Rocket Internet’s IPO: Launching into the unknown


The incomparable Oliver Samwer

“PAST performance is no guarantee of future results,” warns the boilerplate language on a share offer. In the case of Rocket Internet’s €6.5 billion ($8.2 billion) initial public offering on October 2nd, it is even harder than usual to look at past performance, because there is no company quite like it. It is not a venture-capital firm, since it is much more hands-on and has a bigger stake in the startups it invests in. Nor is Rocket quite an “incubator” or “accelerator”, since it holds on to its young tech companies for longer and does much more than provide facilities and support.What Rocket does is launch clones of proven internet-business models. Even among such clone factories it is unique. It aims to turn out 80% of its new businesses in less than 100 days. It hires hard-charging young people of the sort who otherwise join (or have just left) elite consultants like McKinsey or the Boston Consulting Group. Execution, not innovation, is its forte.This leaves its chief executive, Oliver Samwer, reaching for comparisons that fail to capture the essence of Rocket. “Alibaba is the model,” said Mr…

Link to article: www.economist.com/news/business/21621820-predicting-rocket-internets-trajectory-hard-want-predecessors-launching?fsrc=rss|bus

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