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ASAP Rocky’s Klarna Investment is a Call for More B2B Hip-Hop Partnerships

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ASAP Rocky (via Wall Street Journal)

by Dan Runcie

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Rihanna’s boyfriend is the latest investor and collaborator in Klarna, a Swedish fintech company valued at $31 billion. It’s an ironic moment for Rocky and another sign of B2B companies partnering with hip-hop.

Flipping the script. In July 2019, ASAP was detained in a Swedish prison for a month after a post-concert incident. It cost him millions in revenue and even more emotionally. Many of Rocky’s friends vowed never to do business in Sweden again. But now, Rocky’s an investor in Europe’s most valuable startup. He will also curate fashion experiences in Klarna’s app.

On June 13, Rocky will share his story in a new documentary Stockholm Syndrome that will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival. I hope they add in a new section to cover this investment too. This is the type of story made for a Hollywood screenplay.

Klarna’s business. Klarna makes it easier for online merchants to offer customers layaway options. Customers can buy now, pay later, and Klarna charges merchants 3-7% transaction fees. If you’ve seen more online businesses offering options to “pay in 4 installments,” they’re likely using Klarna. According to Forbes, it’s used by over 250,000 merchants and made $1.2 billion in revenue in 2020.

More B2B and hip-hop partnerships. B2B hip-hop partnerships are an underserved opportunity for several reasons. First, B2B employees like hip-hop too! Enterprise sales is high-touch. B2B clients (and their clients) listen to the same stuff B2C clients do.

Second, artists themselves are businesses. They use tons of software and programs to run numerous ventures. It makes them relatable influencers. For instance, Rocky sells merch to his fans, so he can speak to Klarna’s value prop. And third, many B2B companies sell to B2Cs. Artists can be brand partners for platforms, which helps attract more B2C clients since they (and their end-consumer) identify with hip-hop.

The B2C deals are obvious. But B2B deals are still a white space.

Dan Runcie

Dan Runcie

Founder of Trapital

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