Max Levchin’s Affirm surges in Nasdaq debut

Shares of lending startup Affirm Holdings, founded by PayPal’s co-founder Max Levchin, soared in their debut on Wednesday, giving the company a market capitalization of over $22 billion.

Affirm’s shares opened at $90.90 on the Nasdaq, 85.5 percent higher than their upwardly revised initial public offering (IPO) price of $49 apiece. The firm has raised $1.2 billion in its IPO.

The company had targeted a price range of $41 to $44 per share on Monday, to sell around 24.6 million shares in its IPO.

Affirm’s debut underscores a strong week for US IPOs, with at least eight companies slated to price their IPOs this week, looking to raise more than $5 billion in total. It is expected to be the biggest week for listings in more than five years.

Founded in 2012, venture capital-backed Affirm was started to offer small loans to people without credit histories or savings accounts. Over 6.2 million consumers have used the platform as of Sept. 30, 2020, according to a regulatory filing by the company.

For the fiscal year ended June 2020, Affirm raked in $509.5 million in net revenue, with a net loss of $112.6 million, the filing showed.

Major investors of Levchin’s startup include Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC, venture capital firm Spark Capital and Fidelity Management and Research Company LLC.

Affirm was valued just shy of $3 billion at the time of its second last private fundraise in April 2019, according to data from Pitchbook.

The company closed the acquisition of Canadian buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) firm PayBright for C$340 million ($266.35 million) earlier this year, the filing showed.

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Allen & Co were the lead underwriters for the offering.