Max Levchin was born in Ukraine but got his education in computer science in the United States. After graduating from college, he co-founded, along with Peter Thiel the company that became PayPal. PayPal went public in 2002 and in a few months, it was acquired by eBay. Levchin had a stake of 2.3% at that time and it was worth approximately $34 million at that time. Levchin is one of a group of around 20 founders and former employees of PayPal which is now referred to as the “PayPal Mafia“. It is so called because of their success in founding in technology companies after leaving PayPal. Other members of this “Mafia” include Steve Chen, Reid Hoffman among others.
He has co-founded the companies Slide.com, HVF and Affirm. He is also the co-creator of the Gausebeck-Levchin test, one of the first commercial implementations of a CAPTCHA. Levchin was also one of the early investor in Yelp, the social networking and review service that started in 2004. Moreover, he is the largest shareholder of the company owning more than 7 million shares. He is also an investor in Evernote. In 2015, he established the Levchin Prize, which $10,000 annually to people who have provided “significant contributions to real-world cryptography.