Levchin, a serial entrepreneur who co-founded payments company PayPal and game maker Slide, is returning to the role of chief executive for the first time in four years to run Affirm, a startup hatched out of his technology incubator last year, he said in an interview.
Over the past year, Affirm has quietly raised $45 million from venture capital firms including Khosla Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Nyca Partners and assembled a team of 32 that includes Nathan Gettings, co-founder of big-data startup Palantir.
Affirm is one of just two startups to come out of HVF so far, along with fertility-monitoring software maker Glow.
“Finance is one of them.” E-commerce sites including makeup boutique Beautylish, electric-bicycle seller Faraday and online consignment shop Twice have started using Affirm to offer customers instant lines of credit for purchasing items on their sites.
Rather than rely on FICO credit scores, Affirm calculates the risk of borrowers based on a range of personal data including information gleaned from social-media profiles as well as the cost of the items being purchased.
Affirm is one of several Web startups experimenting with more flexible loans.
“A tradition based on trust, relationship and community which doesn’t judge you based on traditional credit scoring. It’s more akin to running a tab at the local store.” Beautylish customers who use Affirm also make larger purchases and return to shop more often, Johnson said.