Everyone has a different story on how they became an entrepreneur. Niklas Adalberth, founder & Deputy CEO of Klarna began his career in a somewhat interesting fashion. Thanks to his Photoshop skills, as a youngester he was able to start a successful ID forgery business which allowed teenagers access to tobacco and alcohol. Of course this is not something he is particularly proud of, but it did teach him a lot: starting a business is fun, not very hard and everyone can do it. Of course it also taught him that it is never worth being on the wrong side of the law. Here is a video of the whole story:
No one gets into the online payments industry because it's easy. But Niklas Adalberth founded Stockholm-based Klarna in 2005 together with his fellow students Sebastian Siemiatkowski and Victor Jacobsson. Their idea was to provide a frictionless payment solution that would allow buyers and sellers to interact with each other as safely and simply as possible.
In the meantime, Klarna has grown into a multinational with more than 700 dedicated employees. In December 2011, the company received $155M of financing from DST Global and General Atlantic to fuel its rapid growth and expand to new markets.
We are proud to have Adalberth as a speaker at our Arctic15 conference this October. To give you a little more background before you see him on stage, here's a short interview:
Our second ArcticEvening of the year will be held in Stockholm on the 29th of March. The theme of the event will be the future of commerce and to make it all the more exciting, we have three fantastic Swedish companies at the event to share their views. We'll be having a panel discussion with Klarna, Wrapp and iZettle to talk about how they see the commerce changing and evolving through technology, but also how consumers are changing their behaviour.
Klarna, the Sweden-based European e-commerce payments solution announced today that it has received $155 million in financing. This new round came from DST Global and General Atlantic, and was supported by Sequoia Capita, who invested in the company in 2010. Already today, Klarna handles over $2.5 billion worth of transactions annually for its 14.000 connected merchants in in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands. The company announced it will use this funding to hire more talent and expand to more regions.
Quora has become a great source of information for entrepreneurs, and pretty much anyone interested in a specific topic. In short, Quora is a well executed question and answer service that is currently in beta. WIth this, they've been able to choose who they want to let in while this in turn has helped them keep the quality of the answers very high. Another interesting aspect of the service that startups should take notice of, is the people they've managed to get on board. You can find lots of famous startup CEOs there answering questions and helping people understand more about their companies. Enough about Quora though. There was an interesting question in Quora regarding which Nordic companies make more than $10 million annually and Saul Klein had answered it. He answered a similar question about companies based in London that interested a lot of people, so it's definitely interesting to look into this as well.
An interesting development: TechCrunch reported that a Swedish startup Klarna (formerly Kreditor), one of the biggest providers in Europe of in-store credit and invoice based payment solutions for the e-commerce sector, has secured funding from Sequoia Capital. What's interesting here is that the superstar VC Mike Moritz, who invested in Google among others, has joined Klarna's board.
Why this is interesting is because the general belief is that US VCs are very rarely interested in investing in European companies, and it's even rarer to see a big name US VC to join a Euro startup board. Just in our previous story our guest blogger, Marita Seulamo-Vargas, reported how the US VCs had advised Nordic and Baltic companies to seek investments primarily from home.