We don’t know if Klarna’s decision to obtain a banking license played a role in Visa’s decision to invest an undisclosed amount in the Swedish payments innovator. But the announcement today that Visa has bought a small stake in Klarna is a big vote of confidence in the company’s apparent determination to diversify its business into other areas, such as card services.
For Visa, the Klarna investment is part of its strategy to open up its ecosystem and support companies that are innovating to make the payment experience more rewarding for consumers around the world. Visa EVP for Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, Jim McCarthy praised Klarna’s proven “expertise in consumer credit and online purchasing” and said the two companies “share a vision for how today’s online and mobile commerce experiences can be as simple as they are in the real world.” Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski called the partnership a “natural fit” and added that it would enable Klarna to bolster its “global presence and product portfolio.”
The funding for Klarna is the third investment in the company this year. Earlier this month, Klarna announced that Brightfolk, a firm held by Anders Holch Povlsen, owner of European fashion giant, BESTSELLER, had acquired a strategic stake in the company. The 10% equity investment was valued at $225 million given Klarna’s valuation of $2.25 billion. And in March, the company raised $5 million (KR46 million) from Nordic early-stage, venture capital firm Creandum. Klarna has raised more than $375 million in total funding.
Founded in 2005 in Stockholm, Sweden and now headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Klarna demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2012. The company serves more than 60 million customers and 70,000 retailers in Europe and North America. TechCrunch’s coverage of today’s Visa investment notes that as of 2016 Klarna was processing 400,000 transactions daily, and generated revenues of $318 million in 2015. TechCrunch also reports that Klarna’s transaction growth is up 50% year-over-year in 2016, and that 17,000 new merchants were added in the last quarter.
Visa demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2010. In 2014, the company’s Visa Developers Program presented The Future of Commerce, a look at how to connect with Visa’s networking using open APIs and SDKs, and led workshops on API-less web, Android SDK, and Apple Pay integration.