Confirmed: JP Morgan invests in Rocket Internet’s Lazada

Nina Fowler 2012-09-12 13

Lazada

Lazada, Rocket Internet’s Amazon clone in southeast Asia, has confirmed funding from US financial firm JP Morgan following reports of a pending deal last week.

VentureVillage understands (from a source at Rocket Internet) that the investment is a double-digit million sum. That would bring JP Morgan’s total reported recent investment in Rocket to between $125m and $165m, assuming JP Morgan paid at least $10m for its one per cent stake in Zalando and also invested at least $10m in Lazada. This latest deal – like most of the others – took place through Lazada’s German holding company.

Following its launch, into Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia earlier this year, Lazada attracted criticism from the international tech press for what many saw as a blatant bid to copy Amazon in new markets.

The counter-argument is that Amazon wasn’t taking up the opportunity itself and that – apart from website and logo design elements, now more distinct – selling books and electronics en masse online is no longer an original idea.

Since launch, Lazada has grown to 1000 employees. That in itself doesn’t say much about Lazada’s profitability or growth potential, as the numbers employed by Rocket Internet e-commerce companies depends on whether they do logistics and distribution in house (Lazada does) and how many territories the company covers. The slogan on the company’s landing page, though, makes its ambition clear – to become “the biggest online shopping mall in the world”.

Rocket Internet, founded by the Samwer brothers in 2007 and headquartered in Berlin, spans about 100 portfolio companies in 40 countries, mostly in retail e-commerce. Its main investor is Swedish investment bank Kinnevik, plus a relatively recent $200m investment from US billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries.

FOR RELATED READING, CHECK OUT:

JP Morgan invests $20m in Rocket Internet’s “down under” retailer THE ICONIC
The McKinsey grad cloning Amazon: Can you pass the Lazada?
Access Industries’ billionaire Len Blavatnik sinks $200m into Rocket Internet

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