|Founder||Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Niklas Adalberth, Victor Jacobsson|
Number of locations
|Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States|
|Sebastian Siemiatkowski (CEO)|
Michael Moritz (Board member)
|Revenue||1,087 million USD (2020)|
|Total equity||5.5 billion USD (2020)|
Number of employees
|3500+ (July 2021)|
Klarna Bank AB, commonly referred to as Klarna, is a Swedish fintech company that provides online financial services such as payments for online storefronts and direct payments along with post-purchase payments.
The company has more than 3,500 employees, most of them working at the headquarters in Stockholm and Berlin. In 2019, the company handled about $35 billion in online sales. As of 2011, about 40% of all e-commerce sales in Sweden went through Klarna. In 2021, the company claimed to have $31 billion of valuation.
Klarna's core service is to provide payment solutions for the e-commerce industry, and it is designed to make payments simple and safe for buyers and sellers by managing store claims and customer payments.
The three founders Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Niklas Adalberth and Victor Jacobsson participated in the Stockholm School of Economics annual entrepreneurship award in 2005 with their idea on how to provide consumers and merchants with safer and simpler online shopping payment methods. However, their idea did not receive enthusiasm and their entry was among the last in the competition.
Despite this, they decided to found Klarna in mid-2005 and started operations in Sweden. An angel investor and previous Erlang Systems sales manager, Jane Walerud, invested in their company and put them in contact with a team of programmers to help them build the platform.
Klarna also started their operations in Germany and the Netherlands in 2010, and in May the same year, San Francisco-based Sequoia Capital entered as investors. During 2010, Klarna increased their revenues by over 80% to US$54 million (~400 million SEK). In the early 2011, British newspaper The Telegraph listed Klarna as one of Europe's 100 most promising young tech companies.
In 2011, growth equity firm General Atlantic led a $155 million investment round joined by DST Global, and General Atlantic's managing director Anton Levy joined the board of directors. In May 2011, Klarna acquired Israeli company Analyzd, which had business activity on markets in Europe, Israel and the United States. Analyzd specialise in risk management and online payments, and its founders previously worked for PayPal.
Klarna began offering services in Austria in 2012, and in 2013, Klarna and German SOFORT AG merged after Klarna acquired SOFORT Banking from the majority shareholder Reimann Investors, becoming Klarna Group. Both companies would continue to offer their products side by side and operate on a stand-alone basis.
In 2018, Klarna reported that it had more than 60 million users and some 90,000 online merchants have so far hired it to run their checkouts. Klarna launched in the United States in September 2015, and the US has become its principal focus for future growth. That year, Minister of Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg dubbed Klarna one of Sweden's "five unicorns", by which he meant startup companies that had succeeded in growing and attracting international investments. The other four companies were Spotify, Mojang, Skype, and King.
In 2019, Klarna raised $460 million with plans to expand payment presence in the US, with participation from Dragoneer Investment Group, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, HMI Capital, Merian Chysalis Investment Company Limited and others. This funding round valued the company at $5.5 billion, becoming the largest fintech start-up in Europe. In 2020, Klarna acquired Nuji.
In February 2021, Klarna launched bank accounts for a limited number of users in Germany. Customers get a full-fledged bank account with a German IBAN and a Visa debit card.
In the UK, Klarna operates in the rapidly growing post-payment sector which has been criticised for encouraging consumers to get themselves into unserviceable levels of debt. In February 2021, the UK Government announced that this sector would now be subject to regulation from the UK's Financial Conduct Authority.
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