PayPal co-founder pays a visit to Carnegie Mellon campus
Max Levchin, co-founder and former chief technology officer of PayPal, visited Carnegie Mellon on Tuesday. Levchin currently runs HVF, which stands for Hard, Valuable, Fun, and is an umbrella for various big data projects. HVF has spun out two companies, Affirm and Glow, both of which solve innovative problems using big data.
Glow is an app that helps couples, typically in their 30s or 40s, who are trying to have a child. It relies on the power of big data to help women predict the times when they are most likely to conceive. Women who want to conceive use the app to note down their mood and body vitals, including basal body temperature, period cycle, and other metrics. Glow analyzes all this data and uses it to come up with a model that can predict the time period during which a woman is most likely to conceive, down to a few hours. Glow also provides a way for couples to allay the cost of infertility treatment, should they need it after ten months of regularly using the app to try to conceive.
Levchin also spoke about his other venture, Affirm, which looks to redefine consumer credit by allowing users to make payments in fixed monthly installments. The service is consumer-friendly in that it is committed to “clear, upfront pricing,” and doesn’t charge any hidden fees. The amount of each installment is decided at checkout, and the service uses big data to model the consumer credit reliability and decide the fixed fee that each customer must pay for the loan.
Levchin is a supporter for women in technology, and believes that there is a lack of female role models for young women interested in science and technology. He said he hopes to scour Silicon Valley for what he called “women nerds” like Marissa Mayer, the chief executive officer of Yahoo. He hopes that “elevating them to the front page … of TechCrunch” will help provide inspiration for young girls. He noted that young girls need such women to look up to and justified it, saying, “As much as I would love to, I should not be my daughter’s inspiration.”