“The worst thing you can do to the Samwer brothers? Force them to grow a company”

04 Mar, 2013

In an interview with Manager Magazin, GetYourGuide CEO and co-founder Johannes Reck talks about the Samwer’s business model, and he doesn’t mince words: “The only German founders who get any press are the Samwers – and even that is now over.”

Reck says that the “company flipping” that Rocket Internet specialised in, is no longer a viable model: “The model of fast copying and selling worked for a while. But the companies they founded have been empty shells since a while – filled with a lot of little coworkers who can execute the Samwer vision. But the ping pong game of making a clone and selling it off to the original in the US is no longer working. Why? Because the US originals won’t buy anymore.”

“A US entrepreneur who was copied by the Samwers told me recently: the worst thing you can do to the Samwers is to force them to put a lot of time in growing their companies. And that’s exactly what we’re doing to them.”

I wonder if Reck is talking about Airbnb – which was cloned by the Samwers under the name “Wimdu”, but which has been struggling lately.

Reck thinks the Samwers are dragging along quite a big burden, with numerous companies that they invested millions in but whose fate is unclear at this time. It has been a good ride for them, he says, but it wasn’t really a sustainable model, adding that “the hour of truth is near for the Samwers”.

[Manager Magazin][Photo: Flickr, Steve Jurvetson]

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Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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