Klarna was founded in Sweden in 2005 by Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Niklas Adalberth, and Victor Jacobbson in Stockholwm. They had one goal, making online payments more accessible, not only for customers but also for retailers. After two years, a venture capital firm, A.B. Oresund, gave the company 2.2 million in A round investments. From 2006 through 2008, Klarna expanded its markets to Norway, Finland, and Denmark. By 2010, the company was also in Germany and the Netherlands. It was during this time that Sequoia Capital also invested with the company. The company expanded again in 2012, this time to Austria. Klarna's first acquisition was Sofort in 2014, and they became the Klarna Group. After three additional years, they received their banking license becoming Klarna Bank AB. The company became a unicorn in 2019 when it raised 460 million dollars with a post-money valuation of 5.5 billion dollars, making it the highest-valued private fintech company in Europe. These are 20 facts you may not know about this company.
20. Fake it until you make it
When the three co-founders first started Klarna, they didn't have any financial experience. So, they set up numbers reminiscent of a switchboard to make potential investors believe they had one. Additionally, they printed business cards on expensive paper and were always dressed in suits. Even though they thought these things were important initially, they realized the mission behind Klarna was the real selling point.
19. Why a unicorn
There were a lot of uncertainties when Klarna entered the market. However, with their platform, they were able to establish trust between merchants and consumers. During the pandemic, their platform has grown. Additionally, they are continually evolving their offering to ensure that Klarna comes up with new ways to help their growing customer base as these platforms evolve.
Although the company was not highly regarded in countries like Sweden, Finland, or Germany, the company noticed Next, who successfully built a similar platform where customers bought clothes unseen. This was the crux of their idea, and they worked towards a better model despite people telling the co-founders it was a waste of time.
17. Popping Up
According to the industry.fashion, one of Klarna's marketing strategies was to set up a pop-up shop in London's Covent Garden.While there, they showcased a sampling of the things Klarna offers. However, instead of having customers pay for the items, they could use a Q.R. code to use Klarna's buy now pay later.
16. Not tech
A few things make Klarna stand out. The first is that initially, they positioned themselves as a finance company despite being a tech company. Now, they rely on algorithms and machine learning to allow their customers anytime access to their platform. According to TechCrunch, 1300 software engineers, almost half their staff.
15. Beyond the critics
Klarna's platform has been criticized by many people who think it's another way to get further into debt. However, Klarna looked at the larger pictures. There is some mistrust with online retail and e-commerce platforms. Customers are wondering if they are going to get the merchandise they ordered. This platform ensures that items will be received and secure for customers to use their credit cards.
14. Mistakes help you grow
In the beginning, an angel investor helped Klarna by referring them to a team of engineers. Unfortunately, none of the three co-founders could code, so there were multiple misunderstandings about what was happening with the platform. Because of the lack of experience, they thought the team would continue to work on the platform after it was built. After the initial launch, Siemiatkowski worked towards managing the forum even though he was unfamiliar with code.
13. Compare before you buy
In June 2021, Klarna added a new service to their app, comparison shopping. The goal was to help retailers in the United Kingdom reach a broader audience by recommending products to customers. According to ecommercenews.eu, this product is now in twenty-one markets. Additionally, it helps retail markets list their products with Google Product Listings Ads.
14. All inclusive
One of the things Klarna strives to accomplish is being a full-service retail app. In 2018, they launched its financing program for SME retailers in Europe, calling it Boost. Once again, this product was focused on supporting retailers and helping them accelerate their growth. The launch was to address the issue that smaller retailers needed more cash to help their business grow. Merchants can ask for a loan through the merchant portal or a connected partner platform. It eliminates long questionnaires and collateral agreements.
One of the company's vital retail sectors is fashion. They feel that it is an industry that helps customers by allowing them to purchase more pieces to try on and decide whether or not they want to purchase them. According to endlessgain.com, this strategy is working. One U.K. general manager commented that they also could buy different sizes is a huge incentive. In addition, since it's delivered, they can feel more comfortable trying things on in their own homes.
12. The first transaction
Some companies might not be as precise about the first transaction, but that company isn't Klarna. According to klarna.com, that purchase was on April 10, 2005, at 11:06:40. They were at a Swedish book store called Pocketklubben. It's was a critical moment which is why it's remembered so precisely. Once it was complete, they knew they needed to reshape the retail industry.
11. Last doesn't mean you lose
There was a competition at the Stockholm School of Economics, much like the reality show Shark Tank. It was the first time that the co-founders tried to market their idea. Unfortunately, it was a reaction they'd heard before; banks will never go for it. However, one person came up to Siemiatkowski after losing and urged him to proceed with the idea. This was the inspiration they needed, and shortly afterward, they started laying the foundation for the company.
