Rocket Internet’s Marc Samwer On Cloning: We Make Business Models Better Because We Localize Them

At Disrupt Europe this morning, Rocket Internet founder Marc Samwer sat down with TechCrunch’s editor at large, Mike Butcher to talk about European entrepreneurship, copy cats and more.

Rocket Internet is a Berlin-based e-commerce incubator that has been behind dozens of startups and clones around the world, and just raised $500 million from Kinnevik and Access to build more companies.

On the clone issues, Samwer said that Rocket Internet is about building businesses and creating big companies.

“And idea is a combination of many things,” he explains, in response to Butcher’s question about the perception that Rocket Internet is based on cloning ideas from other entrepreneurs. He adds that the company’s focus is on combining the best of ideas to create successful businesses. “We innovate, and improve ideas by localizing, and we make them better,” he explains. “At the end of the day, we’ve created more winners in the online space than any other group.” Another key part of Rocket Internet is knowledge sharing among the various portfolio companies, he says. There is constant sharing and exchange of information to help businesses, Samwer adds.

Samwer, who headed international operations for Groupon after the deals company bought Samwer’s company CityDeals, says that Groupon is thriving, and the markets are responding to the company’s strength as a business.

Today, Rocket Internet also announced its newest business–Carmudi, which is marketplace for vehicles that connects sellers and buyers. The company has already launched operations in Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. This launch comes after the recent debut of real estate classifieds company Lamudi.

Backstage Interview