12. July 2012–
The Samwers brothers' Berlin-based incubator Rocket Internet is working on a clone of US payment platform Stripe, sources say. This would mark Rocket's second foray into payment services, adding online payments alongside existing mobile payment abilities.
Stripe - payment services aimed at developers
Since June this year, Rocket Internet has, with Payleven, allowed users to pay for goods in the offline world using mobiles. If true, rumours of a Stripe clone put Rocket squarely in the space of pure online business payments. Rocket Internet CEO Alexander Kudlich declined to comment but it seems certain there's something in the works...
Stripe, based in San Francisco, processes credit card payments for websites. The sales pitch is simple: "We're making it easier to start accepting payments on the web." Stripe collects credit card information, processes payments and meets PCI (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards) requirements so users don't have to, which makes integration easy and keeping costs low. The company makes frequent reference to its love of developer-friendly code.
In exchange, Stripe takes a fee of 2.9 per cent plus 30 cents per successful transaction. Companies that use its services include, among many others, Foursquare, Twitpic, the Museum of Modern Art, and Fast Company.
Payment platforms - the internet's holy grail
Payment services are something like the Holy Grail of internet business models - complex and very competitive but, when the right trick is found and well- and widely-executed, seriously profitable. Nearly every internet startup requires some sort of online payment solution, especially those in the e-commerce sector.
Rocket Internet is well-known for its e-commerce empire, which spans Zalando (fashion) Home24 (furniture), various Amazon-style setups (electronic goods), Glossybox (beauty) and others wordwide. The Stripe clone would probably be used within the Rocket portfolio, though it seems likely that Rocket will deploy the clone for new and smaller companies rather than bring over major players such as Zalando (with all the associated effort and risk that would involve).
With mobile payments (PayLeven), online payments (new Stripe clone) and its various e-commerce fronts, Rocket seems to be aiming for more control over the entire process of buying online. Particularly with the emerge of more mobile apps, this is an exciting space for Rocket - and a logical next step.