Max Levchin launches mobile payment startup Affirm out of new lab venture

Max Levchin has launched a new payments startup called Affirm that will attempt to convert mobile browsers into mobile customers by instituting one-click checkouts, AllThingsD reported Tuesday. The longtime Silicon Valley entrepreneur sat down with Om in January to talk about his new R&D lab called HVF (Hard Valuable Fun), and Affirm is the first startup out of that project.

Affirm screenshot Max LevchinLevchin co-founded PayPal and then sold his second company, Slide, to Google for hundreds of millions. Slide came out of MRL Ventures, a similar type of R&D lab, that also produced Yelp as one of its companies. The Ukraine-born founder first pitched his idea for the new lab in Munich in January of this year, and explained the idea behind it to Om:

“As we become more connected, we can make things a lot more efficient around us,” he said at the time. “There is a lot of change that is going to happen.” Levchin explained that the companies coming out of HVF would revolve around the importance of data and how we use it. He said at the time that he was almost ready to launch two different ventures from the self-funded lab.

Affirm will allow merchants to convert mobile browsers to buyers by making purchases easier for people who don’t want to pull out their credit cards. The company’s website explains the concept behind it:

“The mobile shopping experience attracts a certain type of shopper – impulsive, time-constrained, exploratory. Retailers must evaluate how their purchase flow aligns with these motivations. Affirm greases the skids between intent and purchase for these shoppers.”

The concept sounds very much like PayPal or Square or any number of other payments startups on the market right now, but Affirm is looking to distinguish itself by acting as a digital charge card where users can add items to their tab and then pay later, according to the report. At launch, the company is just launching with one partner, 1-800-Flowers, but is allowing more interested merchants to sign up.