Exclusive: This CEO is out to beat Amazon

Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO of Europe’s #1 Fintech Klarna, about how he turned a local underdog into an international scale-up

This CEO has created a revolution in online shopping.

Today, Sebastian Siemiatkowski, the CEO of Swedish fintech unicorn Klarna, rules an empire with 2700 employees, 85 million customers and 205 000 online merchants in 17 countries, including Germany, where Klarna makes 40 percent of its revenue. Klarna rose from being a local under-dog to an international scale-up threatening traditional banks and became the most valuable fintech unicorn in Europe with its 'buy now, pay later' promise.

In conversation with Bit & Pretzels Britta Weddeling Sebastian is announcing the next step for his company: the launch of a new shopping tool that aims to offer the same level of convenience and benefits that exist on a platform like Amazon. While Klarna doesn't aim to become a marketplace such as Amazon, the company is clearly out to attract brands to the Klarna technology through offering them to own interaction with customers over all their channels.

Sebastian also talks about the influence of Big Tech companies on innovation – especially now during Corona when many new ideas are dying moving forward since startups are running out of cash – as well as the responsibility of leaders in the light of the Black lives Matter protests:

I think we all have that responsibility to some degree (...) it's been encouraging to see other leaders in the world to stand up for this.

And – like always – our podcast guest shares what other entrepreneurs can learn from his way up to the top of the fintech world:

I think it is essential, especially when you're in a digital service, to be very, very focused at, continuously looking at and trying to understand your customers experience. End to end. What is it like? How many steps is it? How can it be improved?

01:57: How Klarna is threatening traditional banks
07:10: Watch out Jeff Bezos! The Swedish unicorn is out to beat you
16:40: “Find your passionate customers and try to create value for them”
23:45: Why the time to invest is now
28:59: The B&P tool box: This book is a must read for everyone in the business world
31:53: Beer garden break: Sebastian used to milk cows & lived in Bamberg
34:16: Sebastian's thoughts on the Black Lives Matter Movement
39:45: "It's not about the mistakes you make, it's about how you handle the situation"
47:02: Either-or-game: Why Sebastian is a huge fan of John F. Kennedy

Production: Regina Körner, Migo Fecke (professional-podcasts.com); Hubert Honold