Rocket Internet launches Payleven, a Square clone that has its sights set on Europe and Asia

startup paylevenThe infamous Samwer brothers are at it again and have introduced the world — or at least part of it — to their latest startup clone, Payleven, a mobile payment system available for iOS and Android. Some months back, rumors surfaced that their incubator, Rocket Internet, was working on creating its own version of Square, which it appears it exactly what this new venture is.

At the time, it was speculated to be called ZenPay. But now Payleven has launched and taken some very noteworthy funding with it. According to Deustche Startups, NEA (which invests in Lytro and was one of Groupon’s earliest backers), Ru-net, and Holtzbrink Ventures have all invested in Payleven, which is taking Square’s absence in Europe and running with it.

Payleven is already working with Amex, Eurocard, Mastercard, Diners’ Club, and Visa (in Brazil). Despite the promising start and the hole left by Square, Payleven has plenty of competition from other European mobile payment systems. StreetPay (which just launched in May) and Swedish iZettle have a significant head start, the latter of which is planning to expand to the rest of Europe in the near future.

While funding obviously matters, there are some other numbers that could mean more. Here’s a quick look at what Payleven needs to catch up to:

  • Square: $6 billion payments processed
  • iZettle: 50,000 merchants
  • Streetpay: First 50,000 businesses to sign up get free card readers (I reached out to Streetpay to ask about user numbers and payments processed and had not heard back as of press time); Update: Streetpay tells me that between 15 and 150 merchants register on the site every day and the company thinks it will have at least 25,000 merchants signed up in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria by the end of this year. Streetpay will hit start its Eastern Europe expansion within the next two months.

Still, Rocket Internet has generally been successful in either getting their clones acquired or spinning them into profitable Euro-versions of American startups.

Europe is only a jumping off point, however. Incubators have been eyeing the Asian startup climate lustily, and a business under the name of Payleven Singapore has already been registered there. Mobile commerce is experiencing a huge uptake in Singapore as well as the rest of the Asia — it’s projected to be a nearly $2.5 billion market by 2015.


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