Max Levchin’s Affirm shares soar more than 100% in Nasdaq debut
US provider of small loans to online shoppers raises $1.2bn
Bengaluru — Shares of Affirm, founded by PayPal's co-founder Max Levchin, doubled in their Nasdaq debut on Wednesday, valuing the US provider of instalment loans to online shoppers at more than $22bn.
Affirm's shares opened at $90.90 and were trading at $99.68 apiece before the close, 103% higher than the $49 price at which the company had sold shares in its initial public offering (IPO) on Tuesday to raise $1.2bn. The IPO price was above the target price range Affirm had set.
“We have gotten to the point of the journey where we’re on the precipice of become a known brand among both the investor community, and consumers and merchants. Being publicly traded is helpful in that regard,” Levchin said in a telephone interview.
At least eight US companies were slated to price IPOs this week, looking to raise more than $5bn in total in what was expected to be the biggest week for listings in more than five years.
Affirm is another example of a company whose stock price doubled on the first trading day, a trend that has led to criticism about how investment banks price shares in an IPO.
“Ultimately what happens tomorrow at closing or the day after or a week after will be a total footnote a week from now. If I am to be judged by a share price, consider giving us quarters and years of delivering our mission,” said Levchin, speaking before the stock had started trading.
Venture capital-backed Affirm was founded in 2012 to offer small loans to people without credit histories or savings accounts. More than 6.2-million consumers have used the platform by September 30 2020, the company has said.
Major investors of Levchin's start-up include Peter Thiel's Founder Fund, Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC, venture capital firm Spark Capital and Fidelity Management and Research Company.
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