GreenSky Credit continues to expand rapidly amid soaring business. The company now offers its loan products through more than 17,000 retailers across the country. And there have been rumors flying that the company may be looking to complete an IPO sometime in the near future. While some analysts have estimated the current value of the company to be around $5 billion, others have speculated that an IPO could ultimately see GreenSky end up with a market capitalization of more than $10 billion. And all this is the product of a company that was founded just 13 years ago.
A simple but brilliant idea
GreenSky was founded by David Zalik, a lifetime entrepreneur and former child prodigy who had been in business for himself since the age of 14. The idea for GreenSky came to Zalik when he was working with a number of large home improvement retailers and contractors as part of his online consulting business. What Zalik quickly realized was that these companies were losing billions of dollars each year in potential sales due to the fact that retail customers simply didn’t have any means of attaining instant bridge financing.
But Zalik had also been involved in the commercial real estate business for decades. He knew that one of the main ways that most commercial real estate development projects get done is through the developers’ access to frictionless and fast bridge financing. Without it, there would be few commercial real estate projects in the United States that could even get off the ground. Zalik wondered why the same sorts of instant credit facilities couldn’t be made available to retail customers. He quickly determined that the answer was that there was no good answer at all why they couldn’t.
In 2006, Zalik was able to build a high-tech interface that retailers and contractors could access in order to help customers instantly apply for loans for up to six-figure amounts. At the same time, he was able to partner with some of the largest lenders in the country. The result has been a company that now does more than $5 billion in new loans per year, helping customers get their home remodeling projects done.
Jed McCaleb is an entrepreneur in the tech industry. Early in his career, in 2000, he founded a company that released eDonkey. eDonkey pioneered decentralized p2p file sharing services. It allowed for multi-source downloads, for instance, which was revolutionary at the time.
Cryptocurrencies were created around a decade ago. Jed McCaleb was one of the earliest players in the industry. He founded Mt. Gox which was the very first website that allowed people a way to exchange bitcoins. He also founded another cryptocurrency, Ripple, in 2011. His expertise in the tech industry has led to him serving the Machine Intelligence Research Institute as an advisor since March 2015. This is a nonprofit is involved in artificial intelligence. The goal of this nonprofit is to see to it that when these are created, especially the ones smarter than people, they will have a positive impact on people rather than something like Skynet out of the Terminator movies.
In June 2014, Stellar Development Foundation was co-founded by Jed McCaleb. He is the chief technology officer and it’s their goal to create a financial network that everyone can use. They create open-source software that anyone can tailor to their needs. It is a nonprofit that is seeking to enable everyone around the world a way to access the financial system.
As Jed McCaleb explains, the current financial system isn’t working for far too many people. Half of the world’s adult population, for example, don’t have access to banks so it’s very difficult if not impossible for them to save money. It also leads to onerous fees, Jed McCaleb says, when they want to send money to a friend or family member. His new organization will change this by allowing everyone to tap into a new financial system that works for regular people rather than banking executives.
Jed McCaleb says that organizations around the world are already using Stellar to build a new financial infrastructure. One of these, he says, is the Praekelt Foundation in South Africa. They’re using it on their own Vumi, a messaging app that allows younger women a way to save mobile money.