Germany’s Samwer brothers have built a big business copying some of Silicon Valley's best ideas and retooling them for a European audience. So what are the clone kings' next stops in their global quest? Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia -- big regions, yes, but not traditionally popular places to start online businesses.
“These are fascinating markets,” Marc Samwer said on stage at a TechCrunch conference in Berlin. “Africa is working greatly for us.”
In Africa, the brothers' Rocket Internet incubator has online superstore Jumia and fashion retailer Zando. In Southeast Asia, there’s the shoe store Zalora and online electronics retailer Lazada. In Latin America, the shoe store is called Dafiti, and the electronics shop is Linio.
Another Rocket company, Payleven, sells a credit-card reader for smartphones, similar to Square's device, in South America and throughout Europe, co-founder Konstantin Wolff said in an interview in Berlin. He declined to disclose revenue figures, saying only, "Brazil is just an immense market.”
Through a spokesman, Marc, the eldest Samwer, declined a request to be interviewed. At the startup-centric event, he advised entrepreneurs to pay attention to emerging markets or risk losing.
“If you tackle international the way we do it, going fast into 50 countries, you can’t get stuck in one country if you don’t see the business growing as fast and as nice as you want it to,” Samwer said. “There are fantastic opportunities. If you wait, these markets will be gone.”