Breaking News: Rocket Internet Preparing to Go Public

ROCKET INTERNET IS PREPARING TO GO PUBLIC. I am officially going on the record as the first individual to break this news. According to credible sources that are close to the company, the clone factory led by the infamous Samwer brothers is preparing to raise capital in a public offering. This is a mega-event that will send shock waves throughout the startup world. It is not very surprising, and others have commented on this possibility before. But it certainly holds significant implications for venture capital firms, startups, and entrepreneurship ecosystems the world over. In a follow-up post, I will provide an initial analysis of what this news heralds for the developed as well as emerging market tech worlds. But here is what I know at the moment:

  • JP Morgan is the favorite to lead the deal as Advisor to Rocket Internet. This makes sense given JP’s track record as a capital provider to Rocket’s clone portfolio.
  • Ernst & Young will serve as auditor for most of the LatAm ventures.
  • PWC will serve as auditor for the Brazilian entities (Dafiti foremost amongst them)
  • No word yet as to who will audit the Southeast Asian startups
  • No information as to the size of the raise, although it is likely to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars
  • Pricing not likely to occur for some time

Make no mistake. This is a big deal. Big payday for the Samwers. Seismic shift in the way we think about venture formation in emerging markets. Even bigger threat for developed-world startup founders. Massive credibility boost for the company belittled as a soulless imitators of other’s genuine innovation. I will follow up shortly with additional thoughts and perspectives, so stay tuned!

39 comments

  1. andy

    Doesn’t this seem a little 1999 / 2000ish. Companies like internet capital group and others tried this (unsuccessfully). Mail.ru has held up but they have a few significant operating assets…

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  4. Jordan

    We love to hate them but you have to give the samwers credit. They’ve got a great track record and they can start profitable businesses, regardless of how unoriginal their startups may be.

    • thomasgbaldwin

      Agree! Although profitability often takes a long time. And I would argue that the bulk of their portfolio companies are not yet profitable.

    • thomasgbaldwin

      Hi Mahatma, thanks for checking out the blog. This is not fake, it is not a hoax. My assertions are based on information I received from credible sources with access to management-level information about Rocket’s preparations for a potential IPO.

  5. Francis

    Hmm.. this will be quite interesting if true. It will definitely provide more funds to push more of their clones in Africa. Within the last 6 months, they have launched 3 companies in Nigeria and I know they are poised to launch more in 2013.

    • thomasgbaldwin

      Hi Benjamin, thanks for checking out the blog. Unfortunately I cannot disclose my source / sources of information as they requested anonymity. But I can assure you that they are credible.

  6. Chris

    Looking forward to the audits of all the startups in the IPO prospectus… they will still find enough buyers I am sure

  7. Randolf Jorberg

    Interesting news from Rocket. Other than this report my own credible sources that are also close to the company say it will not be the Rocket itself, but rather Dafiti, possibly together with Lamoda, Namshi, Amazon latam, africa internet holding etc that will go public. Rocket internet itself is far too diversified to be interesting & ‘sellable’ at a road show to investors…

    • thomasgbaldwin

      Thanks for the additional information Randolf. What you suggest in terms of the potential structure of the offering could make sense – packaging the IPO such that it includes select Rocket portfolio companies instead of the entire portfolio could make the deal more attractive to investors.

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  28. Lelala

    LOOOOL, Oliver Samwer as CEO of a public listed company?? No way – why? Listed companies ionvestors usually have a strong interest in behaving very well in public – and Oliver does not do this – everyone forgotten already his last excess, the Blitzkrieg-idea?
    Do you now any CEO of a Nasdaq/NYSE who does behave like a dork in public? No.

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