Finovate Global France: Lydia Launches New Digital Brand, RockFi Raises Millions, Meet Finovate’s French Alums

Finovate Global France: Lydia Launches New Digital Brand, RockFi Raises Millions, Meet Finovate’s French Alums

This week, Finovate Global looks at recent fintech developments in France.


French start-up Lydia announced the launch of a new digital banking brand this week. Named Sumeria, Lydia plans to invest more than €100 million in the new initiative, as well as hire 400 people over the next three years. Sumeria, according to a post on LinkedIn, offers 4% interest and is designed to be a “simple and accessible banking super app.

“We are convinced that technology (cloud, mobile) is not an end in itself, but a way to simplify life, through everyday details,” the company noted in a statement on its website. Arguing that current accounts should be neither “trendy gadgets” nor make users captive to a given app, system, or institution, the company explained: “It should solve a real problem. This is why Lydia’s choices, with Sumeria, are motivated by common sense and its ambition to be universal: for everyone, for everything.”

Lydia’s brand announcement follows a decision by the company to split its digital banking app into two components. Originally launched in 2013 as a P2P payments app, Lydia’s solution scaled, adding more and more financial services features over the years. It was the launch of its Lydia Accounts offering convinced the company that a change was necessary to keep its early adopters – who relied heavily on the P2P service – onboard. The result was to offer the P2P services separately from Lydia’s digital banking proposition through the Lydia Accounts app. The original Lydia app will become Sumeria, with the new features mentioned above – such as stock trading, savings accounts and loans – to be ported to the new banking brand.

Headquartered in Paris, Lydia has raised more than $259 million in funding. The company’s investors include Accel and Echo Street Capital. In addition to the launch of Sumeria, Lydia is also seeking a credit institution license from the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority.


Paris, France-based private wealth management startup RockFi raised €3 million in funding this week. The round was led by Varsity I and featured the participation of numerous business angels in technology and private management. The company plans to use the capital to grow its workforce by 3x by the end of 2024 so as to provide private banking and wealth management expertise to clients throughout France.

“Since the beginning of the year, we have seen strong client traction eager for a new model to manage their wealth,” RockFi Co-Founder and CEO Pierre Marin said. “With a market of €4.8 trillion in assets ahead of us and no tech leader yet in France and Europe, our ambition is very high for the coming years.”

RockFi’s model combines human expertise and technology to offer services including banking, wealth management, life insurance, and pension savings. The firm has a targetable clientele with assets of more than €100,000, representing six million households in France.

“Three months after our official launch this is an important step that anchors a strong momentum and allows us to further accelerate the construction of the new private management,” the company wrote on its LinkedIn page this week. “The ambition remains: to surround ourselves with the best talent and partners in each field and to deploy a tech ecosystem to unleash the potential of independent wealth managers at the service of their clients.”


Meet Finovate’s French Alums!

Over the years, Finovate has been proud to showcase a number of fintech innovators based in France. Here’s a look at some of French fintechs that have demoed their technology on the Finovate stage in recent years.

Dotfile – FinovateEurope 2024 – demo

ShareID – FinovateEurope 2024 – demo

Numeral – FinovateEurope 2023 – demo

SESAMm – FinovateEurope 2023 – demo

Thread – FinovateEurope 2021 – demo

BLECKWEN – FinovateEurope 2020 – demo

Worldline – FinovateEurope 2017 – demo

Ledger – FinovateEurope 2016 – demo


Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • German B2B payments provider Billie forged a strategic pan-European collaboration with BNP Paribas.
  • Klarna expanded its Pay in 3 service to Slovakia.
  • U.K.-based business financial platform Tide launched in Germany this week.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Emirates NBD and Pine Labs announced a collaboration to bring new payment solutions to businesses in the region.
  • A partnership between NymCard and Dellsons Associates will help bring embedded finance solutions to businesses in the Middle East and Pakistan.
  • Israel-based fintech Kima teamed up with Mastercard’s FinSec Innovation Lab to explore use cases for a “defi credit card.”

Central and Southern Asia

  • Indian digital payments company PhonePe partnered with LankaPay to bring UPI payment acceptance to Sri Lanka.
  • Kazakhstan announced the availability to 10+ new CBDC card services since the launch of its digital tenge.
  • U.K.-based startup Fintech Farm raised $32 million in funding to fuel its expansion to India.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • TransNetwork acquired Inswitch to bring cross-border digital payments options to Latin America.
  • Mexico-based BNPL platform Aplazo raised $70 million in new funding.
  • Uruguayan cross-border payments platform dLocal announced the expansion of its partnership with Deel.

