Forget PesaTalk‘s Joel Macharia, who walked away (with a minority stake) from Kenya’s then web financial news startup which endedp up closing shop due to investor-CEO ‘differences’, Rocket Internet’s Jumia is reeking with stench.
This morning startups in Africa were awakened by shock when one of our very own realized that Rocket Internet, the parent company of Jumia, had allegedly bought and is sitting on it’s domain names across the continent. The Blitzkrieg is said to have registered 11 domain names related to Konga outside Nigeria, an evil move by any competitor ever seen.
If these allegations are true, this decision is aimed at stifling growth of Nigerian and African businesses in the sectors the Berlin-based business builder wants to dominate, especially online real estate, auto, job classifieds and online retail stores.
The domain names now under ownership of Rocket Internet or its affiliates include;
Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal caught a clue about Rocket Internet’s activities in Nigeria and mentioned the exit of Jumia Nigeria’s two African CEOs(Tunde Kehinde and Raphael Afaedor) here.
Earlier, we realized that the Havard MBA founders had been let go off from the firm they co-founded. There are different ‘founders’ and directors now. Kehinde is working on a courier/delivery startup called Apost to be based in Nigeria but we doubt if he will stay, our sources reveal the founders have left the firm empty-handed, minus any equity and MTN Group just bought stolen companies in Africa and Middle-East from Rocket Internet just like that!
Though it’s OK for Rocket Internet to replicate internet successes from other markets in Africa and compete Cheki, BuyRentKenya, Private Property, BuyAm, Tranzit, CityChops and EazyAppetite with its Camido, Jovago, Kaymu, Vamido, EasyTaxi and HelloFood, the way the firms are being run are affecting the future of internet and mobile businesses in Africa.
Zimbabwe could be right, all the firms have to have 60% local ownership before they are registered; this helps keep jobs and profits back home. With our brothers out at Jumia, and Rocket Internet selling to another face, this is seriously hurting a local operation with the same business model including. These local companies WILL die if not supported. It is that simple.
TechMoran has send an email to Rocket Internet on these allegations, we shall publish more details in a bit, below are some of the domain names being squatted on Konga domains by rocket screenshots.
The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (also known as Truth in Domain Names Act), a United States federal law enacted in 1999, is part of A bill to amend the provisions of title 17, United States Code, and the Communications Act of 1934, relating to copyright licensing and carriage of broadcast signals by satellite (S. 1948). It makes people who register domain names that are either trademarks or individual’s names with the sole intent of selling the rights of the domain name to the trademark holder or individual for a profit liable to civil action. It was sponsored by Senator Trent Lott on November 17, 1999, and enacted on November 29 of the same year.