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Paypal co-founder Levchin scratches CEO itch in latest role

Billing himself as a "finance nerd," serial entrepreneur Max Levchin decides to take the CEO job at online lending startup Affirm.

Max Levchin Araya Diaz, Getty Images for TechCrunch

Paypal co-founder Max Levchin is returning to the operational side of things, taking on the role of chief executive at consumer finance startup Affirm.

Levchin, who first disclosed his latest startup a little over a year ago, also said the company has raised $45 million from venture capital firms.

"I love payments," Levchin said Monday as he talked about his new company at a tech conference sponsored by Bloomberg, adding that he's "a finance nerd" at heart.

Until recently, Levchin has dabbled behind the scenes as an investor. After the sale of PayPal to eBay, he started and then sold his follow-on startup, Slide, to Google for $182 million in 2010.

With Affirm, which is approximately two years old, Levchin said his ambition is nothing less than an "attempt to completely reinvent consumer finance." Affirm will offer instant lines of credit to qualified applicants at the point of sale. He said the verification process would take "three to four seconds" after vetting someone's phone number and date of birth.

Explaining why he decided to take on a very large and entrenched industry, Levchin repeated the theme he has voiced ever since the public first learned about Affirm, describing the current payments business as a sector waiting to get reinvented.

"If you're good for it, we'll lend to you on the spot," Levchin said.