Rocket Internet, the Berlin-based incubator founded by the Samwer brothers with a number of notable exits and fundings under its belt, is branching further into Asia, and specifically emerging markets.
It’s partnering with Ooredoo, the main carrier in Qatar (formerly known as QTel), in a new joint venture called Asia Internet Holding to build and fund e-commerce startups, especially those focused on mobile services. The pair are not yet revealing how much money they are investing, but you could look to similar projects from Rocket as one marker: Africa Internet Holding, also formed in partnership with carriers, is building and investing in its regional startup portfolio with $410 million to spend.
Founded in 2010 by Yusuke Tanaka and three other founders, Locondo is one of the largest ecommerce sites selling shoes in Japan. Yusuke, an ex-McKinsey consultant who worked in Silicon Valley from 2007 to 2010, was very inspired by Tony Hsieh’s Zappos. “I had an opportunity to hear about the story of Zappos. I thought there was great potential to do it in Japan,” says Yusuke. By chance, Yusuke met the guys from Rocket Internet, the German ecommerce startup machine. In 2010, Locondo received a US$10 million investment from Rocket followed by another $5 million in 2011. Rocket Internet also provided expertise in logistics and warehousing to Yusuke’s team.