10. Name change
The company went through several name changes before settling on Klarna. Initially, they called the company Kreditor after their original business model. However, once the company began to expand, they decided to search for something more catchy. They pulled the name Movondo, but after polling the name, it was not well received. Finally, an employee suggested Klarna, and it stuck. It was a good change because Klarna seems.
9. Rough stuff
In 2014, Klarna merged with a German payment company, SOFORT becoming the Klarna Group. However, the company began to receive negative pres because many invoices were not being paid on time. Instead of sinking the company, it inspired them to make changes. They opened more lines of communications and made additional improvements to the products on their platform. This was the year they made customer satisfaction their ultimate goal and eliminated all complaints.
One of the most successful Klarna advertising campaigns happened in 2019. The company not only partnered with Snoop Dogg, but he also became an investor. He even changed his name to Smooth Dogg as a tribute to the marketing campaign the company was launching. The U.S. version of the app launched with the slogan Shop like a Queen. According to CNBC.com, Klarna took the ad campaign one step further by presenting Snoop Dogg with his new moniker in a mock coronation ceremony. The rapper was excited about the partnership and said, "I think it's a match made in heaven." Although Snoop Dogg may not be the first rapper you think of with a bright pink logo, the contrast was eye-catching and helped Klarna establish itself in a pop culture world.
7. Know your market
One thing that makes Klarna so successful is that it appeals to a younger demographic. In addition, its ad campaigns portray fun ads that encourage an alternative to using credit cards. One person in the interview commented that she has more of an option to return the item if she doesn't like it. However, even though Klarna is not a traditional credit card, customers who default on their payments will face an impact on their credit score.
6. Latest Funding
After the last round of funding, it is estimated that Klarna is a $46 billion-dollar company, even though it declined to confirm these numbers. They added investors like Adit Ventures, Honeycomb Asset Management, and WestCap Group. With this latest round of funding, the company has increased its revenue by almost 50% from its last evaluation. These numbers have been steadily rising because their brand loyalty is on the rise. This is a company that benefited from the pandemic because it provides an essential service.
5. Use your social media
Klarna continued to appeal to a younger demographic recently. They launched retro-inspired A.R. games on Instagram. These games were inspired by the old 8bit style games and allowed their customers to compete for prizes. There were several games, each inspired by one of Klarna's top categories. One of the marketing CEOs commented on the value of campaigns like this, saying it is the pop culture trend that is all over social media. Klarna's logo and advertising work well on social media because it stands out. Customers gravitate towards it because it stands out from the crowd. Each marketing campaign encourages more customers and helps the company grow its brand.
4. Acquire and conquer
One of the things that Siemiatkowski is adamant about is the need for Klarna to continue to add companies to grow theirs. Recently, they acquired Los Gatos-based content services provider Toplook.ai. Additionally, they have other acquisitions, including Nunji, Close Brothers Retail Finance, Cookies App, and Spring Marketplace. The assets continually give the customers and retailers better experiences and help make Klarna even more popular. It's the commitment to customer service that is at the core of everything this company does and why it is continually expanding and growing.
3. Above average
One thing Klarna is passionate about is never settling for success. Since day one, their company has been a success, but they are always looking to find new ways to add to it and reach higher customer satisfaction levels. Currently, they are active in 17 markets across three continents and have almost 4000 employees with nearly a hundred nationalities, making everything about their company diverse. Every piece of their marketing campaign targets customers to join them instead of just using their services.
2. Disrupting Beauty
Style Beauty awards are prized, and influencers are always looking for new brands and to try. So Klarna decided to create its award to honor brands on its platform who are making a splash. Additionally, they are working with leading brands to help them increase their success.
1. Epic Smooth
Klarna received the Epic Brand Title in 2020. This is a Swedish Award is a study that analyzes 343 brands across 52 categories. When they polled customers, they gave the company high ratings in all categories. Klarna feels that its recipe of pop culture, humanity, and disruption has allowed this success type.
Although Klarna has been successful from the start, they've had pitfalls. Siemiatkowski was told numerous times his company would never succeed. The upside is he didn't listen and kept pushing. Klarna is an excellent example of how marketing and tenacity work well together. The expansion is staggering, and the company hasn't reached, nor does it seem they will ever be satisfied with their level of success. It's easy to say I'll try something else when you are met with a handful of no and many doubts, but companies like Klarna kept pushing toward success and kept learning through the mistakes. They have perfected the art of marketing by targeting the demographic most suited for their brand. Since day one, the company had revolutionized advertising when they went against the crowd and chose a bright pink logo instead of the traditional Fintech blue.
You can also read:
Written by Dominique Scappucci
Read more posts by Dominique Scappucci