Germany’s clone/copycat startup culture had hit the rocks. It recently lost at least 20 of its key staff – including at least two CTOs. The timing is bad for Rocket’s founders, the three Samwer brothers (Oliver, Marc and Alexander) who are understood to be raising at least a billion dollar financing round, possibly from DST, designed to clone every successful US startup. It’s been confirmed that even Rocket’s MD and key founder Christian Weiss has left.
This is a major blow, since Heinemann is widely acknowledged to be not only a key person at Rocket but also someone who acts as a bulwark between staff and the famously irascible Oliver Samwer, a man who is quite happy to walk out of pre-arranged interviews.
With staff “fed up with the Samwers”, many have already “mentally left” and “the situation is very tense” (say sources) this appears to be a precarious time for the incubator. Then again we are also hearing that Groupon is quite happy with their ability to scale the property globally. So perhaps the Samwers will concentrate on Groupon and leave Rocket to wither?