March 18, 2013 3:14 pm

Internet mogul seeds €150m start-up fund

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Oliver Samwer, the German internet entrepreneur, is one of several investors who have founded a €150m investment fund with the aim of putting money into early-stage technology companies worldwide.

Mr Samwer, along with brothers Marc and Alexander, is famous for copying and quickly scaling up e-commerce innovations from the US such as eBay or Groupon and selling these “clones” to US market leaders or other investors.

But with the new Global Founders Capital, Mr Samwer appears to be aiming at securing stakes in internet innovations before they fully blossom. In a statement, he said the internet offered “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for that.

The Munich-based fund will be fed by Mr Samwer and other “successful internet entrepreneurs”, although the only other investors named were Marc Samwer and Florian Siegel, who helped set up the online food-delivery site Delivery Hero.

The Samwer brothers have made tens of millions of euros copying, scaling and selling e-commerce businesses, most recently through their platform Rocket Internet.

By its own count, the Berlin-based company employs more than 27,000 people in 43 countries, thanks to operations such as European clothes retailer Zalando, inspired by Zappos, or Asian consumer-electronics shop Lazada, inspired by Amazon.

Rocket Internet’s recent global focus will be pursued by Global Founders Capital as well, Mr Samwer said. The aim was to support entrepreneurs worldwide “with operational know-how, our network and the required funding to scale their businesses”, he said.

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