Ken Villum Klausen is the founder and CEO of Lunar, a fintech start-up that’s revolutionizing banking in the Nordic region. After deciding that traditional banking models are failing to meet the needs of millennial customers, Klausen set about creating a simplified, intuitive app designed to handle every financial need a customer can have, from payments and savings to budging and investments. Seven years later, Lunar has over 400,000 customers and is growing bigger by the day. Find out more about the entrepreneur with these 10 things you didn’t know about Ken Villum Klausen.
1. He began his career at Bestseller
After leaving business college, Klausen joined Bestseller, a Danish-based clothing company responsible for brands such as ONLY, Vera Moda, Jack and Jones, and Jacqueline de Yong. Klausen began his career with the company as a sales representative in 2003; over the following five years, he gradually worked his way up the ladder, spending stints as both brand manager and international manager before departing the company for fresh pastures in July 2008.
2. He’s a serial entrepreneur
Lunar might be Klausen’s latest and most high-profile venture, but it’s far from his first rodeo. He founded his first company (a webshop that sold tracking devices) at the age of 18 with a couple of friends from business school. His next project was Foursome Int, which he established in 2008 shortly after leaving Bestseller. In 2012, he struck again, this time with Wallmob, a fintech focused on the supply of cloud-based, wireless Point of Sale (POS) solutions to retail commerce stores and businesses. In 2014, Klausen orchestrated its sale to Visma in what became the second-largest software acquisition of the year after the buyout of Concur Technologies by SAP SE for $8.3 billion.
3. He’s award-winning
Although Klausen had already enjoyed huge success prior to funding Lunar, it’s Lunar that’s put him firmly on the map… especially when it comes to judging panels. Since founding the neo bank in 2015, Klausen has been honored with numerous titles and awards, including the designation of Founder of the Year 2019 by Nordic Startup Awards and selection to the Berlingske Business Talent 100 in 2017.
4. He’s following in his parent’s footsteps
When Klausen was a kid, both his mother and father were self-employed. He’s described his parents as having an opportunistic approach, switching from textile to real estate and taking advantage of any area in which they saw potential. It’s an approach he’s adopted himself – while he may be heavily invested in banking at the moment, he’s admitted that in the next 8 or 9 years, he’ll probably be looking for a new venture to get involved in.
5. He thinks entrepreneurs should gain working experience first
Klausen may have started his first business at the age of 18 without any prior working experience, but the business was less of an attempt to become a major success and more of a way of giving him and his friends something to do while they were at business school. In general, he believes that it’s better for people to gain experience in business before launching their own company. “Obviously, if you have a magical idea, a good team around you and the planets are in a straight line, then it’s just to ride on. But there’s something right about going out and getting experience first,” he’s said to imadoer.dk.
6. He’s not always been successful
Klausen may have launched his first company while still at college, but at that point, it was more of a fun enterprise than a serious attempt at doing business. The first company he launched as an adult was the clothing company Foursome Int. By that point, he’d acquired five years of business experience at Bestseller and believed he knew what it took to become a success in the sector. He might have done, but unfortunately, he had the misfortune of launching just as the Global Financial Crisis of the late 2000s struck. In 2010, the company was declared bankrupt.
7. He founded Lunar in 2015
After successfully selling Wallmob to Visma in 2014, Klausen began searching for ideas for his next venture. The result was Lunar, a nordic fintech that’s facing off against traditional banks with its simplified, streamlined approach to banking. Rather than build a complicated network pf physical branches, customer service hotlines, and online banking services, Lunar has developed a simple, easy-to-use app through which customers can manage all of their financial needs.
8. He’s turned Lunar into a billion-dollar company
It may be less than seven years old, but under Klausen’s direction, Lunar is already one of the most successful fintechs in Europe. In July 2021, the company raised €210m in a Series D round of funding, pushing its valuation to over $1 billion and making it a member of the coveted unicorn club. According to Crunchbase, Lunar has now raised over $448 million in total, with its most recent funding round in March 2022 closing at $77 million.
9. He thinks talking out ideas is the key to success
If Klausen could offer one piece of advice to wannabe entrepreneurs, it would be to sound out their ideas with as many people as possible. “Flip the idea with as many as possible. Get it validated. Find someone who will make it with you – possibly some with a little experience that you can spar with. I myself have felt that it is a good idea to share with someone who has some experience and knows the first steps,” he’s said.
10. He’s attracting investment from all quarters
Since Klausen launched Lunar in 2015, he’s attracted numerous large-scale investors, including IDC Ventures, Tencent, Heartland, and Kinnevik AB. The latest investor to jump on board is Elf and Anchorman star, Will Ferrell, who’s not only sunk funds into the company, but who’s put his mouth where his money is by appearing in a commercial for them. Speaking about his decision to join Lunar’s board of investors, Ferrell has said: “I am excited to take part in Lunar’s mission to give consumers and businesses more power from their money. Nordic people are smart, sexy and are tired of having their money messed with. That’s where Lunar comes into play as a digital disrupter in the financial industry.”