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This article was published on July 1, 2013

    Rocket Internet shutters Southeast Asia-based office supply startup OfficeFab

    Rocket Internet shutters Southeast Asia-based office supply startup OfficeFab Image by: Getty Images/iStockphoto
    Jon Russell
    Story by

    Jon Russell

    Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.

    Rocket Internet just helped close two gigantic $100 million rounds of funding for two of its key businesses in Southeast Asia — Lazada and Zalora — but another of its startups in the region is biting the dust — say goodbye to office supply specialist OfficeFab.

    Singapore-based tech blog SGE spoke with OfficeFab staff who confirmed that the company is shutting down after it closed its main office. We received a firm “no comment” when we contacted Rocket Internet’s Germany-based media team, but we’ve also heard from sources that the original report is correct and the company closed its office on June 30 — though its website remains live and able to process payments.

    Staff are reportedly being transitioned to other Rocket Internet companies — but we’ve not received confirmation of that.

    The service was operational in four countries in Southeast Asia — Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia — and was said to be seeing high-margins and returns, but — according to SGE’s source — it is closing due to its weak long-term potential.

    officefab

    This isn’t the first time that a Rocket Internet business in Asia has been axed. Singapore and Malaysia-based furniture venture Home24 was closed last year under similar circumstances, while the notorious Germany incubator — headed by the Samwer brothers — has also found it hard going in China.

    Rocket Internet and its close circle of regular investors — such as JP Morgan, and Europe-based Tengelmann, Kinnevik and others — have ploughed millions into e-commerce startups across Southeast Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa  but, as the saying goes, when you make omelettes you’ve got to break some eggs in the process.

    It’s failures aren’t isolated to Asia. For example, the company exited Turkey last year, shedding some 400 jobs in the process, in spite of the country’s fast-growing Internet scene.

    Headline image via Thinkstock

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