Is there any method in Rocket Internet’s madness? A few months ago, I made a point that winter has landed in Southeast Asia with the fast and furious expansion of Rocket Internet from the infamous Samwer brothers. In the process, I also concluded that while they may be bad for innovation but they would demonstrate good examples of execution and speed to the rest of the technology ecosystem within the region. While monitoring their revolving door executives quitting within 3-6 months, employees complaining about their ways and their startups shutting down like Home24 within a short period of time, we are beginning to ask, “Is it really going to work or fall apart?” Read more
After a series of laying off employees from their Philippine operations, German cloning titan Rocket Internet has fired more employees in Southeast Asia, this time from its Singapore base. Online furniture shopping portal Home24.sg is apparently shutting down.
We hear that several employees were fired several weeks ago and today was asked to come into the office to gather their stuff as the outfit is being closed. The website is still live though but customer service calls go unanswered.
Seems like its sneaking up on Singapore’s furniture retailers to try to capture the market didn’t work.
This is a developing story and we will update if we hear back from Rocket Internet.
Update on 18th May: There was a couple of days of delay, but Home24.sg has finally launched.
Provided there are no unexpected delays, Home24.sg, an online furniture by the Samwer Brother’s Rocket Internet, will launch in Singapore tomorrow. SGE received the news from a company insider, who declined to be named.
We’ve also received details and screenshots (below) of the alpha version of the site. Based on what we know, Home24.sg will offer about 5,000 variations of houseware, kitchenware, tableware, and lighting items. Their inventory will consist of a mix of local and foreign brands.
Customers will not be charged for delivery to their homes. They will also receive a refund if they find that the same item is priced lower in any other major retailer, or if the product does not suit their homes. The offer is valid within seven days of purchase. There are no delivery charges for refunds too.
(Read: Are the Samwer Brothers’s Rocket Internet really that bad for Southeast Asia?)
Home24.sg will face competition from other online furniture retailers like Courts, BEDS.sg, and Furnituremart.sg. Read more
Update on 6th May 2012: Home24.sg goes live quietly, begins sneak attack on Singapore’s furniture retailers
Home24.sg, the Singapore version of Rocket Internet’s global furniture store, has gone live. The Samwer Brothers have made known their intentions to expand into Singapore and Malaysia for some time, launching their Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages.
They have an ongoing contest called Colour My Sofa where participants can win a S$500 cash prize.
Rocket Internet’s entry into the furniture business in Southeast Asia is certainly one to watch out for. Home24.sg is up against some very strong furniture retailers with established brand names, with IKEA and Courts being some of them.
It’s unclear how Singaporeans will take to ordering furniture online, but I suspect most of them are more comfortable heading down to showrooms and feeling the pieces for themselves.
That could change very soon.
IKEA is perhaps the most well-known furniture company in the world. They’re recognized for cutting-edge innovation too, even coming up with their own smart TV.
But if they’re not careful, they may find their market share eroded by Home24, Rocket Internet’s online furniture store that debuted in Germany and France and is set to launch in Singapore and Malaysia. Read more