D.he Swedish payment service provider Klarna has won the Japanese holding company Softbank as a new major investor, making it one of the highest rated financial technology providers (fintechs) in the world. As the two companies announced on Thursday, Softbank is participating with some other investors in a financing round with 639 million dollars in the fintech from Stockholm.
Klarna is now worth around 46 billion dollars on paper. According to information from industry services, only the American provider Stripe currently has an even higher valuation of around 95 billion dollars among the fintechs from the west. “I am very proud that our investors support Klarna’s ambitions,” said Sebastian Siemiatkowski, who founded Klarna in 2005 together with two partners.
Siemiatkowski is a son of Polish immigrants; To this day, he is the managing director of the now so highly rated fintech Klarna. In the beginning there was the idea of automatically calculating the creditworthiness of online shoppers and relieving Internet retailers of the risk of default when making purchases on account for a fee. From this a company has developed whose various services for everything to do with buying and selling are now used by around 90 million consumers and 250,000 dealers, including large corporations such as Deutsche Bahn, the fashion company Zara and the electronics chain Saturn-MediaMarkt. Klarna has become a serious rival of PayPal, the top dog among online payment services.
The next generation
“Klarna’s growth is based on a deep understanding of how consumer buying behavior is changing – a development that will only intensify,” said Softbank manager Yanni Pipilis on Thursday about the new financing round. Klarna will be supported in bringing the next generation of financial services onto the market.
The most important source of income for the company so far has been dealer fees. With private customers, the Swedes score with the clarity and ease of use of their offers, which make it possible to pay with just a few clicks on the computer or swipe on the smartphone screen. On the other hand, there are complaints from individual customers about excessive dunning fees and the poor availability of the company. In Sweden, the responsible authority is currently investigating how trustworthy Klarna treats its customers’ data. In terms of its external appearance, the group is emphatically unconventional: the brand color is pink, and one of the advertising partners is the American rapper Snoop Dogg, who has drug offenses, illegal possession of weapons and rioting on the kerbwood.
In Germany, Klarna (the company name means something like “clear, make clear” in Swedish) suddenly became one of the largest providers for processing online purchases a few years ago through the takeover of the Bavarian payment service provider Sofort, including the catchy brand name Sofortüberweisung. Klarna has had a Swedish banking license since 2017, which is valid throughout the European Union. As an internet bank, the company now also offers fixed-term and current accounts, a credit card and its own app that many retailers accept for payment in their shops.