Asia-Pacific

  • Backbase, digital enabler SmartOSC, and Vietnam-based OCB partnered to launch the OCB OMNI 4.0 app to enhance digital banking in Vietnam.
  • Philippines-based fintech Skyro teamed up with identity verification company ADVANCE.AI.
  • Hong Kong’s Faster Payment System (FPS) is facilitating the use of e-CNY wallets, launched this week.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Mastercard partnered with the Cooperative Bank of Oromia to improve financial inclusion in Ethiopia.
  • Payment processing solutions company PayRetailers went live in Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
  • The Financial Times recognized Africa’s Moniepoint as the fastest growing fintech in the region.

Photo by Martijn Adegeest

Almost 90% of Klarna Staff Use Kiki The Company’s Internal AI

Almost 90% of Klarna Staff Use Kiki The Company’s Internal AI
  • Klarna announced that 87% of its staff use its Generative AI engine, Kiki in their daily work activities.
  • Kiki was launched in June 2023 and uses OpenAI’s Large Language Models.
  • Kiki generates responses within one to five seconds and offers answers that are dependent on the user’s role and other context.

Global payments network and shopping platform Klarna announced today that 87% of its staff use Generative AI to complete their daily work activities. The employees are using Kiki, Klarna’s internal AI assistant.

Klarna launched Kiki in June of 2023, leveraging OpenAI’s Large Language Models (LLMs). Since it was released, Kiki has responded to more than 250,000 inquiries, which equates to roughly 2,000 inquiries per day. Today, more than 85% of all Klarna employees use Kiki. 

“We push everyone to test, test, test and explore,” said Klarna CEO and Co-founder Sebastian Siemiatkowski. “As Klarna continues to discover applications for OpenAI’s tech, there’s the potential to take the business to new heights. We’re aimed at achieving a new level of employee empowerment, enhancing both our team’s performance and the customer experience.”

Overall, Kiki helps manage and distribute internal knowledge at Klarna, which helps to maintain a transparent culture. The AI assistant, which generates responses within one to five seconds, offers answers that are dependent on the user’s role and other context.

How do Klarna staff use Kiki? Employees can use the AI assistant to not only fetch information, but also to solve issues independently. For example, the company’s communications team uses the engine to evaluate whether press articles written about Klarna are positive or negative. The company’s lawyers use the tool to draft common types of contracts. “The big law firms have had a really great business just from providing templates for common types of contract. But ChatGPT is even better than a template because you can create something quite bespoke,” said Klarna Senior Managing Legal Counsel Selma Bogren.

Klarna also uses GenAI for external customer communications. The company states that, after one month, the AI customer service assistant handled 2.3 million conversations, equivalent to two-thirds of Klarna’s customer service chats.

The announcement comes as OpenAI, which powers Kiki, unveiled GPT-4o, the latest iteration of its GenAI chatbot. The new version is faster, has improved its non-English language text, and accepts input of any combination of text, audio, and images, while generating any combination of text, audio, and image outputs. “Because GPT-4o is our first model combining all of these modalities, we are still just scratching the surface of exploring what the model can do and its limitations,” states OpenAI’s announcement page.


Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

Fintech Rundown: A Rapid Review of Weekly News

Fintech Rundown: A Rapid Review of Weekly News

Happy Earth Day! Partnerships in payments and fundraising in the international investment/wealth management space are dominating fintech news headlines as the week begins.

Digital banking

Temenos announces appointment of new Chief Executive Officer Jean-Pierre Brulard, effective May 1, 2024.

Caribbean Bank Limited partners with Finastra to modernize its core technology and upgrade its back office operations.

Zafin appoints Charbel Safadi to replace Al Karim as CEO.

Open banking

Open banking firm Fintech Galaxy collaborates with Singapore-based FinbotsAI to launch new credit profiling capabilities.

Bill-sharing app Splitwise teams up with open banking platform Tink to bring Pay by Bank to Splitwise customers.

Banking-as-a-Service

BaaS innovator Finzly partners with EverBank to enhance the firm’s payment processing system.

Crypto

eToro teams up with 21Shares to launch a new, “data-driven,” crypto portfolio, 21Shares-Flows.

Payments

Ad-subsidized payments network (ASPN) Zilch extends its collaboration with Amazon Web Services.

Payments and financial platform for businesses Airwallex launched its payment acceptance solution in the U.S.

Klarna forges global partnership with Uber, bringing its Pay Now option to the company’s ride-sharing and delivery platforms.

Brite Payments goes live in Germany with its Instant Payments solution.

Business payments specialist Bottomline forges strategic partnership with spend management company Coupa.

TabaPay to acquire the assets of BaaS provider Synapse Financial Technologies.

Real-time, cross border payments company Nium introduces new Chief Payments Officer, Alexandra Johnson.

Versapay appoints Ed Neumann as Chief Financial Officer.

