Sebastian Siemiatkowski

11 October 2016

"During the early days, we participated with our business idea in a Dragon’s Den/Shark Tank like competition hosted at our Stockholm business school. The jury was the most prominent jury you could think of with CEO’s from some of the biggest companies. Our idea was the concept of "after delivery payment", which would let buyers receive ordered goods before any payment is due. Everyone in the jury disliked our idea and explained to us that we wouldn’t stand a chance against the banks, who they thought ultimately would bring this type of service to the market. That was brutal, but we decided to work together and just show them how wrong they were. When we went live with our first big merchant in Sweden, and a friend made a transaction using Klarna, we were all “wow, this can actually work”.

Today, Klarna is one of Europe's fastest growing companies that offers safe and easy-to­-use payment solutions for e­-stores. Our concept is the exact same as we presented at the competition, we assume the credit and fraud risk so that retailers can rest assured they will receive their money. We have more than 1,400 employees and are active on 18 markets. We serve 45 million consumers and work with 65,000 merchants, including clients such as Spotify, Disney & Samsung. 

As an entrepreneur, what do you consider to be your biggest struggle? 

Everything was challenging in the beginning. Initially we had to give the impression of an established and trusted business and not just being three students in a room, since we asked to be trusted with the people’s money. The important thing is to try to break challenges down into small components and simply just deal with them.

The important thing is to try to break challenges down into small components and simply just deal with them.

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What do you consider to be a distinguishing characteristic of a successful entrepreneur?

At the core it’s about grit, hard work and hustling. That takes enormous dedication. When we started, we promised ourselves to give it six months and after that we would evaluate and see if we should continue. By taking that approach the potential downside of starting up our business was not that scary.

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