Sci & Tech

Rocket Internet Cuts Stakes in Lending Sites

Rocket Internet Cuts Stakes in Lending Sites
Rocket Internet Cuts Stakes in Lending Sites

Rocket Internet, a tech investor focused on emerging market ventures, has reduced its stakes in two of its Europe-focused financial services start-ups after facing setbacks there, Germany's Spiegel magazine said on Sunday.

Lending site Lendico had all but retreated from three of the six countries where it had been operating, while corporate lending site Zencap made fewer than 200 loans to small firms with a total value of 14 million euros ($16 million) in its first year, Spiegel said, without specifying its sources.

Berlin-based Rocket has also had to contend with a setback in its recent move to invest in food delivery group Delivery Hero, a competitor to Foodpanda, a similar business Rocket controls that is active in 40 countries.

Spiegel said Rocket had been unable to win a seat on Delivery Hero's supervisory board despite taking a 39 percent stake in the company. Delivery Hero founder Niklas Oestberg, who opposes giving Rocket a seat, was quoted by Spiegel as saying the investor would have a conflict of interest, given its ownership in both Delivery Hero and Foodpanda, part of Rocket's Global Online Takeaway Group, which it formed earlier this year. A spokesman for Rocket declined to comment.

Rocket holds investments in dozens of e-commerce, marketplace and financial services companies, most of them focused on emerging market economies. The company is set to publish its 2014 financial results on Tuesday.

Foodpanda said on Friday it had received $100 million in a new investment round.

Lendico said separately it had secured an additional round of funding worth 20 million euros from Rocket Internet, Access Industries, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures and another unnamed investor.

The group operates in Iran under a holding group known locally as Romak according to Bourse & Bazaar. The company currently runs local websites like Bodofood, Bamilo, Mozando and Taxiyaab.

Romak's aggressive expansion in Iran has been widely reported, yet Rocket has made no mention of Iran anywhere in its official marketing materials or on its main website.