You've heard of Zynga – now meet Plinga, the latest clone from the Samwers

Plinga-logo[Germany] It must be great to be in the social games business. Apparently anyone can jump on the bandwagon, even latecomers and copycats. Following Electronic Arts’ $300 million acquisition of Playfish, a $43 million investment at Playdom and €5 million ($7.5m) additional funding for Wooga, comes the fourth investment in the last week: The Samwer brothers’ copy of social games giant Zynga, called… wait for it folks… Plinga. Sound familiar? The clone has been funded with an undisclosed amount. Now that’s what I call an investment spree.

Plinga’s new investor is quite old school. The 89 year old mail-order company Robert Klingel GmbH & Co. KG from Pforzheim took over 13 percent via a capital injection. As a vendor of choice for the 50+ generation, Klingel is especially famous for glossy paper catalogues with stunning lingerie models in pretty old-fashioned underwear (I’m told). But it has also run one of Germany’s biggest online shops for the last ten years.

Now Klingel has become the second biggest Plinga stakeholder, after the Samwers’ incubator Rocket Internet (63%).

Plinga's Fun Cards at Facebook

Plinga's Fun Cards at Facebook

The German GameBizz blog, that broke the story, sees social games investment as case of “dumb money”. In other words, an older, non-tech company can diversify its business together with an experienced incubator that breeds one internet startup after another.

Klingel’s timing looks good as the industry is shocked after the October bancruptcy of Europes’s once biggest mail-order retailer. German company Quelle had to lay off 7,000 people after 82 years in business. Under these circumstances social games companies, with yearly revenues of $250 million at Zynga alone, look much hotter than somewhat dated underwear catalogues.