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Just months after the Samwer brothers courted controversy by cloning design sales site Fab.com, they are about to close their copycat site, Bamarang, down.
German media has reported that the site, which was launched by the brothers’ Rocket Internet incubator and operated across a number of European countries, will be shutting down immediately as the investors switch their focus. It’s a swift execution for the site, which caused Fab.com founder Jason Goldberg to angrily label it a “complete rip-off” when it appeared in January — copying not just Fab’s business model, but also the site’s design.
But even though Bamarang is being shut down, it won’t be going away exactly.
According to conversations reported by Deutsche Startups, the energy that went into Bamarang is now being transferred to WestWing, another Rocket-funded entity focused on home decor sales that recently took $50 million in funding.
“We have decided to concentrate on WestWing’s business model, where we have established clear No1 positions in key markets like Germany, Brazil, Italy and Russia,” said WestWing founder Stefan Smalla.
“As a consequence we will phase out Bamarang and focus 100 percent of our resources on WestWing, which we see as the stronger of the two business models. This will allow us to build unassailable market positions in the emerging home and living e-commerce market, and deploy our substantial new funding on the largest growth opportunities.”
German startup site Gruenderszene reports that most of the staff of Bamarang are expected to move to WestWing, with many staff taking part in interviews on Monday to help decide their fate.
Anyone thinking this says anything about the death of cloning should beware, however — not least because WestWing is a copycat of the flash sales site OneKingsLane. Ultimately, it looks like a hard-headed business decision from one of the most hard-headed investing teams around: Bamarang faced too much competition, but WestWing is having an easier ride of it, so they decided to follow the money.