German startup investor Rocket Internet has appointed a new chairman in charge of its supervisory board.
Former ProSieben digital media manager employee Marcus Englert has been promoted from his deputy position, while Lorenzo Grabau, chief executive of the group’s chief investor, Kinnevik, will continue to serve as a board member.
Rocket Internet, which boasts a portfolio of e-commerce sites, denies that the move is a result of a rumoured rift between the two companies last month, stemming from the Swedish investor’s decision to block the IPO listing of startup HelloFresh a day before Rocket planned to publish its prospectus.
However, newswire Reuters states that a source close to the company reported “disagreements” over Rocket’s direction by Kinnivek.
Since its founding in 2007, Rocket Internet has been behind the growth of a number of e-commerce startups, including a collection of commission-based affiliate groups, such as Cuponation, Carspring and Food Panda.
A recent flurry of investments into food takeaway businesses led Rocket to seek further funding in an attempt to compete in a number of mature markets. This went some way to explaning a 43% drop in shares year on year, despite claims that its most established assets had undergone a 120% growth in the first three quarters of 2015.
The group, whose mission statement is “to become the world’s largest internet platform outside the United States and China”, claimed last week that its portfolio of businesses was worth €6.1 billion – a “stable” figure – despite Financial Times suggesting that the majority are losing money.
It’s hard to gauge Rocket’s current progress given that the company only releases financial information on a handful of ‘proven winners’, making an overall assessment of the company’s standing difficult to achieve.
In efforts to quell the nerves of investors, however, last Wednesday chief executive Oliver Samwer said it would “stand by” a number of objectives laid out in September.
Those included targets for operating losses among its ‘proven winners’ in 2015, to have three of its businesses break even within two years and taking one of its ‘winners’ public within 18 months.
Samyer also stated that he expected a large number of the companies to make significant improvements to profitability in 2016.