It all started with the launch of the Fab copycat company Bamarang in January of this year. The company cloning factory of the infamous Samwer brothers has not only copied the business model of the New-York based flash sales site, but also the look and feel of Fab.com.
Jason Goldberg, CEO of Bamarang, responded quickly to this new competitor and wrote on his personal blog: “…The worst offender is a new company, bamarang, operating out of the UK and Germany from the infamous Rocket Internet – Samwer brothers. Their site is not just a copycat, it’s frankly just stealing our unique Fab design elements…” (Update – February 2023: The blog seems to be no longer working and we therefore deactivated the link).
Was it tactically the wrong decision to directly mention Bamarang and the Samwer brothers? This mention actually helped the clone to get some press right from the start, and sometimes bad PR can somehow be good PR.
Last week, the original company Fab.com (Update – February 2023: The startup seems to be no longer in business under this website and we therefore deactivated the link) started expanding into Europe with the acquisition of the Berlin-based Casacanda GmbH. The acquisition was an all-stock deal, valuing Casacanda at around $10 million, and an important next step for Fab. As we mentioned previously, it’s more then likely that the launch of the Fab clone Bamarang and this recent acquisition are directly related. We’re pretty sure that Fab.com wanted to prevent a situation like Groupon/CityDeal or Airbnb/Wimdu, and the risk of having a clone company conquering the European market before the originator does.
In a recent interview with Bloomberg (Update – February 2023: The interview seems to be no longer showing and we therefore deactivated the link), Jason Goldberg stated, that in addition to the recent acquisition of Casacanda, Fab aims to spread across the rest of Europe very soon. He also stated that Fab is in it for the long run, and trying to build the next Amazon.com. “The next Amazon.com” is also something the Samwer brothers are trying to build. Within an internal e-mail from Oliver Samwer (which was leaked back in December) he stated: “This is our last chance in ecommerce to build an Amazon company”. In the same email, Oliver Samwer used the term “blitzkrieg” referring to the online business and described himself as “the most aggresive guy on the Internet”.
And the battle has just begun. When we opened our German Facebook account yesterday, we already saw the two companies competing within the same ad section (screenshot enclosed). As an outside observer we’re excited to follow the development of the two competitors during the next few months. Honestly, we would love to see the next Amazon coming out of Europe – but not the Samwer way. 🙂
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