UAE-based Careem Pay expands its international remittance services in the U.K. to include its Faster Payments offering.

GoCardless and Intuit QuickBooks integrate to allow U.S. QuickBook users to use ACH-Pull for account-to-account payments.

Thunes agrees to acquire Tilia. Tilia will be rebranded as Thunes and will remain based in San Francisco.

Klarna expands global partnership with Expedia to offer BNPL payment option for flights and hotel stay purchases.

Sopra Banking Software and Paymentology partner to deliver card issuing services within its SBP Digital Core platform.

Visa and Standard Chartered partner on cross-border payments.

Regtech

U.K.-based digital compliance and AML solutions provider SmartSearch appoints Phil Cotter as CEO.

Investing and Wealth Management

Wealth management platform TIFIN introduces new Chief Operating Officer of its TIFIN AG platform Jeannette Kuda.

Goldman Sachs announces deal to sell its Marcus Invest digital investing accounts to Betterment.

Istanbul, Turkey-based investment app Midas secures $45 million in new funding.

Kinsted Wealth partners with software provider Objectway for its investment management platform.

Cairo, Egypt’s Bokra raises $4.6 million in pre-seed funding for its platform that offers investment products via asset backed securities.

Lending and Credit

U.K. property lender Together partners with nCino to enhance its lending operations.

BMO unveils its Greener Future Financing program to help SMEs in the U.S. build climate-resilient operations.

Pomelo lands $20 million in Seed funding and a $50 million warehouse facility for its tool that combines credit and international money transfer.

Figure Technology Solutions appoints Michael Tannenbaum as Chief Executive Officer.

E-commerce

Subscription management and billing platform Recurly introduces new dashboards with built-in benchmarks.

Klarna sells Hero, the virtual shopping platform it acquired in 2021, for $1.3 million (€1.3 million).

Splitit unveils FI-PayLater to empower banks to provide in-checkout installments for existing customers.

Identity verification

Financial crime risk data and fraud detection technology company ComplyAdvantage acquires knowledge graph builder Golden.

AU10TIX announces $18 billion in business fraud prevented since 2021.

Small Business Tools

Basware introduces AP Protect, an AI-powered solution that empowers finance teams to protect their organizations against profit loss, invoice errors, and fraud. 

Marqeta partners with OakNorth to offer commercial cards in the U.K.

Payroll

Rippling raises $200 million in new financing with $13.5 billion valuation.


Photo by Valentin Antonucci

Klarna Launches New Subscription Service– Is It Worth It?

Klarna Launches New Subscription Service– Is It Worth It?
  • Klarna launched Klarna Plus, a subscription tool that offers users premium benefits and access to exclusive offers.
  • For $7.99, users receive extra rewards points, a waived service fee for purchases made at retailers that are not in the fintech’s network, and exclusive discounts at retailers.
  • Klarna counts 150 million active users who make two million transactions every day using its platform.

The subscription economy has been gaining steam since Netflix was founded in 1997. With news this week that buy now, pay later (BNPL) player Klarna is jumping on board, it is apparent the subscription trend is not dying out any time soon.

Yesterday, the fintech unveiled Klarna Plus, the company’s subscription service for its U.S. users. For $7.99 per month, users receive premium benefits that offer Klarna shoppers access to a variety of offers and deals.

“Today marks an exciting milestone for Klarna with the introduction of our first-ever premium subscription service, Klarna Plus,” said Klarna Chief Marketing Officer David Sandstrom. “Our research indicates that dedicated Klarna users are looking for an enhanced shopping experience through a subscription model. Klarna Plus addresses this demand, allowing us to deepen our engagement with 37 million loyal U.S. consumers, while also further diversifying a portfolio of payment and shopping solutions.”

What do users receive for $7.99?

  • Rewards points
    Users accrue two rewards points for every $1 spent on purchases with Klarna Rewards Club. This is double the 1 point for every $1 spent that rewards club members traditionally receive.
  • Waived service fees
    The service fees that users incur at retailers outside of Klarna’s network are waived when they pay using their Klarna One Time Card.
  • Exclusive deals
    Users gain access to special discounts at retailers including Nike COACH, Macy’s, Instacart, and GOAT.
  • Sign-up offer
    Users receive $8 off their first Klarna Plus purchase.

