Disruptor 50 2020

23. Affirm

Founders: Max Levchin (CEO), Nathan Gettings, Jeff Kaditz
Launched: 2012
Headquarters: San Francisco
 $800 million
Valuation: $2.9 billion (PitchBook)
Key technologies:
 Machine learning, software-defined security
 E-commerce, financial services, fintech
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 1 (No. 33 in 2019)

George Kavallines

Affirm offers shoppers a buy-now-pay-later alternative to credit cards. The company was started by former PayPal co-founder Max Levchin and uses proprietary algorithms at the point of sale to determine a person's creditworthiness. This is especially useful for folks who don't have an extensive credit history yet or fear having ongoing credit card debt. If approved, borrowers can select a 6-, 12-, or 18-month repayment period, with the monthly interest expressed in dollars, not as an interest rate. There is no compounding interest, nor does the company charge late fees.

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In October, Affirm launched a new app that enables current and new users to make purchases and pay over time at nearly any online retailer and in-store location where Apple Pay and Google Pay are accepted.

Last year the company announced that its financing options would be available in more than 4,000 Walmart Supercenters in the U.S. and would roll out to Walmart.com as well. Customers can check their eligibility for an Affirm loan online before visiting a store and get a decision in real time. Once approved, the customer gets a bar code that can be used at checkout for purchases ranging from $150 to $2,0000. Affirm is available at 4,000 other merchants, including Warby Parker, Wayfair, The RealReal and Peloton.

Recognizing the financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the company has launched a new payment flexibility option for consumers. Affirm has tools that allow consumers to proactively reach out to the company to discuss their situation so that it can come up with solutions tailored for each customer's circumstances

The company has raised over $800 million in equity funding since launching in 2012, including a $300 million round led by Thrive Capital last April.

A look back at the CNBC Disruptor 50: 8 years, 209 companies