PayPal co-founder Levchin launches e-commerce startup

Silicon Valley all-star Max Levchin launches Affirm, a startup focusing on making one-click payments from smartphones.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
PayPal co-founder Max Levchin launches mobile-payments startup Affirm. Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET

PayPal co-founder Max Levchin is bringing his e-commerce business smarts to a mobile-payments startup he's launching called Affirm, according to AllThingsD.

What's different about Affirm from other mobile-payment companies, like Square and Stripe, is that it's goal is to make payments happen with as few clicks as possible -- similar to how buying something on a desktop computer works.

"We are trying to get as close as possible to one-click, which has always been the case on the desktop," Levchin told AllThingsD. "In mobile, it has become an imperative to be able to buy it now or you lose a customer quickly."

Affirm will use Facebook authentication to verify the identity of buyers and then will guarantee payment to merchants, according to AllThingsD. It might also verify buyers by using ZIP code income ranges and people's mobile device IDs. The startup's beta launch partner is 1-800-Flowers.

"You will essentially be putting a purchase on a digital tab, and we are going to make it work for us by looking at all available data to determine if you are someone who will pay it back," Levchin told ATD.

Levchin has had quite a career in the tech world. After co-founding PayPal and selling it to eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion, he went on to start the social-media company Slide, which was eventually acquired by Google in 2010. He left Google in 2011. In December, Levchin was appointed to Yahoo's board.

Affirm was funded in the "low-digit millions" by Levchin and some of his friends, according to AllThingsD. Besides Affirm, Levchin is also running HVF, a company operating in the Big Data space.