CNBC Disruptor 50

5. Klarna

Founders: Sebastian Siemiatkowski (CEO), Niklas Adalberth, Victor Jacobsson
Launched: 2005
Headquarters: Stockholm
Funding:
 $970 million
Valuation: $5.5 billion
Key technologies:
AI, cloud computing, edge computing, machine learning
Industry:
E-commerce, financial services, fintech
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 2 (No. 8 in 2016)

George Kavillines

Online shopping pretty much has been the only way to buy most things during the coronavirus pandemic, and Klarna is all about making it easier for consumers to do just that. The Swedish online lender has an app that lets customers buy at their favorite stores now — but pay later.

View the FULL LIST: 2020 DISRUPTOR 50

Here's how Klarna works: A customer making an online purchase enters only their email address and Zip code to buy an item. Klarna pays the retailer immediately and then collects the amount due from the consumer either immediately, in 30 days, in four interest-free payments or over six to 36 months, with interest. The company makes its money predominately through the fees it charges merchants for its service and says that by using proprietary data analytics and modeling, it can give approved consumers a seamless buying experience. The service is available in 200,000 stores, such as H&M, Sephora, Adidas and Abercrombie & Fitch, and has about 85 million users worldwide, including about 6 million in the U.S. The company claims it adds a new merchant every seven minutes.

Since its founding in 2005, Klarna has distinguished itself from other fintech companies by turning a profit every year. In February it reported its first annual loss, after a year of expansion in the U.S. and Europe. Last August it raised $460 million in financing, giving the company a staggering $5.5 billion valuation. Ant Financial, the payment affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, bought a minority stake in Klarna in March for an undisclosed amount. Klarna counts U.S. rapper Snoop Dogg and Swedish retailer H&M among its investors.

A look back at the CNBC Disruptor 50: 8 years, 209 companies