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Danish neobank Lunar scores €70m funding, eyes mainland Europe

Ken Villlum Klausen, Lunar CEO, and founder, tells AltFi about the bank's acquisition plans; hanging out with Hollywood luminary Will Ferrell, and ambitions of Scandinavian domination.

a man standing in front of a plant

Ken Villum Klausen/Lunar

Danish neobank Lunar is eyeing up a play across mainland Europe as it bags a €70m investment.

Ken Villlum Klausen, Lunar founder and CEO, tells AltFi about its acquisition plans; hanging out with Hollywood luminary Will Ferrell, and ambitions of Scandinavian domination.

Following this latest round, Lunar has raised €400m in total to date.

Its latest funding round, announced last week, enticed investment from existing investors including Tencent, Heartland, IDC Ventures and Kinnevik.

The funds, says Klausen, will be used to jack up its recently-launched crypto and payments offering while setting aside funds for potential acquisitions.

Lunar currently has a footprint in Denmark, Sweden and Norway and now wants to land its brand in the Finnish market, broadening its coverage across Scandinavia.

Lunar has been busy in the early months of 2022, launching a crypto platform and bolstering its payment offering for its 15,000 business customers with a feature helping them track online payments.

On its crypto play, Klausen says it is too early to give specific numbers of sign-ups but believes it has an advantage over overseas competitors in the Scandinavian market.

“When you try to get your money out from those crypto platforms into your actual bank account, that transfer will be rejected based on the infrastructure in the Nordics," he says.

The challenger banks also has a buy now, pay later product and a lofty goal of building a “financial ecosystem” for private and business customers.

Currently, Lunar has 500,000 retail customers and 15,000 business customers, the latter of which it is looking to turbo-charge across the region.

As part of its plans to increase consumer awareness, it has turned to Hollywood for help, recruiting Will Ferrell to front its advertising.

Ferrell, who has a Swedish wife, fronts Lunar's latest advertising campaign, playing the role of a character called Will Power.

Klausen believes Lunar has recruited the funniest comedian around.

He said: “I think we were really planning for a period of time to see what would be kind of the next step for Lunar, for really, really increasing awareness. 

“And then we had a great collaboration with a company called Talent Republic that had great ties to Will. 

“So I think Talent Republic was really what made it come true. With Will, he has a few ties to the Nordic region. He is in Sweden a couple of months every year, so I think it’s just a great opportunity for everybody.”

Klausen says he flew out to Hollywood to seal the deal with Ferrell.

“We really want to tell a story about empowering our users and giving them back control over their money. But we want to do it in a humorous way and I think who is funnier than Will Ferrell?”

Lunar made two acquisitions last year, snapping up Lendify, Sweden’s largest loan marketplace, and Paylike ,the Danish payment business, and is now gearing up for a third.

A priority market, says Klausen, is Finland, after which a crack at mainland Europe might be on the cards.

He said: “Lunar was born with Nordic ambitions. On an infrastructure level and on a mobile banking level, it’s probably the most advanced territory in the world. 

“When you feel as though you have saturated the markets in the Nordic region, you have larger ambitions over time than just being in the Nordics.

“But it’s not like we are in a rush for it right now. We just want to go in depth in all of those markets before we potentially embark on a journey outside of the Nordics. But it is something we are looking into.”

Lunar is not currently profitable but becoming profitable is a goal for Lunar, but not an immediate one.

“Overall the ambition is for the company to look into profitability over the coming years. But for now, in 2022 we are just laser-focused on growing the business,” he adds.

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