Tech Person of The Week- Oliver Samwer


For many people, in the eCommerce and tech space, the name Oliver Samwer rings a bell. He is the group CEO of Rocket Internet, an eCommerce group that said its vision is to “To Become the World’s Largest Internet Platform Outside the United States and China”.

Rocket Internet owns one of Nigeria’s major eCommerce companies, Jumia. Jumia was organised under the Africa Internet Group, AIG with over 10 related and divergent 10 eCommerce startups. However, a tough economic dynamics has since seen AIG been collapsed into Jumia.

Oliver Samwer and his brother founded Rocket Internet and they have grown the company into a multi-billion dollar company, at least according to the company’s public valuation.

With 25% stake in Jumia, Rocket Internet disclosure says the its Last Portfolio Value, LPV of its holding in Jumia (formerly AIG) as at April, 2016 was USD 27million. However, Jumia’s Last Financing Round Valuation, LFRV was USD1,06 billion as at the same time.

While Rocket Internet’s business model has been criticised as overtly simplistic ‘German-cloning machine’, the company has no doubt contributed into the penetration of eCommerce into emerging markets and high risk markets in Asia and the entire sub-Saharan Africa.

Based on Rocket Internet’s disclosure, Oliver Samwer was born in Cologne, Germany, in 1972. He holds a degree in business administration from WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. Upon graduation, Oliver and his two brothers founded in 1999.

After the sale of to eBay Inc., he was Managing Director of eBay, responsible for Germany, Switzerland and Austria. In 2000, Oliver and his two brothers founded Jamba! AG, which was acquired by Verisign Inc. in 2004.

In 2007, he founded Rocket Internet. Since 2014, Oliver has served as Rocket’s Chief Executive Officer. He is responsible for strategy development and implementation, business development and investor relations.