The year 2016 was big for GreenSky Credit. The privately held company was able to raise $50 million in funding which secured them a $2 billion lending deal with Fifth Third Bank. The financial tech company is now valued at $3.6 billion. Its CEO and founder, David Zalik, wants more.
David Zalik’s Incredible Beginnings
I first read the incredible story of David and his financial tech company in Bloomberg. A quick Internet search led me to articles in the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. There’s also some interesting tidbits on Wikipedia. But it’s the origin story of GreenSky Credit that really blows me away.
The founder dropped out of college. He was having too much financial success. In fact, he didn’t even graduate from high school. He was sent to Auburn University at the age of 14 before he could graduate high school because he showed promise in math. He began making tons of money selling computers that he’d made from scratch to students at incredible discounts. His college company expanded, he played with the idea of creating software and then he dropped out altogether when he had the idea for GreenSky Credit.
This is where he put everything on the line. He leveraged his Georgia real estate for $10 million to start a smartphone app. The app allows him to crack into the most profitable demographic in America. It’s a streamlined service that hooks traditional banks up with homeowners in order to secure home improvement loans.
The app itself is pretty ingenious. A scan of a drivers license fills most of the application out. Keying in a social security number and checking a box for a credit check will give the user a decision in just a few minutes.
GreenSky Credit is the middleman. The homeowner connects to banks through the app. Contractors get to work after the bank funds the loan. And the financial tech company gets part of the profits from both the contractors and the banks. This all comes at no extra cost to the homeowner.