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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Max Levchin couldn't get a car loan, so he founded Affirm. The buy now, pay later fintech raised $1.2 billion in its public markets debut.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Max Levchin couldn't get a car loan, so he founded Affirm. The buy now, pay later fintech raised $1.2 billion in its public markets debut.

Max Levchin, Affirm CEO
Affirm




Minutes before Affirm's long-awaited IPO raised $1.2 billion for the company, CEO Max Levchin met with Insider to talk about the journey that brought the company here.




He told about the time his credit score was so low that he couldn't get a car loan and had to ask one of his PayPal co-founders to co-sign for him.




"I found out in the rudest way possible that my credit was terrible. The idea that credit score is just stupid and broken and it doesn't work the way it should was something that stayed somewhere deep in my head," said Levchin, who owns about 27.5 million shares of Affirm and is now a billionaire.




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Affirm's much-anticipated debut as a public company was greeted warmly by public investors on Wednesday. Shares soared as high as 110%, opening at $90.90 per share, far above the $49 initial price it set Tuesday evening. The San Francisco-based provider of installment loans raised $1.2 billion from the IPO.Affirm was founded by serial entrepreneur Max Levchin in 2012. Prior to Affirm, Levchin launched over a dozen companies including Slide, a personal media-sharing service that he sold to Google for a reported $182 million, and Glow, a women's reproductive health tech startup where he is still executive chairman today.He is also an original member of the infamous PayPal mafia.As the company's single biggest shareholder, Levchin holds about 27.5 million shares that, at $90/share, are now worth well over $2 billion.
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