Rocket Internet, the German company builder and incubator recently confirmed that it would be launching an Initial Public Offering (IPO) later this year on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
Rocket Internet, which focuses on emerging markets and has a significant footprint in Africa has already established a presence in the Zimbabwean tech space through online real estate site Lamudi.com.
The IPO is supposed to shore up $970 million which will be used to finance more growth efforts through new businesses and funding for existing enterprises. It sounds a lot like more ammunition for the cloning of tech solutions and leaving them on emerging market doorsteps.
Rocket Internet has established itself as a builder of tech enterprises in emerging markets through the implementation of services and products that mimic existing solutions in developed countries. This has earned Rocket Internet a reputation as a clone factory, something that hasn’t slowed it down as it establishes a strong global presence.
Currently Rocket Internet is valued at $5.3 billion courtesy of earlier investment from HV Holtzbrinck Ventures. Other more familiar investors in the Rocket Internet machine are MTN and Swedish telecoms firm Millicom.
The style of entrepreneurship and business growth adopted by Rocket Internet has been criticised by several tech insiders including entrepreneurs like iROKO’s Jason Njoku.
The concept of adopting an existing solution from another market and executing it under a different name in an emerging market does provide a solution for that disadvantaged market. However this denies any local service provider or startup the opportunity to establish something with a similar solution.
Startups already have numerous hurdles and competing with a billion dollar company’s subsidiary can clip any attempts at scaling.