Jan 20, 2022 - Economy & Business

Affirm's Max Levchin talks about fintech's stock slump

Max Levchin

Max Levchin. Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images

Max Levchin, the PayPal co-founder who now runs buy-now-pay-later pioneer Affirm, says he doesn't understand the stock market's ups and downs. But he isn't sweating it.

What he's saying: "In terms of operating as a public company, I heard lots of CEOs tell me everything changes or everything's very different," Levchin told Axios' Ryan Lawler during the Axios Pro kickoff event on Thursday. "I think we're one of the exceptions, in the sense that we were already a very regulated entity, we were already auditing ourselves."

Affirm's market value has whipsawed since its January 2021 listing. After a steady rise throughout the year, it sank starting in November and is now valued at $17.7 billion. Its stock dropped more than 60% from its peak three months ago.

Big picture: The broader fintech sector is getting clobbered, along with the rest of the market. Fintech IPO listings (ex. insurtechs and proptechs) are down an average of 35.4% since their first-day closing price, according to Renaissance Capital.

Market intelligence: Levchin also discussed how younger consumers want transparency and clarity in their personal finance, without late fees or gimmicks. And he pushed back against claims that Affirm is lacking in those areas.

  • "Affirm is unique, among our competitive set, in that we do report our longer-term transactions to the bureaus. We’ve also been engaging with recently, quite a lot, around the idea of reporting shorter-term transactions as well," he said.
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