Samwer Bros launch $194M VC fund for developing markets, separate from Rocket Internet
Samwer brothers, who have made their name through their incubation vehicle Rocket Internet through which they clone successful consumer internet ventures in new markets, have taken the wraps off a new â‚¬150 million ($194 mn) VC fund called Global Founders Capital.
This would be an entirely different play from Rocket Internet, which is an incubator that builds and later sells startups.
Rocket Internet has some 8-10 e-com startups under their belt in India alone.
Global Founders Capital is a pure-play VC fund.
The fund has been founded by two of the Samwer brothers, Oliver and Marc, who have joined hands with Fabien Seigel. Seigel is the co-founder of Delivery Hero, a global venture in online food ordering, who had earlier co-founded European payment service ClickandBuy, which he sold to Deutsche Telekom.
According to its site, Global Founders Capital is going to be stage-agnostic fund with opportunities for seed, Series A or even later rounds. However, it would refrain from investing in a pre-launch startup.
The fund would also not indulge in conflicting investments. So, it may not back a venture which is into lifestyle e-tailing in India as Rocket already has Jabong.com in the same domain in the market.
According to Fortune, initial deals are expected in e-commerce and other transaction-based businesses, but it may get into areas like big data and tech-enabling services, though those could be late-stage deals. The focus areas are under-served VC markets like Southeast Asia.
The report added that much of the capital is coming from Samwer brothers and the rest is committed by other internet entrepreneurs (either directly or via family offices). The fund may not follow the typical 7-10 year time horizon and is likely to be an evergreen fund in terms of investment structure.
In a separate report, Techcrunch said the first deal of the fund is already underway and is expected to be closed in about five weeks. The typical investment would be anywhere from â‚¬100,000 to â‚¬10 million ($130K to $13 million or Rs 70 lakh to Rs 70 crore).
Why Global Founders Capital?
Samwer brothers had earlier launched European Founders Fund, which was also pegged as an early-stage VC fund. But the point is why a separate VC fund?
For one, this allows Samwer brothers to back firms which they are not keen or not clued in themselves in terms of expertise, in building themselves. It's also about hedging risks when venturing into such a field.
What does it mean for Indian startups?
The non e-com segment of tech startups that have been overshadowed by e-tailers in attracting fancy of VC investors could see some more pool of money out there. Even as a good chunk of the fund might flow into South East Asia, given that Indian startup ecosystem is still 'developing', some money would surely flow into India too.
(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)