Chris Larsen

Co-founded the company OpenCoin, which began developing a new payment protocol called Ripple, based on a concept developed by Ryan Fugger
Summary

Chris Larsen is a business executive and angel investor who co-founded several Silicon Valley technology startups, including E-Loan, an online mortgage lender. He is known for being a vocal advocate of financial privacy and was a co-founder of the coalition Californians for Privacy Now. In 2006, Larsen co-founded Prosper Marketplace and served as CEO until 2012. 

Later in 2012, he co-founded the company Ripple Labs, Inc., which developed Ripple, software that enables the instant and direct transfer of money between two parties. In 2018, Forbes estimated Larsen's worth at $59 billion, briefly putting him ahead of Mark Zuckerberg and into fifth place in their list of the world's richest people. Larsen and Ripple each donated US$1 million to five San Francisco food banks for COVID-19 relief efforts in 2020. Born in San Francisco, California in 1960, Larsen earned a B.S. in international business and accounting from San Francisco State University in 1984 and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1991.

Biography

Chris Larsen is a business executive and angel investor best known for co-founding several Silicon Valley technology startups, including one based on peer to peer lending. He was born in San Francisco, California, in 1960. His mother worked as a freelance illustrator, while his father worked as an aircraft mechanic for United Airlines at San Francisco International Airport.

After high school, Larsen attended San Francisco State University, where he earned a B.S. in international business and accounting in 1984. He began working for Chevron after college, doing financial audits in Brazil, Ecuador, and Indonesia. He graduated with an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1991.

Larsen's career in the technology industry began in the early 1990s when he began working at a mortgage lender in Palo Alto, California. Becoming friends with his colleague Janina Pawlowski, they quit their jobs together in 1992 to found a mortgage business. By 1996, they had switched their focus from loans to the development of a mortgage lending website. Both Larsen and Pawlowski had been frustrated with aspects of the mortgage lending industry and saw the Internet as a way to circumvent agent commissions and other fees.

Initially raising $450,000 in funding from friends and family, Larsen and Pawlowski moved from their small Palo Alto office to a larger "low-rent site" in nearby Dublin to work on the project. The E-Loan website became accessible to the public in 1997 and had success as one of the first online mortgage lenders in the United States. The website allows borrowers to search and shop for loans directly, without the fees charged by brokers and sales agents. The website would later begin offering direct home equity and car loans as well.

By 1998, E-Loan was running into difficulty funding its operations. Pawlowski had served as chief executive officer for the first two years, and in 1998 she offered to switch jobs with Larsen, taking Larsen's previous role of President. Pawlowski and Larsen were in talks with Intuit over a $130 million buyout in the fall of 1998. Days before the deal closed in August, however, Yahoo CEO Timothy Koogle pitched a deal to buy a 23% stake of E-Loan's outstanding shares for $25 million. Both Larsen's and Pawlowski's payouts would be less, but they would retain control of the company and the E-Loan brand would survive. Choosing to work with Yahoo, E-Loan also raised venture capital from Softbank and Sequoia Capital.

In late March 1999, E-Loan filed for an initial public offering, and it went public in June 1999. The company processed $470 million of mortgage loans in the first quarter of 1999, and by the second financial quarter, revenues for the year had reached $4.6 million. E-Loan lost $13 million in 1999, but revenues continued to increase in 2000 when the company reported revenue of $51.8 million.

During his tenure as CEO, E-Loan became the first company to freely provide consumers' with FICO credit scores. By 2000, E-Loan's market value was estimated at $1 billion. In 2005, Larsen left the company when it was sold to Banco Popular.

In 2006, Larsen co-founded Prosper Marketplace and served as CEO until 2012. Later in 2012, he co-founded the company Ripple Labs, Inc., which developed Ripple, software that enables the instant and direct transfer of money between two parties. Ripple's mission is to make cross-border payments faster, cheaper, and more efficient.


In 2012, Larsen co-founded Ripple, a payment protocol and cryptocurrency company. Ripple's primary goal is to enable secure, instantly verifiable global financial transactions with no chargebacks. Ripple's payment protocol, known as the Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP), is built on a distributed open-source protocol, a consensus ledger, and its own cryptocurrency, XRP. Larsen served as the CEO of Ripple until 2016, and then transitioned to executive chairman.

Under Larsen's leadership, Ripple gained significant traction in the financial industry and partnered with major banks and financial institutions worldwide, including American Express, Santander, and Standard Chartered. In 2018, Forbes named Larsen as one of the wealthiest people in the world, with a net worth of $2.1 billion.

In addition to his work at Ripple, Larsen has been involved in several other ventures. In 2005, he co-founded E-LOAN, an online lending platform, and served as the CEO until its acquisition by Popular, Inc. in 2005. He also co-founded Prosper Marketplace, a peer-to-peer lending company, in 2005.

Larsen has been an advocate for financial inclusion and has spoken extensively about the potential of blockchain technology to improve financial services for underserved communities. In 2015, he co-founded the fintech company, Mission Asset Fund, which provides financial services to underserved communities and uses blockchain technology to enable peer-to-peer lending. Overall, Larsen has been a significant figure in the world of fintech, blockchain, and cryptocurrency, and his work has helped to shape the development of these industries.


Vision

Chris Larsen's vision is to create an open financial system that allows for greater access, transparency, and efficiency. He believes that the traditional financial system is outdated and inefficient and that new technologies such as blockchain and digital assets can revolutionize the way financial transactions are conducted.

Larsen is a strong believer in the potential of blockchain technology to transform the financial industry by enabling secure, decentralized transactions and reducing the need for intermediaries. He has also been a vocal advocate for the use of digital assets, such as Bitcoin and XRP, as a means of facilitating cross-border payments and promoting financial inclusion.

In addition to his work in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space, Larsen has also been involved in various philanthropic initiatives. He is a signatory of the Giving Pledge, a commitment by some of the world's wealthiest individuals to donate the majority of their wealth to charitable causes.


Recognition and Awards
Forbes' 2014 list of the 400 richest Americans (#383) Time Magazine's 2014 list of the 100 most influential people in the world Fortune Magazine's 2015 list of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders (#34) The San Francisco Business Times' 2016 Most Admired CEO Award The FinTech Breakthrough Awards' 2019 FinTech CEO of the Year The Blockchain Revolution's 2019 Blockchain Pioneer Award The New York Times' 2021 list of the Top 25 Business Leaders Redefining Philanthropy

References
Chris Larsen
Residence
San Francisco Bay Area, CA, United States
Occupation
Angel investor, business executive & cofounder of Ripple Labs
Known for
Co-founder
Education
San Francisco State University, Stanford Graduate School of Business
Social Media
Sat Mar 02 2024
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