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Zando co-founder and managing director Manuel Koser today announced his resignation from the South African online retailer.
The entrepreneur will reportedly be leaving Zando to co-found Silvertree Capital, a “company builder and venture investor” in African startups.
In a statement, Koser said that he would remain a shareholder in Zando.
“I have decided to step down as MD of Zando.co.za to pursue other entrepreneurial ventures, as I am [a] startup enthusiast and miss the excitement and hectic environment of setting up a company from scratch. I will still be a shareholder of Zando and leave the business on a good note based on my own choice. I have no doubt it will continue to go from strength to strength under the excellent management of Peter,” says Koser.
While Koser claims he’s leaving on his own terms, it seems his resignation is not entirely unexpected. Ventureburn has heard rumours that Zando investors and Koser did not see eye to eye. A well-placed anonymous source meanwhile says that Koser was forced out of the company, but refused to elaborate any further.
When Ventureburn put it to Zando that Koser might have been pushed out, it strongly denied that this was the case.
Koser himself says that “investors and management have the same strategic view for the company and have a good relations”.
Koser’s fellow co-founder Peter Allerstorfer will remain at the company, which is part of Rocket Internet’s global ecommerce empire, and is now its sole managing director. “The business is still growing according to its business plan, while there will always be changes, this is what growth brings and Zando.co.za is prepared for it. I look forward to take business into its next phase. I truly thank Manuel for his dedication and effort to build South Africa’s largest fashion ecommerce player. I wish him all the best for his future endeavours”, says Allerstorfer.
He adds that his goal from here on out will be to hold Zando’s claimed position as “the number one online fashion destination and to reach profitability”.
In a relatively short space of time, the clothing and shoe retailer has made a serious mark on the South African ecommerce space. With over 400 brands and 10 000 products online, it is one of the five top consumer ecommerce sites in South Africa. In late 2012 meanwhile it netted a €20-million investment from Summit Partners.
According to Koser, Silvertree Capital is company builder and venture capital investor in African start-ups “with a focus on the middle class consumer”.
He claims that “it will bring together knowledge, management execution and capital and will work hand-in hand with strategic partners to understand customer behavior better and change it”.
“I think the time is right now to invest into the growing African consumer space. We have seen an exciting growth momentum for African startups but will[sic] feel that it is time to bring real business acumen to help start-ups to turn into successful enterprises”, he adds.