While A$AP Rocky’s whirlwind romance with Rihanna has generated its share of headlines, the rapper’s new business endeavor looks to generate more dollar signs in his bank account as he becomes the latest investor in Klarna, a privately-held Swedish fintech company with a valuation north of $31 billion.
Aside from his monetary investment, which the rapper described as “a no-brainer,” the 32-year old will also be personally involved, using his expertise and experience within the fashion industry as a curator of content for Klarna’s smartphone app. His alliance with Klarna also doubles as an opportunity for the A$AP Mob member to connect his reputation as a style icon with his passion for creating financial empowerment and freedom among minorities and residents of low-income communities.
“It’s a radical way to approach the crediting system,” the Harlem native shared with Forbes. “It helps people with financial literacy…There’s no system that helps us deal with things when it comes to student loans, the IRS, banking or credit.”
Headquartered in Stockholm, Klarna—which is backed by investors like Softbank, General Atlantic, and BlackRock—is akin to a “layaway” system, allowing its customers to make purchases on credit while paying on the backend. Although the company has been accused of irresponsibly “rewriting the language of debt” by detractors such as the Financial Times, those critiques have little impact on the company’s bottom line. To date, Klarna has upwards of 90 million active, global users who account for an average of two million transactions daily with over 250,000 merchants including Nike, Amazon, and Sephora. With a business model based on charging merchants to utilize their payment technology, Klarna appears to be a safe bet for Rocky, whose interests outside of music have begun to rival his love for the art, at least in the eyes of many fans.
Rocky’s financial stake in Klarna marks his continued evolution as a businessman but is also a surprising turn of events given his strained relationship with Sweden. In 2019, Rocky was charged with assault and incarcerated following a physical altercation. Though he was ultimately found guilty, Rocky was eventually released after nearly a month of time served. Fortunately, he was not barred from returning to the country, thus opening the door for Rocky’s new partnership and a chance to flip his traumatic experience into one of entrepreneurial success.