Levchin’s entrepreneurial efforts have been recognized by EY, the international professional services company.
Max Levchin/ Getty
Max Levchin is the recipient of the EY Innovation award for 2013, presented at the Chicago Ideas Week Tech Summit, held at the Cadillac Palace Theater, in the center of the city
Levchin, who sprang to prominence as one of the co-founders of the PayPal payment processing company, was also the featured speaker at the annual event, which showcases the achievements of the leading players in the world of entrepreneurship, web, design, data processing and innovation.
The EY Innovation Award is presented to individuals from the business world whose values reflect those of EY. These include:
- Building and nurturing management teams that not only perform well but work together for a common goal.
- Manage their business in order to inspire trust with their suppliers as well as their client base.
- Successfully collaborate with government and financial bodies in order to foster sustainable, long-term growth for the company.
- Develop their employees and subcontractors to aspire to think and act in unique and innovative ways.
A spokesperson for EY stated that the company applauds Max’s innovative spirit and his ability to inspire others to reach beyond the ordinary and build a better working world. “Max’s endeavors are bold and forward-looking, and we’re honored to recognize his achievements.” Summed up the spokesperson
In addition to presenting Levchin with the EY Innovation Award, the US satellite of EY also presented a $5, 000 scholarship in his name to a college student, who has been seen to develop especially innovative qualities. The student, Akash Shah, attends the University of Illinois, where Levchin also studied.
Ernst & Young’s Innovation Award was established in 2011 in collaboration with the City of Chicago, the University of Illinois and the annual Chicago Ideas Week. The purpose of the initiative, showcased during Chicago Ideas Week is to reach out to college students in the Midwest of America technology and encourage them to remain in Chicago after graduation.
Max Levchin was born in the city of Kyiv in the Ukraine. Levchin’s family left the Ukraine after the breakdown of communist control, making their home in Chicago, Illinois in 1991 when Max was already sixteen. After successfully completing High School, Levchin went on to study Computer Science at the University of Illinois, earning his bachelor degree in 1997. While studying at the University of Illinois Max was involved in the establishment of two Internet orientated companies, NetMeridian Software and SponsorNet New Media.
After graduation, Levchin founded his third online enterprise in partnership with another fellow graduate Peter Thiel. The company was originally entitled Fieldlink, later changed to Confinity. It was while working together at Confinity, that Levchin and Thiel developed a simple but friendly payment product which the payer appropriately titled PayPal. After merging Confinity with another up-and-coming Internet entity X.com, the new collaboration was re-titled PayPal Inc.
After going public in the early part of 2002 PayPal Inc., captured the attention of online portal eBay who acquired the company for around $1.5 billion the same year, with Levchin, who held a 2.3% stake in PayPal walking away around $34 million richer.
All in all 2002 was a very very good year for Max Levchin, seeing him recognized as being as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35, as well as Innovator of the Year, in the prestigious MIT Technology Review.
After spending some time working with the development team at eBay, Levchin left the company to pursue his entrepreneurial initiatives. His first startup in his post PayPal days was Slide, which Levchin founded in 2004, and was one of the original personal media-sharing software tools geared towards social networking sites such as MySpace and the early versions of Facebook.
That same year, Max Levchin involved in the co-founding of another Internet enterprise entitled Yelp, which was also an online social networking and review service. Levchin remains there their largest shareholder, holding more than seven million shares in the company, whilst acting as Chairman of the Board for the last nine years.
Google acquired Slide in August 2010 paying Levchin $182 Million for the company, as well as appointing him Vice President in charge of Engineering. Just a year later, Google absorbed the Slide software company under the general operations, and Levchin wound of his association with the company
Towards the end of 2011, Max Levchin established his own form of venture capital fund which he entitled Hard, Valuable, and Fun or HVF for short. The goal of HVF was to source and if need be fund individuals, projects and companies in the growing sector of Internet activity known as data leveraging.
Two of HVF’s early projects are Affirm , a software company working on developing the next generation of credit network software and Glow, a company that has developed an application that will hopefully help couples who experiencing difficulties in conceiving.