Like all subscriptions, this one is only worth the price tag if the user actually uses the service. Here’s a breakdown of each incentive:

  • Rewards points
    The rewards points are valued at $0.02, and they can only be exchanged for gift cards at a limited number of brands, including Starbucks, Sephora, Foot Locker, and Uber. Receiving an extra point per dollar under Klarna Plus would require spending around $400 each month to make up for the $7.99 monthly fee.
  • Waived service fee
    As far as having the service fee waived, Klarna users face a $1 to $2 transaction fee when they make purchases outside of Klarna’s retailer network. This means users would need to transact at these outside retailers anywhere from four to seven times each month to make the monthly fee worth the cost.
  • Exclusive deals
    It is difficult to place a dollar number on the value of exclusive deals, since people have varying relationships with high-profile brands such as Nike and COACH. That said, this benefit may be the most effective in attracting users. Loyalty program members will receive monthly deals valued at $6 at five selected stores for a maximum benefit of $30 per month.
  • Sign-up offer
    For users who are not brand-forward, the more thrifty shoppers may be drawn in by Klarna’s $8 coupon. It is essentially allowing them to trial their first month for free.

Klarna has built up its shopping marketplace to compete with that of Amazon. The company works with more than half a million retail partners who list goods across a range of categories, including health, clothing, toys, beauty, photography, and more. Klarna counts 150 million shoppers– 40 million of which are U.S. based– who make two million transactions using its platform each day.

Klarna was founded in 2005 and has been transforming itself from strictly a BNPL company into a shopping ecosystem with goods from more than 500,000 retailers across the globe. Last year, the Sweden-based company extended its partnership with Adyen, announcing that it will leverage Adyen’s acquiring capabilities to power card payments for its end users.


Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Adyen Partners with Klarna as Acquiring Bank

Adyen Partners with Klarna as Acquiring Bank
  • Adyen and Klarna are extending their partnership, with Adyen agreeing to serve as the acquiring bank for Klarna.
  • The two fintechs first partnered ten years ago, when Adyen started offering Klarna’s buy now, pay later technology to its customers.
  • Klarna has evolved from BNPL into a shopping marketplace and currently hosts 500,000 merchants on its platform marketing to 150 million shoppers who transact two million times each day.

Netherlands-based fintech platform Adyen and Sweden-based ecommerce solutions provider and shopping platform Klarna are doubling down on their partnership. The two announced this week that Klarna will leverage Adyen’s acquiring capabilities to power card payments for its 150 million consumers and 500,000 retail partners across the globe.

The fintechs’ initial partnership dates back ten years, when Adyen began offering Klarna’s buy now, pay later (BNPL) technology to its customers. The new acquiring bank agreement will begin in Europe, North America, and Asia in 2024.

“Klarna has, in many ways, revolutionized the digital shopping experience,” said Adyen Co-founder and Co-CEO Pieter van der Does. “I am proud to say we are now joining forces in a partnership set out to simplify payments and shopping in our respective areas of expertise. Adyen’s financial technology platform combined with Klarna’s various consumer offerings will raise the standard of payments and consumer experiences worldwide.”

Adyen was founded in 2006 and offers payment acceptance, embedded payments, virtual card capabilities, authentication, risk management, insights, and more. Among the company’s corporate clients are Meta, Uber, H&M, eBay, and Microsoft.

“Adyen, a world-class financial technology platform for businesses with global ambitions, aligns seamlessly with Klarna’s role as the preferred payments network and shopping assistant for consumers and retailers worldwide,” said Klarna Co-founder and CEO Sebastian Siematkowski. “In our journey towards strengthening our global commerce offerings, Adyen will play an integral role as our trusted partner.”

Originally launched as a BNPL technology provider, Klarna has evolved into a shopping marketplace similar to Amazon or Walmart. The company works with more than half a million retail partners who list goods across a range of categories. Klarna counts 150 million shoppers– 40 million of which are U.S. based– who make two million transactions on its platform each day.

Earlier this year, Klarna teamed up with Open AI to leverage ChatGPT to help enhance the shopping experience to power a product recommendation engine. Klarna was founded in 2005 and is now live in 45 countries.

Finovate Global Germany: Sustainable Investing for Families and Embedded Lending for SMEs

Finovate Global Germany: Sustainable Investing for Families and Embedded Lending for SMEs

This week’s edition of Finovate Global takes a look at recent fintech developments in Germany.

German fintech Bling launched its SavingsTrees solution this week. The new offering helps German families invest sustainably starting with as little as €1 a month. The solution is offered in partnership with wealthtech Evergreen, and represents an evolution in Bling’s product line, expanding from its origins as a family money management educational app and prepaid card.

“Simplicity and sustainability were paramount in the development of our investment offering,” Bling CEO and co-founder Nils Feigenwinter explained. “We prioritize families in our product development to offer a tailored solution that meets their needs. Everyone underestimates the market potential of families, which is why banks have neglected this area for decades. With Bling, we are addressing this.”

Cost savings was one of the reasons why Bling reached out to Evergreen. Cost is also one of the main reasons why more than 80% of German parents do not invest in the country’s capital markets, according to Bling. The complexity of investing and a lack of knowledge about investment products also have contributed to this lack of participation. To this end, Bling leverages visualizations and explanations from finance experts to make the investment process easier to understand.

