GreenSky facilitates billions of dollars in purchases each year
GreenSky is not yet a household name. But the company, valued at more than $4.5 billion and estimated to be one of the largest fintech companies currently in existence, is quickly heading for international superstardom.
GreenSky was founded in 2006 by former child prodigy and all-around super-entrepreneur David Zalik. Zalik scored nearly perfectly on the SAT test at the age of 12, allowing him to skip high school and immediately begin attending college classes. But shortly thereafter, he grew bored with the overly theoretical work of academia and dropped out of college to start his own business. MicroTech, a computer assembly company, did well. And Zalik was able to grow it into a strong medium-sized business, selling it 10 years later for a respectable $5 million.
Zalik, now aged 22, was able to reinvest his profits into Atlanta-area commercial real estate. This, too, did well, netting him another $5 million or so. But Zalik grew bored with this business and branched out, founding an e-consultancy firm that began working with a number of home-remodeling suppliers, like Home Depot and Benjamin Moore. It was in this business that Zalik first had the idea for GreenSky. It turned out that many customers who had no experience in remodeling or contracting would often estimate the cost of projects to be far lower than the actual price. Unfortunately for contractors and suppliers, this would often cause these customers to back out of the projects, forfeiting the sale for the merchants.
GreenSky was formed as a way to facilitate instantly approved loans at the point of sale, allowing merchants to quickly overcome the most prominent objection to closing deals that they faced in the field: projects running over customers’ budgets.
On the contracting end of the business, GreenSky immediately took off. But Zalik saw the firm’s potential in other areas. He began branching out into solar energy merchants, surgical centers and other big-ticket merchants. Today, the company has more than 17,000 merchants who are able to be matched with 14 of the nation’s top lenders. GreenSky is the only firm that offers true instant point-of-sale loan approval for many of these industries.