Rocket Internet, the secretive incubator vehicle and some-time clone factory piloted by the billionaire Samwer Brothers out of Berlin, is all of a sudden becoming more open about its activities. Local blog Deutsche Startups has noticed that instead of a pretty dull home page as before, Rocket’s site has now been spruced up immensely.
Rocket is famously coy about its activities in order not to alert rivals to their next cloning project, which makes sense when you are ripping off Amazon’s design or cloning Square.
As a result of the refreshed site It’s now much clearer where their operation lies, and it’s wide. Aside from Germany, they are running sites in Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Pakistan and Morocco to name just some of the countries where their mostly e-commerce oriented clones are operating.
It operates in 25 offices on five continents and is active in over 40 countries. The global portfolio thus consists of more than 50 active companies. Rocket Worldwide currently employs over 700 people, but its headcounts including startups adds up to around 15,000 employees.
The management team is also extensive, but nowhere is mention made of the Samwers, and there appear to be only pictures of Rocket managers, not the Samwers themselves (unless we missed something?).
It’s also clearer now who their backers are: Access Industries, DST Global, Holtzbrinck Ventures, Kinnevik, New Enterprise Associates and Summit Partners.
Usually, the only time you’ll see the Samwers appear in the press is when they are raising a new round of funding, as we did earlier this year with big articles in the likes of Wired magazine and Business Week (unless they are walking out of interviews).
So with all that PR, don’t expect any more interviews with them for a while.
There are two main reasons why Rocket Internet has de-cloaked to a much greater extent. Either it’s finding it harder to recruit the typically MBA-trained executives it needs for its high execution rate companies. Or their high growth means they need to look more attractive to potential recruits.
Whatever the case they have taken on huge new offices in the centre of Berlin, where most of the job openings are currently. Though surprisingly no mention is made of the kinds of emails you might get from managers.
Certainly, they have lost talent after a whole rafter of experienced managers left to form Project A Ventures.
The Deutsche Startups blog’s reporting is well timed, but not unexpected. It’s ultimately owned by the Samwer brothers. (German media gets complicated – the competing Gründerszene is owned by Samwer rival Lukasz Gadowski, of the Team Europe incubator.