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Founded2005; 16 years ago (2005)
FounderSebastian Siemiatkowski, Niklas Adalberth, Victor Jacobsson
HeadquartersStockholm, Sweden
Number of locations
Area served
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States
Key people
Sebastian Siemiatkowski (CEO)
Michael Moritz (Board member)
Revenue1,087 million USD (2020)
Total equity5.5 billion USD (2020)[citation needed]
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.[1] As of 2011, about 40% of all e-commerce sales in Sweden went through Klarna.[2] In 2021, the company claimed to have $31 billion of valuation.[3]

Business model[edit]

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.[4]


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.[5] 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.[6]

In the end of 2007, venture capital firm Investment AB Öresund invested in the company. Three years later, Klarna started selling their services in Norway, Finland and Denmark.

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).[7] In the early 2011, British newspaper The Telegraph listed Klarna as one of Europe's 100 most promising young tech companies.[8]

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.[9][10] 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.[7]

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.[11] Klarna launched in the United States in September 2015, and the US has become its principal focus for future growth.[1][12] 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.[13]

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.[14] This funding round valued the company at $5.5 billion, becoming the largest fintech start-up in Europe.[15] In 2020, Klarna acquired Nuji.[16]

In 2020, Ant Financial, the payment affiliate of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, invested in Klarna as part of a global partnership between the two firms.[17]

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.[18]

In June 2021, Klarna raised $639 million in a fundraising round led by SoftBank Group's Vision Fund 2, taking the company's valuation to $45.6 billion.[19]


Parts of Klarna's code base are written in Erlang, a programming language designed by Ericsson for highly parallel, scalable applications.[20]


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.[21] In February 2021, the UK Government announced that this sector would now be subject to regulation from the UK's Financial Conduct Authority.[22]


On May 27, 2021, Klarna exposed the accounts of its users randomly to any user. Klarna stated the problem was due to a severe technical issue.[23][24]


  1. ^ a b "Klarna annual report 2019" (PDF). Klarna. March 2020.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-08-07. Retrieved 2011-08-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Klarna confirms new $31B valuation". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2021-03-01.
  4. ^ "About us | Klarna US". www.klarna.com.
  5. ^ "The story of how a complete coincidence led to the creation of the $2 billion fintech startup Klarna". nordic.businessinsider.com. Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2016-12-18.
  6. ^ "Interview: from Burger King to boardroom, how Klarna became". www.whiteboardmag.com. Archived from the original on 2018-03-12. Retrieved 2016-12-18.
  7. ^ a b "Klarna acquires Analyzd to tie social to finance and payments". TechCrunch. AOL. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Start-Up 100: A-Z". Telegraph.co.uk. 5 April 2011. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  9. ^ Schonfeld, Erick. "European Payment Service Klarna Raises A Whopping $155 Million From DST And General Atlantic". TechCrunch. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Klarna Closes $155 Million Financing to Accelerate Global Expansion". General Atlantic website. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  11. ^ "Klarna Statistics - Klarna UK". Klarna UK. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  12. ^ "Klarna – About Us". Klarna. Retrieved 2016-03-15.
  13. ^ Olsson Jeffery, Miriam (24 April 2015). "Damberg om Sveriges fem enhörningar" [Damberg about Sweden's five unicorns]. www.svd.se. Svenska Dagbladet. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  14. ^ "Klarna raises $460 million, looks to expand its payments presence in the US". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  15. ^ Milne, Richard. "Klarna becomes most valuable EU fintech with $5.5bn valuation". Financial Times. Financial Times. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  16. ^ "Nuji | Designer Fashion & Homeware from the best online stores". Nuji. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  17. ^ Browne, Ryan (2020-03-04). "Chinese payments giant Ant Financial buys a stake in Swedish fintech start-up Klarna". CNBC. Retrieved 2020-12-11.
  18. ^ "Klarna launches bank accounts in Germany". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2021-02-15.
  19. ^ Milne, Richard. "SoftBank investment helps Klarna to $45.6bn valuation". Financial Times. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  20. ^ "Klarna Engineering Insights". Klarna Engineering. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  21. ^ "Klarna: 'buy now, pay later' system that is seducing millennials". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  22. ^ "Buy now, pay later firms such as Klarna face stricter controls". BBC News. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  23. ^ "Klarna mobile app bug let users log into other customers' accounts". BleepingComputer.
  24. ^ "Klarna comment: statement on app bug. | Klarna UK". www.klarna.com.

Further reading[edit]