Sebastian Siemiątkowski

Co-founder and CEO, Klarna


“Trying my best to be the nightmare of the bank establishment worldwide!” — Sebastian Siemiątkowski, co-founder and CEO of Swedish fintech firm Klarna, is fairly outspoken about his targets in his Twitter bio. He’s making progress: In its final funding spherical, Klarna was valued at $45.6 billion — rivaling a few of Europe’s largest banks. While Klarna is one more Swedish tech success, following Spotify and Ericsson, it additionally has a Polish pedigree: Siemiątkowski’s mother and father moved from Poland to Uppsala within the Eighties.

Siemiątkowski was flipping burgers in Uppsala’s Burger King when he met his fellow co-founder Niklas Adalberth. Klarna launched in 2005, however at first based mostly an excessive amount of of its enterprise mannequin on banks’ personal digital choices. It pivoted in 2016, and actually accelerated due to e-commerce — which reached new heights throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Klarna’s magic might be defined in 4 letters: BNPL, or “buy now, pay later.” People buying on-line can use Klarna to separate the fee into 4 installments or delay fee by a month. “Smoooth shopping!” says Siemiątkowski’s Twitter bio.

EU policymakers, nevertheless, have expressed concern that whereas merchandise like Klarna are interest-free, it’s nonetheless a type of credit score — they usually declare these merchandise ought to be regulated as such. The firm has beefed up its presence in Brussels as lawmakers are mulling an replace to the Consumer Credit Directive. The new guidelines may lengthen a few of the obligations that bank card firms face to firms like Klarna. It’s a balancing act for Siemiątkowski: Instead of being the nightmare for banks, he may find yourself in the identical regulatory nook as them.

What to be careful for this yr: Siemiątkowski faces extra regulatory burdens, as EU lawmakers mull extra obligations for the BNPL market.

What’s their superpower: Harnessing shopper energy — Klarna has seen a stellar rise due to the increase in e-commerce throughout the pandemic

Influence rating: 21/30

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