Rocket Internet’s e-commerce properties continue their march towards new horizons with ASOS-investor and fashion entrepreneur Anders Holch Povlsen buying up 10 percent of Zappos-clone Zalando, while Lazada has launched its Amazon-style marketplace in a bid to capture third-party Asian retailers.
The Samwer brothers’ secretive German incubator did not disclose any financial details but said that Bestseller-founder Povlsen, who already owns 30 percent of ASOS, would become the company’s third biggest shareholder, behind Investment AB Kinnevik (37 percent) and the European Founders Fund (EFF) (18 percent).
Already owning some of Europe’s biggest fashion labels including JACK & JONES (At the time of posting, JACK & JONES was prominently displayed on the Zalando home page), and VERO MODA, Povlsen, who was rumoured to be considering a takeover bid for ASOS, is now well positioned to grow his stake in Zalando.
Povlsen acquired his shares from several early-stage investors including EFF and Zalando managing director Rubin Ritter said it was an important strategic development of the shareholder structure.
“Anders Holch Povlsen will be a strong and long-term-oriented shareholder and together we want to design the future of fashion e-commerce,” Ritter said in a statement.
The company’s valuation is believed to be growing and it appears the investment could be paid off sooner, rather than later. In 2013, Q1 revenues jumped 74 percent to 372 million EUR, while at the end of 2012 Zalando broke even in its core regions of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Meanwhile, Lazada’s marketplace launch, which hopes to attract more sellers and buyers to its websites in Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, is a move straight from Amazon’s well-worn playbook. The expansion represents its first major development since June, when it closed a $100 million investment — it has raised $236 million raised since its launch in March 2012.
CEO Maximilian Bittner recently said it aimed to become the Amazon of south east Asia.
There were already 75 merchants signed up to the Malaysian marketplace, including Pineapple Computers founder Mark Lim, who told DigitalNewsAsia that joining the marketplace has boosted sales by 38 percent.Additional reporting: Ingrid Lunden