Ever since I starting working with a large number of Rocket Internet alumni at Nova Founders in Kuala Lumpur before joining Luxola, I have heard many stories about Rocket Internet and how they work. Most of the stories are a bit bitter, but when it comes to the actual quality of their work there’s no doubt that they really know how to execute. I received a deck from Rocket Internet’s Investor day with Kinnevik, their main investor, around a month ago, and in this post I would like to share some of the most interesting insights I found.
#1: Their Battlefield Is Huge and Growing
Despite Oliver Samwer previously mentioning a total army size north of 22,000 people (youtube), the deck mentions a ‘mere’ 15,000+ Rocket Internet employees deployed in more than 100 countries around the world operating process-driven ventures in eCommerce, Marketplaces and Financial technology. The only two big markets that they seem to stay out of are The United States and China, but they’re almost everywhere else. From some of the slides it seems that they want to dominate these three verticals in every market, quite an endeavor no matter the funding and resources at hand.
#2: They Are Actually Data-Driven!
Everyone who’s ever read a JD for Rocket can testify to their strong liking of the term data-driven, but as with everything else revolving around big data I have always been a bit skeptical, maybe even comparing it to the High School Sex Metaphor (something everyone talks about but no-one really does). But from page 25 and 26 in the deck it seems like they’re actually very clever about this, and I definitely picked up a few tricks for my own reports. Here’s the key takeaways:
Since Rocket Internet are present in various different countries with the exact same business models, they have the data advantage of being able to compare countries to each other on core metrics.
Naturally, metrics like conversion rates and user behavior tend to differ from country to country especially in a region like Southeast Asia where digital education level varies, but it’s still a pretty bullet proof framework for taking action:
- Identify problem based on comparable metric.
- Look at the ‘winners’ and copy the formula by spending more time, deploying personnel from top countries etc.
- Track progress using the same metric with a fixed time cohort.
Rocket can execute on this better than most other eCommerce companies by physically moving top talent to underperforming countries, but this is still extremely valuable in terms of allocating time spend and budget for multi-country eCommerce.
Above is attached another version of the same process, here with the primary metric being the website load time for comparable ventures in different markets. Again, experts from top performing countries can be deployed in underperforming countries to fix the problems and improve performance.
#3: They Measure A Whole Lot Of Stuff
With top-level management typically overseeing a venture across more than one country, it makes sense to streamline reporting formats for each country for easier comparing and general overview. From the following slide, it seems that Rocket focuses on daily, weekly and monthly reports with a whole lot of color coding. A bit more intense than the P&G-style quarterly reports:
Data is collected using both internal and external systems and automatically fed into KPI reports.
- Comparable reports make it easier to spot the winners and losers on a metric-by-metric basis and deploy resources correctly.
- Automatization of reporting reduces admin time resources and data errors, leaving more time to focus on execution.
- For maximum impact, create metric-specific optimization projects and track impact on a 30-day and 90-day basis.
Download the full PDF deck here.