Funds invested in SavingsTrees are globally diversified and are allocated specifically to sustainable investments. Direct investments in sustainable projects and companies, are available, as are investments in funds that support sustainability initiatives.

Read more about Bling in this TechCrunch profile from December.


Banxware, an embedded lending technology provider headquartered in Germany, has teamed up with Netherlands-based Rabobank to help SMEs secure the financing they need in order to grow. Rabobank will take advantage of Banxware’s embedded lending solution, which enables businesses to apply for short-term financing in as little as 15 minutes. After approval, funds can be available in the borrower’s account within 24 hours.

“This partnership brings Embedded Financing products tailored to the need of SMEs to popular business platforms,” Banxware CEO Miriam Wohlfarth said. “Together with Rabobank we now provide the full financing supply chain, including funds and end-to-end loan management to bridge cash flow shortfalls before they become an issue.”

The deployment will let business founders and owners apply for financing in familiar, everyday digital environments such as e-commerce platforms and booking software. Each firm will focus initially on marketing the solution in their home markets of Germany and the Netherlands, respectively.

Banxware’s partnership announcement follows news that the Berlin-based fintech had teamed up with liquidity management and financial planning company Agicap. Based in France, Agicap helps businesses automate, manage, and forecast their cash flows. Via its strategic partnership with Banxware, Agicap will add access to quick and tailored growth capital to its liquidity management offering.

“From now on, (SMEs) can not only see and manage their cash flows in a centered way, but they can also get new money when there are opportunities for growth,” Agicap Country Manager DE Stephan Krehl said.

Founded in 2020, Banxware is headquartered in Berlin. The company has raised $15 million (€14 million) in funding from investors including Varengold Bank and Element Ventures.


Finovate is proud to showcase fintech innovations from companies headquartered in Germany. This includes hosting our annual European fintech conference in Berlin in 2020.

Here’s a quick list of some of the Germany-based companies that have demoed their fintech innovations on the Finovate stage over the years.

  • aixigo
  • ayondo
  • Bitbond
  • BörseGo 
  • Cash Payment Solutions
  • Coconet
  • collectAI
  • Device Ident
  • Ecolytiq
  • figo
  • Fincite
  • FinTecSystems
  • Fintura
  • HAWK:AI
  • iBrokr
  • IND Group
  • Kreditech
  • Mambu
  • Modifi
  • NDGIT
  • Nextmarkets
  • Open Bank Project (OBP)
  • payever
  • Payworks
  • Pockets United
  • Risk Ident
  • Scalable Capital
  • Smartify.it
  • SOFORT
  • SwipeStox
  • TeamViewer
  • TESOBE
  • Vaamo
  • YUKKA Lab

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Egypt-based fintech Axis launched its new digital payments platform, AxisPay
  • Dubai Islamic Bank launched its DIB ‘alt’ product, a new digital umbrella brand for the bank’s digital offerings.
  • UAE-based B2B fintech solutions provider FOO introduced its prepaid travel card and white label digital wallet.

Central and Southern Asia

  • India-based digital lender Lentra raised $27 million in a Series B extension round.
  • BNE Intellinews profiled Uzbekistani SME lender, Oasis.
  • India’s PayU partnered with Visa and Yes Bank to launch its Business Payment Solution Provider program.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Argentina-based mobile banking company Uala launched a new saving account offering in Mexico.
  • Brazil’s Nubank reached one million accounts in Mexico milestone in one month.
  • Lanistar introduced crypto trading on its app for users in Brazil.

Asia-Pacific

  • Singapore-based B2B payment infrastructure platform Thunes raised $60 million in Series C funding.
  • International payments software provider OpenWay launched a second hub in Vietnam.
  • Wise platform inked its first Japanese partnership, teaming up with GMO Aozora Net Bank.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Nigerian fintech Flutterwave forged a partnership with account-to-account (A2A) payments company Token.io.
  • International payment solutions company Unlimit secured license to operate in Kenya two months after expanding to Nigeria.
  • Harvard Business Review asked and answered the question “What African Fintech Startups Can Teach Silicon Valley About Longevity?”

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Klarna brought its Pay in 3 offering to Romania this week.
  • German identity verification company IDnow added automated document liveness capabilities, financial risk checks, and more to its platform.
  • International development agency USAID partnered with Albanian business solutions provider CBS to launch, Lores Plus, a platform to help Albanian SMEs get access to financing.

Photo by javier gonzalez

Klarna Taps ChatGPT to Personalize Shopping

Klarna Taps ChatGPT to Personalize Shopping
  • Klarna partnered with OpenAI to offer ChatGPT users curated product recommendations.
  • When users download the Klarna plug-in, they will be able to receive links from ChatGPT for curated products.
  • The move comes as OpenAI rolls out plug-ins for a select set of users.

