Copycats as a Source of Successful VC Startup Generation

“On the internet, there are Einsteins and there are Bob the Builders. I’m Bob the Builder.” — Oliver Samwer

Founded in 2012 and having raised more than USD-$230mm, Linio became one of the most important marketplaces in the Latin American region having proven to have a successful and scalable business model. A few weeks ago, Clip became the new Mexican unicorn by raising USD-$250mm in a round led by Softbank. This was due to the company’s business model and the high demand in the Mexican market for this type of solutions.

Linio and Clip are clear examples of companies that have shown that you don’t need to invent the black thread to make a venture successful. It’s not difficult to visualize the similiter between the Linio business model and that of Amazon, or the similiter between Clip’s model and technology and that of Square in the United States.

The existence of “Copycats” is based on the premise that in entrepreneurship it’s more important to know how to execute the business than the business idea per se. In essence, there are highly scalable business models that don’t need patents and are relatively easy to replicate. This puts the success of the business on the entrepreneur’s management, execution, and the speed with which they scale in their market.

The greatest exponent of this type of startups is undoubtedly Rocket Internet. It was founded in Germany in 2007 by the Samwer brothers. The model of Rocket Internet is based on replicating business ideas of successful companies in an accelerated way in emerging markets and then selling these companies to their counterparts when they seek global expansion. One of its early successes was the German company Alando, which had a business model and architecture very similar to Ebay. After founding and operating the company for almost 100 days, the Samwer brothers sold Alando to Ebay for USD-$43mm. Linio and Lamudi, companies that belonged to the origin of Rocket Internet. Today, the list of Rocket related companies exceeds 70.

Not all business models are easily replicable, so not all successful companies represent an opportunity to create a copycat in a different geography. The main characteristics of a good copycat are.

Companies like Rocket Internet and entrepreneurs like Samwer brothers have been criticized by the ecosystem for attempting to undermine innovation and exploit market inefficiencies. However, creating a copycat is no easy task as the success of the venture depends heavily on the team’s execution and the arduous task of successfully adapting the business model to the new market.

Note: please refer to the original publication at EL CEO: Los copycats como fuente de generación de startups exitosas en VC (

Hector Shibata. Director of Investments & Portfolio at ACV a global Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) fund and Adjunct Professor for Entrepreneurial Finance.

Ricardo Latournerie. VC Investor at ACV.

ACV is an international Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) fund investing globally in Startups & VC funds.

Stay updated about Venture Capital, innovation, entrepreneurship and more! Sign up for AC Venture’s monthly Newsletter.

Follow us on LinkedIn: ACV_VC

Follow us on Twitter: acv_vc

Follow us on Spotify: ACV_VC



ACV is an international Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) fund investing globally in Startups & VC funds.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store

ACV is an international Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) fund investing globally in Startups & VC funds.