Swedish fintech firm Klarna sees its valuation shoot to an enviable $45.6 billion following a $639-million funding round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund II, cementing Klarna’s position as the most valuable private fintech company in Europe.
The funding round also saw participation from existing investors Adit Ventures, Honeycomb Asset Management, and WestCap Group. Its other investors include Sequoia Capital, NorthZone, Dragoneer, Permira, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Ant Group, and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC.
Led by Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Klarna allows customers to make purchases online through its merchant partners, and settle their dues in installments via its “Buy Now, Pay Later” (BNPL) service. It has become one of the most prominent names in the global BNPL sector with over 90 million global active users, processing over 2 million transactions a day.
Klarna has grown by leaps and bounds since the past year – it was valued at $31 billion in early March and just over $10.6 billion in September 2020. Undoubtedly this must be linked with the great surge of the company’s growth in the United States (more than 18 million consumers in the US have used Klarna over the past year, and it is now at 24th place of the top 100 US retailers.) The company now plans to use the proceeds from the funding round to continue its growth both in the US and on a global scale, mainly through acquisitions and acqui-hires.
“Klarna’s growth is founded on a deep understanding of how the purchasing behaviors of consumers are changing, an evolution which we believe is accelerating,” said Yanni Pipilis, managing partner for SoftBank Investment Advisers. The pandemic, which has highlighted the requirement to go online, is one of the factors behind Klarna’s strong growth since 2020. It processed $53 billion in volume last year and over $18 billion in volume in Q1 2021 itself (March 2021 alone accounted for $6.9 billion of purchases), well ahead of its rivals.
It may have taken the fintech firm nearly eight years to reach the coveted unicorn status, but it has proceeded at an astonishing pace reach the vicinity of $50 billion. The company, which entered six new markets this year (including New Zealand and France) and is planning to expand into a number of new markets this year, has nearly 4, 000 employees several hundred in the U.S. in markets such as New York and Los Angeles, along with offices in Stockholm, London, Manchester, Berlin, Madrid, and Amsterdam.