Payments innovator Klarna has teamed up with OpenAI to bring ChatGPT users what it calls a “smooth shopping experience” by serving as a product recommendation engine.

Klarna is leveraging OpenAI’s recently-announced plug-in to offer links to recommended products to users who ask ChatGPT for shopping advice. The links will route users to Klarna’s search and compare tool. The use case is not only helpful for users on the hunt for the best products, it also creates value for Klarna’s 500,000 retail partners seeking to reach broader audiences and acquire new customers.

ChatGPT’s Klarna shopping tool isn’t simply built-in for all users, however. There is a bit of friction involved. To use the shopping tool, shoppers must first install the Klarna plugin from ChatGPTs plugin store. Once it is installed, shoppers can ask the chatbot for relevant shopping ideas. If they don’t like the options provided, users can guide ChatGPT further with additional prompts or simply ask for more options. When consumers click on a link provided in the chat, they will be brought to Klarna’s search and compare tool.

“I’m super excited about our plugin with ChatGPT because it passes my ‘north star’ criteria that I call my ‘mom test’, i.e. would my mom understand and benefit from this. And it does because it’s easy to use and genuinely solves a ton of problems – it drives tremendous value for everyone,” said Klarna Co-founder and CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski. “Klarna is in a unique position to leverage the best technology and data to help people discover new products and solve problems for consumers at every stage of the shopping journey, and we’ll continue innovating to bring these services to our 150 million consumers.”

OpenAI announced the availability of ChatGPT plug-ins yesterday. The new capability will offer ChatGPT access to the internet, helping the chatbot offer users up-to-date information and use third-party services. At launch, other plug-ins include Expedia, Instacart, KAYAK, OpenTable, Shopify, Zapier, and more. The plug-ins are currently only available to a small number of developers and ChatGPT Plus users, but OpenAI will roll them out to more users over time.

Klarna Reports Loss But Plans to Return to Profitability by Summer

Klarna Reports Loss But Plans to Return to Profitability by Summer
  • Klarna reported a $1 billion operating loss in 2022, up from a $680 million operating loss in 2021.
  • Despite the loss, Klarna plans to return to profitability by this summer.
  • Klarna last reported a full year profitability in 2018.

Consumer payment services company Klarna is inching toward profitability, but is still in the red.

The Swedish company released its operating figures this week, reporting an operating loss of $1 billion for 2022 (10.5 billion crowns). The negative side of the news is that Klarna’s operating loss increased– the company reported a loss of $680 million in 2021. But the positive spin is that Klarna plans to return to profitability by summer.

Last week, the buy now, pay later (BNPL) player reported it has seen a large amount of growth in its U.S. market. The region generated a 71% year-over-year increase in gross merchandise volume, while improving credit loss rates by 37%. As of December 2022, the U.S– with its 34 million consumers– has become Klarna’s largest market by revenue.

Klarna, which last posted a full-year profit in 2018, may be able to reach its 2023 profitability goal. The company has seen increased growth in the U.S. and the U.K. “The U.S. and the U.K. [are] growing at a very high pace, pushing up the average growth number for the whole company,” said company Chief Executive Sebastian Siemiatkowski in a statement to Reuters. Additionally, the company restructured in 2022. Klarna let go of 10% of its staff in May of last year in an effort to rein in costs.

With 150 million customers across the globe, Klarna is one of the pioneers in the BNPL arena and currently offers its BNPL payment tools in 45 markets. More than 400,000 retailers, including H&M, Macy’s, and IKEA, offer Klarna within their checkout flow. The company has raised $4.5 billion since it was founded in 2005.


Photo by Mac Mullins

Klarna Integrates with Blackhawk Network Bringing Buy Now, Pay Later to Grocery Stores and Beauty Salons

Klarna Integrates with Blackhawk Network Bringing Buy Now, Pay Later to Grocery Stores and Beauty Salons
  • Blackhawk Network and Klarna have teamed up to bring Klarna’s alternative payment solutions to customers shopping with physical merchants.
  • The partnership comes as consumers show greater interest in using Buy Now, Pay Later payment options at retailers such as grocery stores, as well as for services.
  • Among Finovate’s earliest alums, both companies made their Finovate debuts in 2012: Klarna at FinovateSpring, Blackhawk Network at FinovateFall.

Branded payments provider Blackhawk Network and ecommerce innovator Klarna have forged a new partnership that will make it easier for consumers to use Klarna’s interest-free alternative payment offerings with brick-and-mortar merchants. Specifically, consumers will be able to use payment alternatives including Buy Now, Pay Later at physical retailers in Blackhawk’s U.S. network ranging from grocery stores to electronics shops to beauty salons.

