• Jul 11, 1975
    (b.) - ?

Bio/Description

A Ukrainian-born American computer scientist and internet entrepreneur, he is widely known as one of the co-founders (along with Peter Thiel and Elon Musk) and for his role as the former Chief Technology Officer of PayPal. He is considered to be a member of the PayPal Mafia. Born in Kyiv, Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union) to a Jewish family, he moved to the United States under political asylum, and settled in Chicago in 1991. He attended Mather High School and then earned his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1997, and co-founded two companies that made Internet-tools, NetMeridian Software and SponsorNet New Media. In 1998, he founded Fieldlink with John Bernard Powers (who left the company shortly thereafter) and Peter Thiel. After changing the company name to Confinity, they developed a popular payment product known as PayPal. After a merger with X.com, the combined entity was renamed PayPal, Inc. PayPal Inc. went public in February 2002, and was subsequently acquired by eBay. He worked there with Peter Thiel, Roelof Botha, and David Sacks. His 2.3% stake in PayPal was worth approximately $34 million at the time of the acquisition. In 2002, he was named to the MIT Technology Review TR100 as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35, as well as Innovator of the Year. He is primarily known for his contributions to PayPal's anti-fraud efforts, and is the co-creator of the Gausebeck-Levchin test, one of the first commercial implementations of a CAPTCHA. In 2004, he founded Slide, a personal media-sharing service for social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. Slide was sold to Google in August 2010 for $182 Million and, on August 25, he joined Google as Vice President of Engineering. On August 26, 2011, Google announced it was shutting down Slide, and that he was leaving the company. He co-founded Yelp, an online social networking and review service which developed out of a business incubator called MRL Ventures that he co-founded with several former PayPal executives. After a lunch meeting he had with Jeremy Stoppleman and Russel Simmons, Stoppleman proposed a website where users could ask friends for their recommendations on local services via email and he agreed to invest $1 million in the project. MRL co-founder, David Galbraith, who had instigated the research into a Yellow Pages style Internet product, came up with the name "Yelp", and the project was launched in 2004. In late 2012 or early 2013, he started a company called HVF (standing for Hard, Valuable, and Fun) that was intended to explore and fund projects and companies in the area of leveraging data, such as data from analog sensors. In May 2013, HVF helped launched Glow, a company with an eponymous app to help parents conceive babies. He has appeared as a speaker at the Startup School organized by Y Combinator, where he describes his own journey as an entrepreneur and the mistakes he made and lessons he learned. He was an Executive Producer for the movie Thank You for Smoking. He was also featured in "Brilliant Issue" of Portfolio by Condé Nast Publications. He is collaborating with Garry Kasparov and Peter Thiel on The Blueprint, a book calling for a revival of world innovation. Thiel and Levchin expounded on their thesis in an interview during TechCrunch Disrupt. The book, originally scheduled for a January 2012 release, has been postponed. In December 2012, Yahoo named him to its Board Of Directors, as two other Board members are stepping down. This addition is another move towards Marissa Mayer‘s efforts to revamp Yahoo with a technology focus. On Feb 26th, 2013 he revealed his return to the payment world with a new company called Affirm. Like many startups, Affirm is looking to make online payments quicker and easier. In an interview with AllThingsD he revealed that Affirm will issue credit to consumers and guarantee payment to merchants for all online transactions. Affirm will use Facebook to verify a user's identity, and will also use a wide range of social and location-based data to determine an individual's credit worthiness. The payment startup will launch in beta with 1-800-Flowers as its partner. It is said that consumers will be given 30 days to settle the resulting bill with Affirm. He currently serves on the Boards of Yelp, Kaggle and Evernote.
  • Date of Birth:

    Jul 11, 1975
  • Noted For:

    Co-developer of the payment product known as PayPal; and co-creator of the Gausebeck-Levchin test, one of the first commercial implementations of a CAPTCHA
  • Category of Achievement:

  • More Info: