Exclusive Exclusive: Rocket Internet Founder Says Worst is Behind Company

Rocket Internet founder Oliver Samwer said he believes the Berlin-based incubator firm’s losses hit their high point in 2015 and predicted that many of the startups under its umbrella would start reaping rewards in the coming years. In an exclusive interview with Handelsblatt, Mr. Samwer said he expects “at least three will be profitable by the end of 2017,” while all of Rocket’s investments “reached the high point of their losses in 2015.” Earlier Tuesday, Rocket Internet launched a new venture capital fund, raising $420 million from investors. Mr. Samwer said the success showed that “we’re playing in the top leagues.” Mr. Samwer also defended the dramatic collapse in the company’s share price over the last year. While “the share price could of course be better,” he argued the experience showed “some of the absurdity of the marketplace.” Internet companies in general, he argued, “are not popular among a certain type of investor.” Mr. Samwer said he was sticking with plans to take further startup companies public, despite Rocket’s high-profile failure to take delivery startup Hello Fresh public last year. “We’re sticking with that commitment. But give us time,” he said. Hello Fresh also remained ready to launch when the time is right: “The ship is rigged and ready to set sail, but the wind hasn’t been blowing. It doesn’t make sense to leave the harbor right now.” More broadly, the Rocket founder argued the company remains on the right track. “We’re not going to drive ourselves crazy, even if we have been accused of just about everything you can imagine by a number of media recently. We believe in the course we have set.”   Read the full interview in Wednesday’s Handelsblatt Global Edition at 12:00 Central European Time. Photo Source: Reuters