Rocket Internet Eyes AI, FinTech Investments

28. May 2018.








Rocket Internet, the Germany eCommerce company, is aiming to invest in financial technology and artificial intelligence startups with the $3 billion in cash it has, reports Reuters.

Reuters, citing comments the company made after reporting earnings Tuesday (May 29), reported that Chief Executive Oliver Samwer wants to invest in the tech sector, but didn’t offer a time frame as to when the company will deploy its cash. Rocket Internet owns majority stakes in HelloFresh and Global Fashion Group. Global Fashion Group, which operates fashion Websites in Russia, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, took a hit because of a decline in the Russian rouble and the Brazilian real. Sales were up 18 percent after excluding the impact of currency changes. As for its African eCommerce unit Jumia, Rocket Internet saw gross merchandise volume increase 71 percent to 151 million euros. The company is fully funded and could be a candidate for a public listing similar to HelloFresh, noted Reuters. Rocket CEO Samwer did note that Jumia, which is still losing money, may need to raise capital during the next two years. As for its online furnishing website Westwing, the company reported sales increased 18 percent and was profitable for the second quarter in a row, according to Reuters.

In January of 2017, Rocket Internet closed a $1 billion venture fund, with Samwer saying at the time the company with the Rocket Internet Capital Partners (RICP) fund will look to invest in startups focusing on developing in the software, eCommerce, FinTech, marketplace and travel sectors. Rocket Internet said the fund was backed by a diverse group of investors worldwide, including financial institutions, pension funds, asset managers, foundations and high-net-worth individuals. “RICP, having reached the hard cap of 1 billion [U.S. dollars], shows the strong interest of leading investors, who share the enthusiasm for the attractive investment opportunity RICP presents,” the executive said at the time.

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