Klarna, a $10B Fintech Unicorn, is Changing How People Shop Around the World

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By Sean Ellis and Ethan Garr. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Technically, Klarna is a Fintech company; a Swedish bank that provides online financial services such as payments for online storefronts, direct payments, and more. However, in this episode of the Breakout Growth Podcast we learn that Klarna is not an ordinary Fintech startup at all. Their breakout growth success, which has seen a valuation increase from $2.5B to more than $10B in just the past year and a quarter (5:40) offers powerful lessons on how growth is built on a foundation of strong product/market fit coupled with great execution, and a data-driven test/learn process.

The company is driving innovation and making shopping simple, safe and smooth for millions of consumers, and in this interview, Sean interviews Jon Chang, Global Head of Shopping Growth Marketing, who joined the company in August of 2019. In that short time period, the company’s US operations have grown 10X and Jon describes that success as being an output of “doing a good job of preparing ourselves to be lucky” (14:10). We discover exactly what that means as Jon explains how he and his team structure and execute their approach to accelerating growth.

The company now has over 3000 employees broken down into 400 teams. More than 150 of those employees are focused directly on growth, and we find out that it takes very intentional culture-building effort to drive cross-functional alignment across such a massive and growing organization (24:06). Although the name Klarna may be new to you today, this is a company that is having a massive impact on the world in which we live.

We discussed:

  • Impacts of Covid-19, and how the company has responded and grown through the crisis (6:30)
  • The company’s unique mobile app that “ingests the entire internet” to offer unique buying power to consumers (14:10)
  • How the company has evolved over its 15-year history, including a pivot from B2B to B2C sales (16:58)
  • Jon’s test/learn growth approach and how a marketing experiment recently yielded a 7x increase in installs (28:53)
  • How the company culture which led to 10X growth in the US in one year, looks to do that again this year (41:40)

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