1. May 2013–
The Samwer brothers' appetite for online furniture businesses has another backer: Latin American media group Cisneros has said it will invest up to $20m in home furnishing site Mobly in Brazil.
Mobly – backed by the Samwers' company builder Rocket Internet – started up in Brazil 18 months ago and now claims more than six million visits per month, a catalogue of 45,000 products and sales revenue of $180m for its first fiscal year.
“Mobly is about to break into the traditional retail market of home furniture and décor and expand its dominance throughout Latin America, having the industry’s leading selection of top-quality items, excellent customer service and fast delivery that’s second to none," Cisneros VP of Strategy Adriana Cisneros de Griffin said in a press release on Tuesday.
Cisneros – through its Cisneros Interactive Group division – has made an initial investment of $10m in Mobly with an option to add another $10m within the year. According to an article this week in TechCrunch, Mobly is also backed by regular Rocket Internet investors Kinnevik and JP Morgan.
Oliver Samwer – who founded Rocket Internet in Berlin in 2007 with his brothers Marc and Alexander – is notoriously bullish about the potential of online furniture retail. In an leaked email dated October 2011, he argued billion-dollar companies can right now only be built in the "Amazon", "Zappos" and furniture eCommerce categories. More recently, a leaked investor pitch claimed Rocket Internet companies would "take down" Swedish furniture giant Ikea.
Rocket Internet's other online furniture ventures include Home24 and Westwing – and short-lived Fab clone Bamarang, which shut down after just six months in favour of sister company Westwing last year.
Cisneros, meanwhile, holds a wide range of media and online assets and investments in Latin America, including ad network RedMas and daily deals website Cuponidad.
Image credit: flickr user emdot
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