European e-commerce payments provider Klarna just raised a huge, pre-IPO round of $155 million. The round was led by General Atlantic and Yuri Milner’s DST Global. Sequoia Capital led its last $9 million round in May, 2010. (Update: Sequoia did not invest in this round). At that time, Sequoia partner Michael Moritz (he of Google, PayPal, and Yahoo fame) joined the board.
The new round almost certainly puts Klarna’s valuation within spitting distance of Europe’s billion-dollar tech club.
Klarna is based in Stockholm and was founded in 2005 by three economics students, Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Niklas Adalberth and Victor Jacobsson. It already has 600 employees and clears $2.5 billion worth of payments from 6 million consumers across 14,000 merchants.
The company operates primarily in Europe, where it takes some of the risk out of e-commerce by extending credit to shoppers and allows them to pay after they receive the goods. Merchants are paid upon order. (In Europe, they call this invoicing).
The key to Klarna’s business and profits is to assess and minimize credit risk on the fly. The company acquired Analyzed, an Israeli fraud prevention firm, last May to help with risk assessment. The new capital could be used for more M&A, hiring, as well as further geographic expansion.