Sweden's Klarna stalked legendary Silicon Valley VC Sequoia on Google Street View before bagging it as an investor
Siemiatkowski told the crowd at the Money2020 conference in Copenhagen this week that he stalked Sequoia years ago on Google Street View "to see what this legendary place looks like."BI looked up Sequoia on Street View and the road it sits on isn't actually covered but you can just glimpse the buildings through the trees. Still, the leafy Califonia landscape must have looked dreamy to Stockholm-based Siemiatkowski.
Incredibly, Siemiatkowski's wish came true - Sequoia led a $9 million investment in Klarna back in 2010 and has taken part in follow-on rounds since. To date the company has raised over $290 million and is worth $2.25 billion, making it one of Europe's few unicorns.Siemiatkowski and Sir Michael Moritz, the chair of Sequoia who led the round, told the crowd at Money2020 how the initial investment came about (the Googling didn't factor in surprisingly).Siemiatkowski approached the CEO of another Swedish company who Sequoia had backed: "I asked him if he thought Sequoia would be interested. He said never ever is that going to happen. That was the end of the discussion.
"But then fortunately, Michael was working back then with a guy named Chris would was calling every fricking guy and saying, hey, do you have any interesting companies? He called the CEO [of the company Siemiatkowski has talked to] and he said, you know what, there's this company called Klarna. That's kind of it. We met in London."
Google Street View
This solves a big problem for online retailers - conversion rates. Stores find that plenty of people will put things in their baskets but often abandon the buying process when it comes to paying because it's too much of a hassle to fill in all the online forms. It's not worth the hassle for what usually is a luxury.
Klarna flips that on its head - by the time you come to pay you've already bought the product so you don't have much choice in the matter unless you want to return the item or become a criminal.The method has proved so successful that in its native Sweden Klarna now processes 30% of all online purchases there and processed $9 billion (£5.74 billion) worth of transactions globally in 2014. The company has been profitable since its inception.
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