GratisPay Announces Samwer Brothers, Holtzbrinck Funding, Social Gaming Focus

Germany-based GratisPay has established itself as an advertising offers company for massive multiplayer online games, like those on Bigpoint‘s portal. Now, it’s moving into social gaming, with the help of funding from prolific investors the Samwer brothers and venture capital firm Holtzbrinck Ventures.

GratisPay has global ambitions to provide offers for earning virtual goods, as co-founder Arne Bleckwenn explained to me by phone from Germany today — and that’s despite the company’s efforts to provide offers locally in European countries. It has developed local sales forces for five European languages: Beyond German and English, it includes Italian, Spanish, and French. For example, it has a local sales team in Italy, working with local advertiser who do not even have web sites in English, figuring out how these companies can introduce offers to Italian speakers in online games. Given the rapid growth of the European Facebook market to nearly 100 million monthly active users.

Overall, the company claims it reaches more than “150 million registered gamers” in 50 countries, including 80 million registered users on Bigpoint.

The company is also aiming for the US and other markets. It has experienced US employees, and is using its infrastructure and sales relationships with existing advertisers to offer lower prices than competitors. As part of that effort, it is offering application developers of any size 100% of the revenue generated from the first two weeks they try out its service.

And for those unfamiliar, the Samwer brothers have invested in Facebook itself and possibly Zynga but definitely stealth German social gaming company Plinga. With the GratisPay investment, they now have money bet on all parts of the social gaming ecosystem.

To dig deeper into the virtual goods market, check out our new report: Inside Virtual Goods: The US Virtual Goods Market 2009 – 2010.