Klarna is Among Europe’s Fastest Growing Companies
July 8, 2015 Leave a comment
After generating revenues of more that $319 million in 2014, Klarna is quickly becoming one of Europe’s fastest growing companies—but it didn’t always start out that way. The Financial Times recently profiled the company, which was started by two young, relatively inexperienced, entrepreneurial-minded Swedes who wanted to find a way to innovate the online retail industry.
Writes David Crouch for FT.com, “When two Swedish teenagers’ luck ran out and they had to sleep rough while hitchhiking in the US, they had no idea their shared hardships were forging a friendship that would launch an ecommerce company that is taking on the world.” Niklas Adalberth and Sebastian Siemiatkowski launched Klarna in 2005 with the vision of revolutionizing the way that people shop online in Sweden and beyond. Their hitchhiking experience years before bonded them as business partners, and their desire to forge ahead despite their inexperience with digital commerce is what laid the foundation for a company that helped retailers sell more than $9 billion worth of goods last year.
“Klarna was founded in Stockholm in 2005 with the idea to simplify buying. Today we’re one of Europe’s fastest growing companies,” explains the company. Today, Klarna employs 1,200 people and is active on 18 markets. Its leadership includes founders Adalberth and Siemiatkowski, as well as their friend and third co-founder Victor Jacobsson, Anton Levy of global growth equity firm General Atlantic, and Jon Kamaluddin, the former CFO of online retailer ASOS, among other financial experts.
The powerhouse team that runs Klarna in 2015 is a far cry from its early days a decade ago, when hardly anyone wanted to take Adalberth and Siemiatkowski seriously. “We were three 23-year-old kids with no finance and no experience beyond flipping burgers,” explains Adalberth of their humble beginnings. “But afterwards, one entrepreneur came up and said: ‘Don’t listen to the old people.’ That was very important, it gave us some spirit.”
The three young entrepreneurs took this advice and ran with it, which would prove to pay off tremendously. Crouch calls Klarna a “unicorn,” a term that refers to “a tech start-up valued at more than $1 billion,” and also notes that it’s one of the few in Europe to achieve that title. Indeed, Klarna is one of Europe’s fastest growing companies, and if 2014’s success is any indication, it seems that the company is only going to continue to thrive.