Startup Screen: Kinnevik, Groupon and

As usual we would like to provide you with our view on what the startup scene has managed to produce last week – news-wise. This time we talk about the latest figures published by Kinnevik regarding their Zalando and Rocket Internet investments, look at a leaked email that reveals the amount of pressure Groupon applies to reach the desired results and shed some light on the latest coup by

Kinnevik and the Zalando figures

The 2011 report of Investment AB Kinnevik, the Stockholm-based investment company which for example holds 25% of the Rocket Internet incubator, contains many details about their various engagements. According to this paper, Kinnevik invested about EUR 305 million in Rocket Internet, online shoe retailer Zalando received EUR 95 million. Regarding the latter, the report also informs us that a net turnover of EUR 200 million for the first half of 2011 has been generated, however, that the company is not yet in the profit zone.


Last week, another company has shown that success in the online world is often based on dubious practices regarding how employees are treated. This time, Groupon is the bad guy. According to Gründerszene, who have received a number of internal mails by Grouponers, working for this couponing service is not always honkydory:

Groupon employees were constantly harassed, team meetings would be marked by hour-long abuse and accusations as well as pummeling of non-performers. Targets should be polled by hourly reports. If one believes those illustrations, work planning for Groupon means starting at 8 am and finishing at 10pm – breaks are frowned upon. (my translation)

When asked, Groupon/CityDeal CEO Daniel Glasner denied that those accusations were accurate and told the magazine that employees as well as customers would be treated fairly as a matter of principle.

Last Monday, US-based shopping site for design-based inspirations has taken over the Berlin-based Casacanda. As outlined by its CEO Jason Goldberg in his blog (Fab Acquires Casacanda and Launches as Serving Germany, Austria, & Switzerland), the German site that has 250,000 members relaunches as Given that the Samwer clone factory has just started operating its own clone Bamarang (which was heavily criticised by Goldberg as well), the latest move of could be interpreted as a direct countermove. As has it:

It’s more then likely that the launch of the Fab clone Bamarang and this recent acquisition are directly related. It could be understood as a declaration of war to the Samwer brothers.

About Roman Zenner
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