Swedish Startup Space

Klarna-founder Niklas Adalberth Presents New Whistleblower App

Written by on July 15, 2016
Editors Note: This post is part of a series called Featured posts, presented by Breakit.

Niklas Adalbert reveals his first project as a social entrepreneur. His new app Klarity will expose corruption through crowdsourcing.

The Swedish payment company Klarna has made its founders, Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Niklas Adalberth and Victor Jacobsson very rich.

Niklas Adalberth, who left his operational role in the company in 2015, is now determined to give back to the community.

He has recently launched a new foundation called Norrsken with the purpose of fixing “big social issues” through cutting edge technology.

The initial capital of $8 million (SEK 70 million), is all out of Niklas Adalberths own pocket. Money which in turn comes from sold Klarna shares.

Breakit can now reveal the Norrsken foundation’s first inhouse project, a whistleblower app called Klarity. It will allow the citizens of the world to upload evidence of corruption directly through their phone.

“It’s impossible in some countries to build social structures, or get food because of corruption. It also erodes confidence in social structures and governments around the world”, he says to Breakit.

Klarity is a product of Norrsken’s lab, which is one out of three parts of the foundation. It will be the lab’s first fully-owned company.

At first the app will be released in selected countries in Eastern Europe, which will be the app’s baptism of fire. If the testing is successful, the company will expand with a a global launch.

To lead the company Niklas Adalberth picked up Kristoffer Hanson as CEO. The two met – just like Klarna’s founder trio – at the Stockholm School of Economics.

“Tackling corruption with the help of technology is an extremely exciting, daring and especially important initiative which I am proud to be a part of”, Kristoffer Hanson says.

He is the former expansion manager in Spain and Portugal at the clothing giant H&M, and is also the co-founder of the digital education company Coursio.

Digital leaks in recent years have revealed a series of major scandals in the world.

NSA’s extensive monitoring of US citizens and the rich elites tax evasion through the law firm Mossack Fonseca in Panama came to the world’s knowledge through leaks.

Wikileaks has exposed a number of incidents of institutional abuse, among others how an American helicopter gunner killed 15 people – including two journalists from Reuters – via the leaked files.

Klarity should not be primarily to hunt corruption at the highest political level. The goal is to find and expose everyday corruption at a local level.

“Panama papers was an interesting example of how technology and investigative journalism can lead to effects. We hope to contribute in the same way, but will focus on corruption at a lower level”, Kristoffer Hanson says.

He gives a specific example:

“If you are living in a corrupt society and are forced to bribe a doctor to help your sick mother. You can record a video, and upload it to the app. It’s as simple as updating your status on Facebook.”

Smart algorithms – and a community of citizens – will then ensure that the information is verified. The goal is to, through activist groups, interest groups and the media, expose corrupt individuals and institutions within public administration.

The method raises a lot of questions about how Klarity to deal with the potentially very sensitive material that can be uploaded to the app. Because the material is to be shared with Klaritys community, the company might be seen as a kind of publisher.

If the app takes off, there is also a risk that people start using it slander and mudslinging.

Niklas Adalberth and Kristoffer Hanson is open with the fact that practical management that problem is yet to be solved. However, there is about a year left to the official launch of the app.

“We recognize that we have a great responsibility. It’s important that we look at both the laws and regulations as well as the moral implications when we develop the app”, Niklas Adalberth says.

A force of up to 20 people will start working with Klarity, which will be a marathon project.

“It will take a long time to achieve success. Patience is key here”, Kristoffer Hanson says.

Niklas Adalberth adds:

“This project is typical of what we want to engage in with the lab in the future. There is an almost naive thought, with very high risk and many challenges. Should we succeed, we can have a significant impact on reducing corruption in the world, “he says.

 

Some of Breakits readers may relate the name Klarity, to Niklas Adalberth’s Klarna. According to the founders, it is about a Swedish version of the English “Clarity” (clarity), to signal transparency.

Swedification beginning with a “K” plays at the Swedish heritage, where a policy of neutrality and the robustness and trustworthiness of Swedish institutions has always been important.

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