Over the last six months, many people have observed that we’ve entered a quiet period for consumer Internet startups, as the latest social, commerce, and mobile waves play themselves out.Venture capital funding has dropped. Excitement has sagged. Fewer red-hot products are taking the world by storm.
Perhaps most visibly, Union Square Ventures partner Fred Wilson essentially declared the end of this latest consumer Internet cycle in a post called “What Has Changed.”
But if you’re still having a hard time believing that the party has ended, here’s a new data point for you.
The US consumer Internet startup is so dead and boring, a smart investor tells us, that Germany’s Samwer brothers haven’t cloned a single US startup in more than three months.
The Samwer brothers, you will recall, run an incubation/investment firm called Rocket Internet.
Every time a US startup shows the slightest bit of promise, Rocket immediately clones it–often right down to the logo and font. And then, a couple of years later, if everything has gone according to plan, Rocket sells the European clone back to the parent company for gazillions of dollars.
The Samwers built an eBay clone and sold it to eBay, for example. They built a Groupon clone and sold it to Groupon. They’ve built a Pinterest clone and an AirBnB clone. And so on.
These clones, by the way, aren’t chosen haphazardly.
According to one source, a team at Rocket Internet systematically reviews every Internet startup that gets funded in the US and then decides whether or not to clone it.
The firm has presumably reviewed every company funded in the US in the past three months.
And it hasn’t found a single one worth cloning.