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PayPal co-founder Max Levchin netted a reported $34 million when his brainchild was sold to eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion. Ever since that day, the sometimes weird whiz kid Levchin, now 39, has been trying to do it again.
Now he told the San Jose Mercury News that he did.
Actually, he has been into another impressive project since PaPal, helping to start Yelp, the gripe and review site which is worth about $5.4 billion, and then there was Slide, a social gaming site that Google bought in 2010 for an estimated $200 million.
Now Levchin has launched Affirm, an online lending platform that offers personalized financing for. He announced last June that Affirm had raised $45 million in its first venture capital funding round. And people are paying attention, expecting Affirm to reach a PayPal kind of success.
Like PayPal, Affirm uses the Internet to move money around, in a secure fashion, which has the potential of peeling off yet another traditional bastion of global financial institutions, offering consumers buying power they never had before.
“I’m not trying to correct the wrongs of the past,” Levchin told the San Jose Mercury News. “But the underlying structure of the finance industry is still decrepit.”
Affirm offers consumers, especially young people, who don’t yet have cash or credit to their names, the financing they need to make big purchases, with delayed payments and monthly payment plans, helping them stay away from the scourge of credit card debt.
Scott Banister, an investor and former business partner of Levchin’s, described Affirm as “Max getting back into financial services with everything he learned from PayPal. You will definitely see big things.”
Levchin grew up in Kiev, Ukraine, in a Jewish family that fled rising anti-Semitism for Chicago, where they arrived when Max was 16.
About the Author: Tibbi Singer is a veteran contributor to publications such as Israel Shelanu and the US supplement of Yedioth, and Jewish Business News.
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