Square, the mobile payment startup founded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, is one of Silicon Valley’s hottest companies right now. It’s no surprise then, that German clone factory Rocket Internet, which is run by brothers Mac, Oliver and Alexander Samwer, is now rumored to be developing its own blatant Square clone. According to German startup blog Deutsche Startups, the clone, which will supposedly be called Zenpay, is currently one of Rocket Internet’s top priorities, though it is not clear when and where it will launch. The source that talked to Deutsche Startups, however, did indicate that Rocket Internet is planning to launch Zenpay “globally.” Given the nature of these payment systems, however, this seems rather unlikely.
Rocket Internet currently offers a wide variety of clones, including its own versions of Airbnb, Zynga and Pinterest, among others. Run by the publicity shy Samwer brothers, the company made its fortune by building and bankrolling European clones of major U.S. startups like eBay, Amazon, Groupon, Facebook and others and then selling those to either the companies they cloned or their competitors. Given the scope of Rocket Internet’s efforts to clone virtually every hot U.S. startup, it’s almost surprising that the Samwer brothers only got around to cloning Square now.
Rocket Internet’s biggest recent hit was surely CityDeal, its Groupon clone, which the brothers sold to Groupon itself and which also turned the Samwer brothers into some of Groupon’s biggest stockholders.
This experience with Groupon will likely help Rocket Internet with its Square clone. Just like in Groupon’s case, the success of a product like Zenpay depends on the company’s ability to convince businesses to use its system. Thanks to its experience and connection with Groupon, Rocket Internet already has a channel to introduce businesses to Zenpay.
It’s worth noting, by the way, that just like the overall concept, Zenpay isn’t exactly a very original name: there is already a U.S.-based startup called ZenPayroll that is set to launch in the near future. In addition, there is already at least one other European Square clone out there, too, though this one also hasn’t launched yet.