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Berlin Based Ecommerce Firm Rocket Internet Announces The Close Of $1Bn VC Fund For Tech Startups

Berlin Based Ecommerce Firm Rocket Internet Announces The Close Of $1Bn VC Fund For Tech Startups

German-based incubator Rocket Internet has reportedly closed a new fund at a cap of $1 Bn. This fund is the biggest VC fund to be raised out of Europe, according to the company.

It will focus on early- and late-stage investments in the startup space and is called Rocket Internet Capital Partners (RICP) fund.

“RICP having reached the hard cap of $1 Bn shows the strong interest of leading investors, who share the enthusiasm for the attractive investment opportunity RICP presents”, said Oliver Samwer, Rocket Internet’s CEO, in a statement.

According to the same statement, the company has invested $140 Mn or 14% of the total amount, and an unnamed ‘diverse group of global investors, including financial institutions, pension funds, asset managers, founders, and HNIs committed the rest of the corpus. It will reportedly invest some of the funds into existing portfolio companies – usually ‘me too startups’ that are incubated by Rocket itself, and emerging ecommerce companies. Rocket also plans on making investments in startups beyond the ones it had a hand in starting up.

“RICP has made investments since its first closing in January 2016. The fund seeks to invest in key focus areas of the Internet sector including marketplaces, ecommerce, financial technology, software, and travel. Among the investments are Rocket Internet-founded companies, as well as others,” said the official spokesperson from Rocket Internet.

The spokesperson did not comment on which companies from the portfolio have already been invested in or could be in future.

Rocket Internet’s India Connection

The Berlin-based ecommerce firm and incubator has had a hand in starting up prominent startups in the Indian startup ecosystem among many others – fabfurnish, Jabong, and foodpanda India.

Jabong is a standalone ecommerce fashion portal started in 2012 that was also funded by Softbank among others (for a valuation of $508 Mn) and eventually got acquired by Flipkart, in July 2016, for approximately $70 Mn. The startup was to be merged into Flipkart’s fashion portal Myntra, after the model failed to gain traction and ran into massive losses and founder-related controversies too.

Foodpanda is a global startup with a presence in 24 countries in Asia, Middle East, And Eastern Europe. Foodpanda India, on the other hand, was started by Rohit Chadda, Amit Kohli, and Akhilesh Bali in 2012. It acquired TastyKhana and the Indian operations of JustEat 2014 and 2015, respectively in order to consolidate its position in the hyperlocal food ordering business. But, this too could not sustain for a longer term and the company was acquired by another Rocket-backed firm – Delivery Hero in December 2016, for an undisclosed sum with Rocket’s stake increasing in the new entity to 37.7%.

Fabfurnish, a furniture etailer is based out of Gurugram and was started in 2011, by  Vikram Chopra and Mehul Agarwal, marks Rocket’s first exit in India. It is an online shopping site for furniture and homeware with a diverse range of products, new ideas for home decor. But with the founders quitting and the online furniture space heating up with the likes of Urban Ladder, Pepperfry and more, fabfurnish was eventually acquired by Kishore Biyani’s Future Group for a reported $2.25 Mn-$3 Mn (INR 15 Cr. to INR 20 Cr.) in all cash deal in August 2015.

With the company making three exits in India in the space of the last two years, and despite the fact that it aims to turn its ventures profitable the world over, the company is willing to bet big on the cloning way of running ventures and continue investing in its portfolio companies.

[This development was reported by TechCrunch.]