JP Morgan invests $20m in Rocket Internet’s “down under” retailer THE ICONIC

Nina Fowler 2012-09-11 22

Sydney city beach
US financial firm JP Morgan’s latest spend on a Rocket Internet portfolio company is a $20 million cash-for-equity swap with Australian and New Zealand online fashion retailer THE ICONIC.

The deal follows similar investments in Zalando (Europe), Dafiti (Brazil) and Lamoda (Russia). The latest deal took place through THE ICONIC’s German holding company, with the size of the deal as first reported by newspaper The Australian.

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 but also including three ventures in payment services.

Since Finn Haensel, Adam Jacobs, Cameron Votan, Ryan Tuohy and Andreas Otto founded THE ICONIC with Rocket Internet in October 2011, the company has grown with typical Rocket Internet aggression to employ 300 – including at its distribution centre in West Sydney – and include over 25,000 products from 500 brands.

In a rare interview, with Australian online magazine Power Retail, Rocket Internet founder Oliver Samwer said the planning phase for THE ICONIC’s launch took just three months. He also shed a little insight on the reasoning behind the launch:

“We look at different internet markets and look at key KPIs like GDP, growth of e-commerce etc., but also at what stage the specific country is at when it comes to e-commerce… Australia is a very young market when it comes to e-commerce and we actually see a lot of future potential here.”

Rocket Internet appears to be in the middle of a portfolio shake-up, closing or merging operations in Turkey, Dubai and Nigeria, and reported to be shutting the Singapore branch of furniture retailer Home24. Sources speaking to The Next Web report a new push into southeast Asia may be on the cards, with Marc Samwer at the helm.

Rocket Internet’s other operations in Australia include 21Diamonds, HelloFresh and Zanui.

Image credit: Flickr user blair_25

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