“During a time of strained budgets and increasing costs, our partnership with Klarna is a significant development for retailers and grocers who are focused on meeting the needs of consumers and enabling them to shop how they want, where they want,” Blackhawk Network Head of Global Commerce Brett Narlinger said. “With Buy Now, Pay Later on a major growth trajectory, the collaboration between Blackhawk and Klarna will provide innovative purchasing options for consumers and retailers.”

The partnership demonstrates the growth in use cases for Buy Now, Pay Later by including both consumer staples like groceries as well as services such as beauty salon visits. In its 2021 Shopping Pulse Report, Klarna noted that not only are grocery stores among the most frequently shopped categories in physical stores, but also that 64% of the report’s respondents would use Buy Now, Pay Later to purchase groceries if the service were available.

“While online retail is on the rise, consumers today still value the in-store experience and expect the same level of service and convenience everywhere they shop,” Klarna Head of North America Kristina Elkhazin said. “We are proud to partner with Blackhawk, an industry leader and pioneer, to integrate its in-store capabilities with Klarna’s in-store payment solutions to make this new commerce and shopping opportunity for retailers across all categories a reality.”

The partnership follows news of Klarna’s launch of a new Loyalty Card feature in its app. The additional functionality, which comes courtesy of Klarna’s acquisition of mobile wallet provider Stocard last year, enables users of the app to store and access their physical loyalty cards as digital cards. The feature supports more than 8,000 loyalty reward programs around the world.

Blackhawk Network most recently made fintech headlines with its partnership with LibertyX. The collaboration, announced in June, will enable consumers to use their LibertyX accounts to purchase bitcoin at participating U.S. retailers such as Fresco y Más, Tops, and Winn-Dixie. A part of the NCR Corporation, LibertyX operates one of the oldest and largest retail networks of bitcoin ATMs, cashiers, and kiosks in the U.S.


Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Klarna Partners with Marqeta to Launch its New Card

Klarna Partners with Marqeta to Launch its New Card
  • Marqeta announced a collaboration with fellow Finovate alum Klarna to power the company’s new payment card.
  • The new card will enable Klarna customers to use the company’s Pay in 4 payment option in physical stores.
  • This week’s partnership builds upon a relationship the two companies have enjoyed since 2018.

A pair of Finovate alums have teamed up to offer a new transparent alternative to traditional credit cards.

Modern card issuing platform Marqeta reported this week that it is working with banking, payments, and ecommerce platform Klarna to power Klarna’s new payment card. The card will bring Klarna’s Pay in 4 service to a physical Visa card, and builds on a payment card partnership between the two companies that extends back to 2018. Marqeta currently enables the creation of one-time cards on Klarna’s app. The new Klarna Card will give customers the same control, convenience, and flexibility when shopping in physical stores that they currently enjoy when using Klarna’s Pay in 4 at the point of sale or via the Klarna app.

“Our U.S. customer base is growing rapidly and we’ve seen tremendous demand for our new Klarna Card offering,” Klarna Chief Commercial Officer David Sykes said. “By expanding our partnership with Marqeta, we’re leveraging their payments expertise to provide our customers with an unmatched user experience that will ultimately help our business grow.”

This latest collaboration comes just months after the two companies expanded their partnership into 13 new European markets. Klarna will leverage Marqeta’s Just-in-Time Funding functionality to gain control over the full transaction flow, and use Marqeta’s technology and 300+ open APIs to deliver customizable experiences and support Klarna’s international expansion.

“Marqeta’s continued partnership with Klarna is a testament to all the payment experiences that our modern card issuing platform can enable,” said Marqeta CEO and founder Jason Gardner. “We’re proud to offer a flexible, scalable card platform that can meet the demands of such a rapidly-growing and innovative company like Klarna.

A Finovate alum since 2012, Klarna now has more than 147 total active customers – 25 million in the U.S. – is active in 45 countries and facilitates two million transactions a day. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, the company began the year with the launch of a physical payment card in the U.K. and, in March, announced the completion of its acquisition of comparison shopping service company PriceRunner. Sebastian Siemiatkowski is CEO.

Based in Oakland, California, Marqeta made its Finovate debut at our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley, in 2016. In the years since, Marqeta has issued more than 500 million cards via its platform and processed more than $110 billion in volume in 2021. In addition to its partnership with Klarna, Marqeta also announced this week that it was joining Mastercard’s Network Enablement Partners Program in the Asia Pacific. The move will enhance Marqeta’s ability to offer its APAC customers a faster path to live issuance.

