Rocket Internet, the Berlin-based clone merchant, is one of Europe’s most powerful internet businesses — and it’s growing all the time. With the recent news that the incubator-slash-accelerator is apparently now looking to copy Square, it’s worth examining how far the company has already come.
Plenty has been written about the Samwer brothers’ history, from early wins such as selling clones Alando and CityDeals to eBay and Groupon respectively, to more recent plays such as the Amazon knock-off Lazada.
But while many still think of Rocket as a European phenomenon that’s starting to break out elsewhere, the reality is that the company’s already running a vast number of properties all over the world.
It’s not easy to get a handle on all of Rocket’s babies, as the mothership doesn’t provide a comprehensive list. But this map shows all the countries where I’ve found Rocket to be either already operating or (in the cases of Slovakia, Hungary and Romania) about to open something.
We counted an astonishing 24 companies across 58 countries.
There are a couple of important things to remember here. Firstly, a huge amount of this expansion has only taken place in the last year or so. Secondly, there’s big money behind these operations – Zalando, for example, continues to pull in funding and is valued by some at around half a billion dollars. Thirdly, once Rocket has feet in a country it keeps using that infrastructure to swiftly roll out new services.
Not all countries have multiple Rocket operations. The map includes several countries where the only functioning Rocket offering I could find was the Airbnb clone Wimdu, namely Portugal, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.
The map doesn’t include non-geographically-based Rocket products such as Pinspire (the Pinterest clone), or games operations Plinga and Panfu. I also left out Groupon, in which Rocket gained a stake through its CityDeals sale, but which could hardly be called a Rocket outfit.
Oh, and I also left out the Zalando redirect page in the Cook Islands, which I’m pretty sure is just there to rule out .co.ck jokes.
Here’s a breakdown of the operations shown on the map, in descending order of the number of countries in which each outfit is operating or about to open:
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