A Change in Pace: From a Corporate to a Scaleup
Anne Marie Kindberg,
Chief Revenue Officer at Lunar
Anne Marie Kindberg's journey as Lunar's very first chief revenue officer started in February 2022, after three years as COO and CMO at Microsoft Denmark. In previous interviews, she has stated how Lunar is one of the most exciting fintech companies in Europe, and her enthusiasm is shared by the ecosystem and users. Lunar's private and business digital banking services now count 700,000 users in Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
And as the users grow, so does the fintech's revenue: from 2021 to 2022, the net interest and fee income grew by 360% to 233.5 million krone (around $34 million), the result of significant investments in the company. Anne Marie has been part of leading Lunar towards a more commercial mindset with a clear path to profitability. One of the interesting new services in Lunar’s portfolio is sales of access to its Nordic payment infrastructure, where Lunar’s first partner is the Swedish fintech Trustly.
But how did the chief revenue officer, who originally studied political science, end up in the Danish financial sector? It all started with her interest in creating valuable customer offerings and experiences. Over time, this was combined with a love for everything digital. Her curiosity led her career across industries, from telecommunications to banking and fintech, working in key positions for TDC, Nordea, Nets and Microsoft. No matter the challenge or the industry, a focus for Anne Marie has been to create stellar user propositions. And if public reviews are anything to go by, Lunar's score of 4.5 stars on Trustpilot is a strong indicator that the users are happy with their product. How many of us would give 4.5 stars to a bank? Great user experience and impressive product design haven't always been the focus of the banking industry, but luckily, fintechs have arrived to disrupt the old-fashioned assumption that finances are nightmare-inducing.
I only feel that I’ve gone wrong when I neglected my own values. The moments I'd go back to change are whenever I gave in or compromised my beliefs.
“I’ve always been so lucky to feel that my current job was the best job in the world to have,” Anne Marie says. After fifteen years in corporate environments, she fell in love with the challenge presented by Lunar's founder, Ken Villum Klausen. "I thought, he's a visionary. The disruption at Lunar has quality to it, and there's a strong wish to challenge the status quo. That was my first feeling, and I thought it was awesome."
She notes that many corporations would like to have a challenger mindset, but it’s difficult building such a mindset, and it’s extremely difficult to maintain. At first glance, many might assume that the move from an established corporation like Microsoft to an up-and-coming fintech was risky. “But for me, it was an opportunity to join an organization with an entrepreneurial spirit, where I could have influence on the company's overall strategy and execution across borders. At Lunar, I was given the opportunity to become part of one of the most innovative companies in the Nordics, developing the financial solutions of the future.”
However, the transition from corporate to scaleup presented itself with lots of learnings. "Corporate life is more steady, but it's still tough,” she says. “You work hard, you have challenges. But in startups and scaleups, the pace of change is faster, which brings extra pressure to the challenges and opportunities. The higher the heights, the lower the lows. But I love it. Trying out the scaleup world was one of the best decisions I've ever made." Her new position at Lunar brings her not only happiness but a lot of learning as well. "I learn every day. There are always new challenges and new goals to achieve, right? New tasks I have to figure out how to do together with the team." Navigating in a company that has, as all others, been affected by the macro trends and crises in the industry has been her biggest learning so far.
No digital challenger has succeeded with half-angry customers. My tip is to reward the colleagues who show the greatest customer empathy.
Lunar is a fully regulated and licensed bank, and it goes without saying that the financial space is highly regulated. "It takes time and effort and resources to integrate into all the necessary public infrastructure," she says. All the more impressive, then, is that Lunar is now live with banking services across the Nordics and soon opening for businesses in Sweden. Some of the services to customers are offered with partners; e.g., a brand-new loan solutions for businesses, which is done in partnership with Froda, a Swedish fintech in the financing industry, and Visa.
According to Anne Marie, the secret ingredient to startup and scaleup success is persistence, and not only because it builds a lovely story. "It's not about talent,” she says. “You can have a great team and awesome ideas, but in the end, it's persistence that makes a difference. Many ideas with a lot of potential have died due to the lack of persistence. I believe in building greatness year after year."
Some of the values Anne Marie brings to the office every day is to give energy to others, to bring clarity on where she and the team is heading, and to act with integrity. She believes that a part of Lunar’s success is that every hire is enthusiastic about the possibility to disrupt. Other reasons for Lunar’s success are its amazing tech teams and a true, integrated customer obsession. "No digital challenger has succeeded with half-angry customers. My tip is to reward the colleagues who show the greatest customer empathy."
As the customer-satisfaction ratings of Lunar grow, so do the accolades that recognize the status quo challenge presented by the digital bank. Lunar is considered the most innovative bank in Denmark, based on consumer rankings collected by Aarhus Universitet and the Danish Innovation Index (DII), focusing on the consumers' perception of creativity, market disruptions and pioneering companies. Lunar is also the fourth-most-innovative brand across industries, featured alongside long-standing innovators like Lego, Naturli and Ikea.
Growing up in Aalborg in the North West of Denmark, there was nothing evident about moving to Copenhagen for Anne Marie, and she didn't really expect to work in some of the most famous corporations in the world, let alone in an innovation-led digital bank. "I moved to Copenhagen for my master's degree and stayed due to the job opportunities. I must say I feel privileged. I can bike home from work every day. Copenhagen is vibrant, buzzing with diverse culture, and there's nature and water close to you," she says. "It's modern and, at the same time, green. It's a capital city where you can raise your kids. You can be of any age group, and you'll still find something to do here."
[Flash Q & A]
What’s your favorite book?
1984 by George Orwell.
Pivot by Vox Media and Det Vi Taler Om by B.T.
What is your most used app?
Favorite place in Copenhagen for deep work or creative thinking:
Walking by the sea. Luckily, all Lunar offices are by the sea.
First thing you need to do when you get to Copenhagen:
Get a bike. True happiness in life: biking through Copenhagen on a warm summer evening.
There are so many great museums in Copenhagen. If only one, then Nationalmuseet. Perfect with children.