Capital: € 1.1 billion
Age: 47
Born: 09.08.1972
Country of origin: Germany
Source of wealth: Entrepreneurs
Last updated: 2022

Short introduction

Oliver Samwer and his brothers Alexander and Marc founded the Berlin technology incubator Rocket Internet in 2007 and launched them in October 2014. Often characterized as ruthless and combative, Oliver is the middle brother and CEO. Together, the Samwers own approximately 37% of Rocket, which was worth over $ 8 billion at the time of its IPO. Inspired by the dotcom boom, they founded the German auction house Alando in 1999 and after a few months sold it to eBay for $ 43 million. This was followed by the establishment of the mobile operator Jamba !, which was sold to Verisign in 2004 for $ 273 million.

Early life

Oliver graduated from high school at the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Gymnasium in Cologne. The mother Sabine Samwer, like her father, is a lawyer in Cologne. The great-uncle Adolf Franz Samwer is a member of the Bundestag and chairman of the board of the German health insurance in Cologne. Great-grandfather Karl August Friedrich Samwer was an honorary citizen of Gotha and headed the Gotha life insurance bank from 1903 to 1930. Great-great-grandfather Karl Friedrich Samwer was a professor of constitutional law in Kiel at the State University. All three brothers founded their own families and have several children.

Along with his brothers Marc Samwer and Alexander Samwer, Oliver Samwer is one of the three founders of Rocket Internet. He was born in 1972 and grew up with his brothers in Cologne. His father was a serious lawyer. He founded his first start-up (Ego International Trading Company) in Bolivia in 1996, the company made shoes. In 1999, he and his three brothers Alando created a copy of the American company Ebay, which bought it just one hundred days after Alando was founded for $ 43 million. In 2000, he and his three brothers created Jamba, a cellular operator that Verisign bought in 2004 for $ 273 million.

In 2007, the three brothers launched Rocket Internet, which participates in a large number of Internet start-ups and is internationally developed, including eDarling, Glossybox, HelloFresh, Helpling, Home24, SpaceWays, Westwing and Wimdu. Rocket Internet has been listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since October 2, 2014. In 2013, Oliver, Marc and Alexander announced the creation of a new fund to manage their personal wealth: Global Founders Capital.

Through this fund, Oliver Samwer in particular decided to invest together with Xavier Niel, Jean-David Blanc and Thibaud Elzière in the French start-up WeMoms, the first social network for mothers.


The brothers Oliver, Mark and Alexander Samwer share the 1999 position with assets of USD 1.1 billion in the Forbes ranking of the richest people in 2018. They founded a holding company in Berlin in 2007. Rocket Internet, which started in 2014, helped set up an online mail order business from Zalando. Middle brother Oliver Samwer is CEO of Rocket Internet. According to Forbes, brothers and sisters own around 37 percent of the company.

The founding investors of the Zalando online shop and the internet startup incubator Rocket are increasingly investing in real estate, preferably in Berlin. According to a study, the brothers Mark, Oliver and Alexander Samver own properties in the center of the federal capital worth at least 150 million euros and manage them via a complex corporate network. In addition, according to the land register there are properties, houses and commercial space in almost every district of Berlin.

In addition to the Wilhelmian style apartment buildings in Prenzlauer Berg and the commercial areas in Reinickendorf and Neukeln, there are also impressive buildings. The portfolio includes, for example, the Admiralspalast, a charming entertainment venue from the early 20th century, the former Bayer headquarters at Kurfürstendamm and at Ullsteinhaus. The Samwer brothers will change the face of Berlin with their business model, ”said Bremen economist Rudolf Hickel.

Career highlights

In March 2013, it was announced that the Samwer brothers would launch a € 150 million fund called Global Founders Capital (GFC). The fund is designed to support young start-ups around the world. The assets of the three Samwer brothers were listed on the Forbes list in 2018, amounting to around one billion euros each. This puts the Samwer brothers on the Forbes list of the richest people in the world in 1999.

The Samwer brothers participate in different social projects in different ways, especially in the field of education. Alexander Samwer strives for more environmental protection through his entrepreneurial action and his commitment as one of the founders of the Leaders in Climate Protection initiative.

The brothers Samwer and Rocket Internet are criticized for their entrepreneurial actions. Many attacks aim to profitably simulate business models and products from other companies. For example, Alando was a replica of eBay’s US auction platform, MyCityDeal was a copy of Groupon. According to some critics, the Rocket Internet sometimes exerted excessive pressure, similar to investment banks and management consultancies. Other allegations include a sometimes attention-grabbing advertising strategy for employees, an authoritarian, high-pressure management style and sometimes aggressive business behavior.


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