17. June 2013–
Berlin incubator Project A Ventures has sold its shares in online men’s fashion store Amerano. According to an entry on the Amerano website, its new majority shareholder is the von Grünberg family with close to 90 per cent of shares.
The new investors are not only contributing capital but will also head up the management of Amerano, turning it into a family-run business. The management shake-up sees Kaspar von Grünberg as the new Managing Director – he's been involved in the company since it launched, the site states – while Julia von Grünberg will manage the customer service and logistics.
On the website, Amerano hinted at a wrong direction in the past and outlined some changes that will be made to allow the business to grow more sustainably: "Our tradition-conscious concept stands fundamentally opposed to the short-lived character of so-called 'startups'. The family is convinced that in a breathless online world, "empty" and unlived brands are unattractive for consumers. In the future, the family will place emphasis on the quality and origin of the products... As a family, the von Grünbergs will manage a lean company that needs little administration, that can react quickly and flexibly to market developments."
The Heilemann brothers – Fabian and Ferry – who also invested in Amerano have exited the company along with Project A.
Amerano stands out from the competition by offering personal style advisers, who visit the customer’s home, take their measurements and advise on the correct fabrics for a range of shirts. The company then tailor-makes the clothing and sends it to the customer.
Project A was founded by former Rocket Internet employees Florian Heinemann, Christian Weiss, Thies Sander and Uwe Horstmann last year. Their other portfolio companies include Semasio, Popdust, Kochzauber, and Shirtagram.
Earlier this year, rumours abounded that Axel Springer was in negotiations with Project A to provide it with €50m funding – though to date no investment has been announced. This could be because, so far, the incubator hasn't lived up to expectations when it launched last year – it was touted as a competitor to Rocket Internet, but its investments have not come close to demonstrating the aggressive growth or scalability that typifies companies from the Rocket stable.