Consumer lender Affirm raises $300M to fund rapid expansion

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Affirm Inc. announced Wednesday that it has raised $300 million in new equity funding — money that postpones the need for the fast-growing Silicon Valley lender to stage an initial public offering.

San Francisco-based Affirm said that it plans to use the funds to continue to hire top talent and to achieve greater scale. The privately held company currently has more than 550 employees, and it plans to add hundreds more this year, a company spokeswoman said.

Up to 100 new employees could be added in 2019 in Pittsburgh, where Affirm recently opened an office that will focus on loan servicing and company operations.

With the latest fundraising round, Affirm, which was founded in 2012, has raised a total of $800 million in equity funding. The Series F round was led by Thrive Capital, a venture capital investment firm based in New York. Other investors included Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund and the actor-turned-tech investor Ashton Kutcher.

“I think it’s safe to say that we had extremely strong interest in this round,” said Elizabeth Allin, Affirm’s vice president of communications.

Affirm, which was started by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, partners with retailers to offer installment loans that consumers use to finance specific purchases. In February, the company announced a partnership with Walmart, which will enable the Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant to offer point-of-sale loans for the first time.

Affirm loans are currently available at more than 2,000 merchants, according to the company, which said that its loan volume in 2018 surpassed $2 billion.

“The past year has been an incredible period for Affirm, and this investment validates our stage as a mature, established and respected leader in an extremely competitive industry,” Levchin said in a press release.

Affirm also announced Wednesday that it has hired Silvija Martincevic as its chief commercial officer and Greg Fisher as chief marketing officer. Martincevic is joining the company from Groupon, and Fisher is arriving from PayPal. Both are expected to start at Affirm this month.

Levchin has spoken in the past about his long-term desire to take Affirm public.

But an initial public offering is not on the company’s road map anytime soon, Allin said. Referring to the $300 million in new funding, she added: “This gives us pretty good runway to continue growth and scale.”

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