GreenSky Credit has gone from a self-financed startup to one of the biggest names in the fintech industry. In 2018, it is estimated that the firm will originate more than $5 billion in big-ticket retail loans, an astonishing figure for a company that was only founded in 2006. And this brainchild of serial entrepreneur David Zalik is now mulling a possible IPO, which would be one of the biggest ever to occur in the fintech sector.
No foosball or beer dispensers but lots of cashflow
Zalik is not a typical tech entrepreneur. He came to the world of tech almost by accident. Working on another one of his companies, he got a peek at the financial statements of some of the biggest home remodeling companies in America. Zalik quickly noticed a serious leak in the business model of these companies. They were collectively losing billions of dollars in revenue from customers that were simply running out of cash to complete their projects.
This was the impetus behind GreenSky Credit. But as Zalik cashed out his personal fortune of around $12 million and bet literally every cent of it on the future of GreenSky Credit, his approach was so different from others in the fintech industry that he quickly became identified as an outsider. Zalik is still proud of the fact that GreenSky Credit headquarters doesn’t feature any foosball tables, beer dispensers, beanbag chairs or other hallmarks of Silicon Valley excess, hubris and general craziness that detract from the fundamentals of business. Zalik has even been known to quip that he believes all tech startups should be self-financed because when you give $30 million to a new startup, it’s $30 million that almost always could have been better spent.
And this attitude is reflected in the way that GreenSky does business. The company has put all its creative energy into growth, reaching over $5 billion in new loans that are spread over 17,000 retail representatives in 2019 alone. Industry analysts say that any GreenSky IPO could be one of the largest that the fintech industry has ever seen, with some estimates circulating that the company could be valued at upwards of $10 billion.