Max Levchin steps down from Yelp’s board, a sign Affirm is taking off

Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal and serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur, has resigned from his long-held position as Yelp’s chairman and director.

Levchin has stepped down so he can “pursue other interests,” Yelp said in a statement Tuesday.

“I am extremely proud of what Yelp has accomplished over the last 11 years and believe I leave it well-positioned to take advantage of the large local advertising market,” Levchin said in a statement. “I’m confident that Yelp is prepared to continue its success as I increase my focus on my CEO responsibilities at Affirm, along with other demands on my time.”

The move allows Levchin to dedicate more time to his fast-growing company Affirm, an online financing platform for consumer and education loans, and what for Levchin is a natural extension of PayPal. Affirm allows consumers — usually young people without savings — to make big retail purchases, such as a sofa or mattress, and pay for it in monthly installments. Loans are up to 12 months and interest rates can be high as 30 percent — many customers have no credit.

Affirm in May raised $275 million, and now has a total of $320 million from investors such as Andreessen Horowitz and Khosla Ventures.

Levchin is a fixture in the Affirm office in the San Francisco financial district. He’s involved in the day-to-day operations —  so he could “push the train forward and make the train run on time,” he told the Mercury News recently — and oversee new product launches. Affirm recently started offering loans for coding bootcamps and business education programs. Affirm has deals with education providers General Assembly, Bloc and Kaplan that allows students to attend these short-term, tech- and data science-focused education programs with an Affirm loan.

“It’s really about the unemployed and underemployed,” Brad Selby, vice president of merchant services for Affirm, told the Mercury News in a recent interview. “If we can help these people go get six-figure jobs, that’s great.”

Students pay as they go in monthly installments; interest rates range from 6 percent to 20 percent. The average full-time programming course in the U.S. costs $9,900 with some courses charging up to $20,000 in tuition.

“The people who are getting a 20 percent rate almost certainly are not going to be able to get financing elsewhere,” Selby said.

Levchin also founded Glow, an app to track infertility, where he is chairman of the board; he is not involved in the day-to-day operations there. He is also an independent director at Yahoo and Evernote.


Photo: Max Levchin near his office in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, March 14, 2013. Levchin , one of the co-founders of Paypal is launching his own mobile payment platform, called Affirm. By John Green/Bay Area News Group.


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  • Robert

    Or is it because Yelp’s stock fell 28%?

  • SVCEORecruiter


    Make me wonder if the author had any knowledge of the Yelp situation at all. More like a ‘shill’ piece for Max and his new silly company.

    Not exactly the hard-hitting journalist yet, are we Heather?