Max Levchin is the CEO of Affirm, a financial technology company that offers small loans for online retail purchases. Affirm recently raised $200 million to further expand its market. Levchin is a computer scientist and internet entrepreneur who helped develop start up tech companies in Silicon Valley. His most successful company has been PayPal, but his latest venture, Affirm, is expanding everyday. Affirm recently acquired funding and plans to expand internationally.
Here is what you need to know about Affirm: Max Levchin’s latest venture.
Who is Max Levchin?
Max Levchin was born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1975 while it was still a part of the Soviet Union. His family was filled with scientists, and Max developed a passion for computer technology and coding at an early age. He actually began coding on pen and paper. Max’s family encouraged his dreams, and Max graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois where he began developing start up tech companies, some of which failed. He moved to Silicon Valley in the late 1990’s and quickly became successful. Levchin would go on to co-found start ups including Slide, Yelp, PayPal and HVC. In 2002 Levchin was named Innovator of the year and one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35 by the Technology Review TR100. Levchin resides in San Francisco with his wife Nellie Minkova and their two children.
In 1999 Max Levchin co-founded PayPal with fellow entrepreneur Peter Thiel with the help of Elon Musk and Reid Hoffman. The company offered small loans for internet retail purchases. Millennials are the biggest users of PayPal because they don’t want or can’t get a credit card. PayPal charges no fees or penalties and loans can be three, six or twelve month. In 2002 PayPal went public and was sold to EBay for $1.5 billion. It was difficult for Levchin to let go of his role as Chief Technological Advisor to PayPal, so he needed to develop another company.
Max Levchin founded Slide in 2004, a personal media-sharing service for social media sites including Myspace and Facebook. He sold Slide to Google in 2010 for over $180 million. Levchin went on to start Yelp, the online review service. He also served on the Board of Directors of Evernote until last year. He founded HVF (“Hard, Valuable, Fun”) in 2011. The company explored and funded data collecting companies. HVF led to Affirm.
Affirm, a financial technologies company was started in 2016 by Levchin and partners Nathan Gettings and Jeff Kaditz of Palantir Technologies and First Data respectively. Affirm is based in San Francisco and Levchin serves as the companies CEO.
Like PayPal, Affirm offers loans for online purchasing from a network of retail companies. There are no hidden fees or penalties, unlike some credit cards. Loans are anywhere from three to twelve months and annual interest rates are between 10 and 30 percent. Affirm has been a hit with millennials who either don’t want a credit card. Affirm is expanding its retail network and hopes to gain more business internationally.
Affirm works with 1,200 retailers including Wayfair, Expedia, Casper and Cole Haan. The virtual credit card also allows purchases outside of its network. To day, Affirm has given more than 1 million loans. Loans are given at point of sale when online customers check out. It offers safe and secure loans hidden fees. Users can choose their payment plan and once completed, the loan is complete. Its a safe, easy and affordable way to make online purchases. Customers are attracted by the open processes. When making larger purchases, the online loans are welcome. Loans are easy to pay. Affirm sends a reminder and accepts payment by check, bank transfer or debit card.
Latest Affirm Venture
Affirm has gained Series F Funding to further its scope. The biggest investment has come from Singapore’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (GIC). Max Levchin has worked with GIC before. The respected fund management company has long invested in the “fintech” market. Other contributors to the tech financing company include Khosla Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners Founders Fund, Sparks Capital, Caffeinated Capital and Ribbet Capital. The total value of the fund raising is between $1.5 and 2 billion up from the last fund raising effort which garnered $800 million. Obviously, investment companies see potential in Affirm. Max Levchin says that Affirm will use the funds to expand the retailers it works with, introduce new products and services, and plans to expand internationally.