Berlin start-up incubator Rocket Internet raises US$500m in funding in past year

16 Jul 2013

Berlin-based start-up incubator Rocket Internet said this morning it has raised a total of US$500m since May 2012 from partners Investment AB Kinnevik and Access Industries.

To date, Rocket Internet has started more than 100 companies, developing many of them across five continents.

Marc, Oliver and Alexander Samwer founded Rocket Internet in 2007. Investment AB Kinnevik and Access Industries became Rocket Internet investors and partners in 2008 and 2012, respectively. Rocket Internet is headquartered in Berlin, Germany, and operates 25 international offices in five continents.

In a statement this morning, Rocket Internet said that over the past 15 years, Rocket and/or the Samwer brothers have created, developed, and successfully exited more than 25 online businesses to international companies such as eBay, Groupon, Rakuten, and NBC Universal. They were also early investors in Facebook, LinkedIn, Eventbrite and many other successful internet companies.

“This is a highly significant investment from our partners Kinnevik and Access Industries,” said Oliver Samwer.

“The additional capital supports our goal to be the world’s largest and most successful creator of high-impact companies in the internet space and reaffirms the confidence our investors have in our business.

“We will use the new capital to further strengthen our global presence while continuing to build successful companies together with great entrepreneurs,” Samwer said.

The Rocket Internet methodology

Rocket Internet’s engineering work is primarily done in-house through 250 IT engineers based in Rocket Internet’s corporate headquarters in Berlin and in various technology development centres throughout the world.

Currently, Rocket Internet holds a significant interest in 75 ventures with 20,000 employees in more than 50 countries.

Rocket Internet is targeting Europe, Russia, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, India, south-east Asia and Australia with its ventures – covering 5bn people and 60pc of global GDP.

Among the fashion e-commerce start-ups supported to date are Dafiti, Lamodo, Zalora, The iconic, Namshi and Zando. General e-commerce start-ups include Lazada, Linio and Jumio, while online furniture and home decoration e-commerce start-ups include Home 24, Mobly and Westwing.

Other companies recently founded by Rocket Internet include payment service provider and Red Herring award-winner,, a fast-growing food delivery service company available to 3bn people in more than 20 countries, and EasyTaxi, the market leader for online taxi booking in Asia and Latin America. Rocket also holds a participation in Zalando, one of Europe’s largest online fashion companies.

Recent capital raised includes US$100m for 18-month-old Zalora, US$100m for year-old Lazada, US$130m for two-year-old Lamoda, and US$25m for 18-month-old The Iconic.

The Lamoda capital raise was the largest investment ever made in Russian e-commerce; the Zalora and Lazada investments were the largest ever made in internet companies in south-east Asia. The Iconic capital raise was the largest investment ever in Australian e-commerce, according to Rocket Internet.

Berlin image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years