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Deferred payments app Klarna soared to a valuation of $45.6 billion in its latest fundraising round — buoyed by an investment from Japan’s SoftBank.

 

The “buy-now-pay-later” firm, which raised $639 million Thursday, is now Europe’s most valuable privately-held financial technology company.

Like competitors Afterpay and Affirm, Stockholm-based Klarna lets consumers take home items then pay for them later through a series of smaller payments with interest. Think of it as “layaway with a twist.” 

The company’s retail partners include H&M, IKEA, Sacks, Macy’s, Urban Outfitters and Etsy. In total, it has partnerships with 250,000 brands and boasts 18 million users worldwide, according to the company. 

Even despite hesitance among some cash-strapped consumers during the pandemic, Klarna has thrived — more than quadrupling its valuation in the past year.

In a September 2020 fundraising round, the company was valued at $11 billion. In March 2021, that number was $31 billion. 

Klarna is mulling going public sometime soon in either London or New York, the Financial Times reported.  

Klarna is “aggressively going after the US market,” analyst Dan Ives told the Post. Levine-Roberts/Sipa USA

Wedbush securities tech analyst Dan Ives attributed Klarna’s astonishing valuation surge to its potential for growth, especially in the United States.

“It’s now at the top of the mountain on terms of European unicorns and aggressively is going after the US market,” Ives told the Post. “The valuation is eye-popping but it’s going after a trillion-dollar market opportunity.” 

Thursday’s investment round was led by SoftBank’s famous technology investment group “Vision Fund 2,” with additional participation from existing investors Adit Ventures, Honeycomb Asset Management and WestCap Group.

Klarna has partnerships with total 250,000 brands and boasts 18 million users worldwide, according to the company. Getty Images for Klarna

Other Klarna investors include H&M, private equity firm Silver Lake, Jack Ma’s Ant Group and venture capital fund Sequoia Capital.

Klarna, which was founded in 2005, paints its buy-now-pay-later model as a threat to credit card firms, claiming that its system is more fair and efficient. 

“Consumers continue to reject interest-and fee-laden revolving credit and are moving toward debit,” said Klarna founder and CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski on Thursday. “I’m very proud of the investors who are supporting Klarna’s ambition to challenge these outdated models to empower consumers with fair, transparent, and convenient products to help them bank, shop and pay each day.” 

Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski founded the company in 2005.REUTERS

Klarna recently faced an embarrassing hiccup in May, when an app issue caused about 90,000 users to be able to view personal information about other users, including their full names, addresses, phone numbers and emails. No financial information was exposed, according to the company. 

Filed under credit ,  startups ,  sweden ,  6/11/21

News Source: New York Post

Tags: search credit credit startups sweden according to the company buy now pay later credit card include h m on thursday eye popping

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One-third of Americans plan to retire later due to Covid-19, study finds

John Lund/Marc Romanelli | Getty Images

It's no secret that Covid-19 has upended people financially at all stages of life.

Now, one new report shows just how the pandemic has changed the way people think about retirement.

The study from Age Wave and Edward Jones finds that about 1 out of every 3 Americans who are planning to retire now say that will happen later due to Covid-19.

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About 69 million Americans now say Covid-19 prompted them to change their retirement timing. That's up slightly from 68 million as of May 2020.

The results come from three tracking surveys that were conducted between May 2020 and March 2021. The latest poll was conducted in March, and included 2,042 adults ages 18 and up.

The research shows people have adjusted their approaches to retirement in some important ways.

Retirement savings disrupted

About 14 million Americans have stopped contributing to their retirement accounts every month as of this March, the research found.

That's an improvement from December, when 22 million people said they had paused their retirement savings.

VIDEO3:2003:20What's behind America's retirement crisisThe ExchangeWomen's saving suffers

A so-called she-cession is poised to make the already existing financial gender gap worse.

Just 41% of women say they are saving each month for retirement, versus 58% of men.

Meanwhile, the retirement savings confidence gap between genders has grown wider. The study found that 56% of male pre-retirees say they are secure in their retirement savings, compared to 40% of women. While confidence has improved, it still hasn't reached pre-pandemic levels from January 2020, when 61% of men and 54% of women said they were sure of their retirement savings.

Pre-retirees feel negative effects

The research also found that pre-retirees were more negatively impacted by the pandemic compared to retirees, 44% versus 22%. respectively.

Retirees fared better because they were able to fall back on Social Security and Medicare. At the same time, 78% own their own homes.

Health-care costs, including long-term care, consistently ranked as the No. 1 retirement concern for pre-retirees, with 66% in both May 2020 and March 2021.

Financial wake-up call

Of those surveyed, 61% of retirees said they wish they had done a better job planning for retirement financially.

Overall, 70% of Americans said the pandemic has been a financial wake-up call that has prompted them to pay more attention to their long-term money plans.

Meanwhile, Americans' financial confidence seems to be bouncing back, with 57% now giving themselves an A or B grade on their finances, up from 50% in May 2020.

Retirement aspirations strong

Despite savings challenges, many Americans still have big hopes for their golden years.

Of those surveyed, 56% said they see retirement as a new chapter in life, while 21% said it's a time for rest and relaxation.

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