Germany’s Rocket Internet Developing Square Clone


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German clone developer Rocket Internet has come up with its own version of the popular mobile payment startup Square. Rocket Internet, run by brothers Oliver, Mac and Alexander Samwer, are calling their product Zenpay, which is a clone of Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey's new venture. No word on when and where Zenpay will launch.

Rocket Internet currently offers a wide mix of their own clones, with versions of Airbnb, Zynga and Pinterest, for example. The reclusive brothers who run the company have made a fortune by developing or funding the European cloning of major U.S. sites like eBay (called Alando, which was sold to eBay for $43 million in 1999), Groupon, VeriSign (called Jamba!, which sold to VeriSign for $270 million in 2004), Amazon and Facebook (called StudioVZ, which was sold for roughly $122 million to Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group in 2007, and is now unsellable due to a massive decline in usership.) Rocket Internet either sells the clones back to the companies they copied, or to said companies' competitors. Square is an obvious choice in Rocket Internet's seeming mission to clone every popular U.S. startup.

The brothers Samwer of Berlin had their most recent success with CityDeal, their Groupon clone. The Samwers ended up selling CityDeal back to Groupon, and likewise became some of Groupon's largest shareholders. The experience garnered while cloning Groupon will likely assist Rocket in its cloning of Square. The success of Zenpay depends on whether or not Rocket can convince companies to adopt its cloned system, but the Groupon CityDeal experience also affords a pre-established business channel for the introduction of their latest knockoff.

Interestingly, in the about page on the Rocket Internet website, there is no mention of internet business cloning and selling back to original creator expertise.