“As one of Mastercard’s first Network Enablement Partners to be onboarded in the Asia Pacific region, Marqeta is well-equipped to deliver card issuances in record time, and to help their fintech customers scale at speed across multiple geographies,” Mastercard SVP of Digital Customer Solutions APAC Ben Gilbey said.


Photo by Olya Kobruseva

Klarna Taps GoCardless to Offer Bank Debit Payments

Klarna Taps GoCardless to Offer Bank Debit Payments

Consumer payment services company Klarna has selected account-to-account (A2A) payments company GoCardless to offer debit bank payments to its U.S. clients.

Specifically, Klarna will use GoCardless’ technology to transfer funds via ACH for its Pay in 4 offering that enables customers to split any purchase into four interest-free payments both online and in-store.

GoCardless CEO and Co-Founder Hiroki Takeuchi said that he anticipates alternative payment methods to experience rapid growth as leveraging debt falls out of favor. “Over the next few years we expect account-to-account payments to challenge the dominance of cards as they tap into changing consumer demand and provide merchants significant benefits in terms of cost, conversion and churn,” Takeuchi said.

Klarna CTO Koen Köppen noted that the U.S. is a key market for Klarna. The company doubled its customer base in the last year, and now has more than 21 million U.S. customers. “To continue along that trajectory,” Köppen noted, “we need partners that not only provide our consumers and retailers more choice and control but also offer us cutting-edge technology and best-in-class service. We’re excited to work with GoCardless and leverage its expertise in account-to-account payments as we expand in the U.S.”

GoCardless, which won Best Enterprise Payments Solution at the Finovate Awards earlier this year, was founded in 2011. The U.K.-based company’s technology helps merchants collect recurring and one-off payments from customers via ACH transfers. Businesses can integrate GoCardless’ API to automate payment collection and reconciliation billing for subscription and invoice payments. Among GoCardless’ clients are DocuSign, Survey Monkey, and Box.com.

Today’s news about Klarna’s new ACH payment capabilities for U.S. customers is the latest in the company’s recent push into the North American region. Last month, Klarna announced it is adding its Pay Now option to its U.S. payment services. The company also unveiled plans to launch its physical debit card in the U.S. market.

GoCardless entered the U.S. market in 2019 and has since opened two offices in New York City and one in San Francisco. By the end of next year, GoCardless plans to grow its U.S. team by another 125%.


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Klarna Launches Pay Now in U.S., Announces Plan for U.S. Debit Card

Klarna Launches Pay Now in U.S., Announces Plan for U.S. Debit Card

While some European fintechs are exiting the U.S. market, consumer payment services firm Klarna is doubling down. The Sweden-based company announced it is adding its Pay Now option to its U.S. payment services.

The Pay Now tool does exactly what it implies. Instead of using Klarna’s signature buy now, pay later (BNPL) payment structure, it allows users to pay immediately and in full at retailers where Klarna is accepted. This move offers U.S. shoppers more options when paying with Klarna at the point of sale. Users can now pay in full using Pay Now or pay over time with Pay in 4 and Pay in 30 solutions which allow users to split a purchase into four interest-free payments or pay over the course of 30 days, respectively.

“Consumers continue to reject double digit interest rates and fee-laden revolving credit, while simultaneously seeking more choice, control and flexibility in how they shop and pay both online and in store,” said Klarna Co-founder and CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski. “With the introduction of ‘Pay Now’, Klarna now offers U.S. consumers the choice to pay immediately and in full, alongside our sustainable interest-free services.”

As a result of adding the Pay Now option, U.S. retailers can now offer Klarna users a more well-rounded payment experience. By offering the option to pay in installments or pay immediately, consumers will be more likely to choose Klarna as a payment option regardless of whether or not they want to use a BNPL tool or pay in full immediately.

Klarna also announced it will launch its physical debit card to the U.S. market. The company wasn’t specific about timing but said it plans to introduce the new product “very soon.” Klarna refers to its debit card as a “tangible extension of the Klarna app experience” because it allows users to pay for their purchases over time and connects to the Klarna app to help users track their purchases. The card is also integrated with Klarna’s loyalty program, Vibe, which offers users rewards, deals, and discounts.

The past year has been quite an active one for BNPL companies. Klarna almost doubled its U.S. customer base this year, now reaching 21 million customers. “By launching ‘Pay Now’ and introducing the Klarna Card in the US, we are continually developing our services to meet consumers’ changing needs,” added Siemiatkowski.

Across the globe, the company counts 90 million active customers in 19 countries who make two million transactions per day at Klarna’s 250,000 merchants, including big brands such as H&M, IKEA, Expedia Group, Samsung, ASOS, Peloton, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Nike. Since it was founded in 2005, Klarna has raised $3.7 billion. The company now has a valuation of $45.6 billion and 4,000 employees.