Valued at $45.6 billion last June, Klarna is Europe's biggest fintech success story. The Swedish split payment specialist (“Buy Now Pay Later”) has experienced unprecedented popularity since the pandemic.
Concretely, Klarna allows e-merchants to offer a payment system in several installments. For example, the merchant sites of Nike, H&M or Sephora integrate its tool to offer split and instant payment to customers. Thanks to it, e-merchants can hope to boost their turnover by around 15 to 25%.
In total, more than 400,000 partners worldwide use its service with 150 million customers. In France, a million people have already taken advantage of Klarna, often without even knowing it.
Since the beginning of the year, the plunge in the Nasdaq has caused the valuations of start-ups in search of money to fall. The time of record fundraising, with sometimes stratospheric company values compared to their revenues, seems to be moving away. And Klarna is no exception.
While it was worth almost twice the market capitalization of Societe Generale (20 billion euros) and it was discussing at the beginning of the year with sovereign funds on a valuation close to 60 billion dollars, the soufflé is in the process of to fall back.
According to the latest rumors, a billion dollar round is being negotiated with a valuation down 30%. The English venture capital fund Chrysalis Investments, which owns a large share of Klarna's capital, has already revised its NAV (Net asset value, or net asset value) downwards to reflect this development.
Klarna is not alone in bearing the brunt of the downturn in business around the world. In the same segment, Affirm recorded crazy growth in 2021 to reach a (delusional) valuation similar to that of its Swedish counterpart. Since then, its share price has collapsed by 85% to fall back to around 7 billion dollars.
In France, the fintech Alma resists
Arriving in France in 2021, Klarna faced resistance from various players in a fragmented market. If BNP Paribas tried to regain control of the market with the acquisition of Floa Bank, one of the most promising players in the niche is none other than the French startup Alma.
The latter raised 115 million euros last February, when the tide was starting to turn. However, it remains much smaller than Klarna (6,000 partner merchants) with a strong foothold in France. This last round of funding should allow it to accelerate internationally while providing it with the cash necessary to get through this air pocket on the financial markets…