David Zalik’s GreenSky Credit may be highest-value private fintech company

David Zalik was born in Israel and moved to the U.S. state of Alabama at age 4. As a child prodigy, he was able to completely skip high school. After scoring nearly perfectly on his SAT test, he was invited by Auburn University to attend college there at the age of just 12. But Zalik soon grew bored and left the theoretical life of academia for the hands-on experience of building and running his own business.

He was able to grow his company, MicroTech, to a multimillion-dollar firm, selling it in 1996 for a few million dollars. Now 22 years old, Zalik moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he began investing in commercial real estate. His timing was good as real estate appreciated over the following ten years. He was also able to start his own web-based consulting firm called Outweb. It was from working with some of his largest clients, like Benjamin Moore and Home Depot, that Zalik realized that there was an enormous opportunity for a business that could grease the wheels of the home remodeling business and help contractors sell more jobs to customers. It was this insight that drove him to found GreenSky Credit.

GreenSky Credit is not a traditional lender. It isn’t even a normal fintech company. Rather than originating loans and holding them on its books, GreenSky Credit is a technology firm that simply facilitates matching customers with lenders. GreenSky Credit has 12 major lenders that it works with, matching them to customers that need quick cash for big-ticket items. In this way, GreenSky Credit essentially acts as a credit card replacement for customers who are looking to make high-end purchases.

The brilliance of GreenSky is that it creates strong value for every party involved. For customers who are looking to remodel or repair their homes, the problem is often that they don’t have the ability to accurately assess what things will cost. This often leads to underestimating the bids that will come in on a proposed project. Bids that are too high can sink a lot of deals before they start.

GreenSky is able to provide bridge financing to push these deals through.