Unicorns 38/229 – GreenSky

Unicorns 38/229 – GreenSky


Founders: David Zalik
Key people: David Zalik (CEO)
Number of employees: ~1,000

GreenSky LLC is a private financial technology company founded in 2006 based in Atlanta, Georgia. The company provides technology to banks and merchants to make loans to consumers for home improvement, solar, healthcare and other purposes. Financing for GreenSky® credit programs is provided by federally-insured, federal and state-chartered financial institutions. From 2012 to 2016 nearly $5 billion had been lent through GreenSky® credit program.

GreenSky is less well known than other companies in the so-called fintech market such as Social Finance Inc. or Lending Club Corp., in part because it does not make loans using its own capital. GreenSky’s partner banks—in 2016, they numbered 14 and includ ed Regions Financial Corp. and SunTrust Banks—made loans online or through the GreenSky® mobile app to customers of some 12,000 merchants ranging from retailers such as The Home Depot, Inc. to individual contractors. GreenSky signs up merchants who sell big-ticket items, such as furniture and home improvement products, including window replacement, aluminum siding, and roofing. It also recently expanded to handle elective medical procedures.

The firm—and others like Affirm Inc., Klarna Inc. and Promise Financial Inc. — essentially supplant credit cards for larger and more focused spending on consumer projects and then effect a fixed-period and fixed-interest-rate payback. Other competitors in the general market are Avant Inc. and On Deck Capital Inc; in solar, Mosaic Inc. and Spruce Finance Inc., backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers are among the competitors. Describing GreenSky’s whole business, CEO David Zalik said “We’re not competing with banks, and we’re not attempting to be a lender. We’re a technology company.” Its lending program is SSAE 16 Type II compliant.

In 2015, GreenSky was considering an expanded business presence, including a call center, in Kentucky in the greater Cincinnati area. Investment of about $7 million was being considered with a $2 million 10-year tax incentive program in discussion. In 2015, it also announced a multi-million dollar expansion that would create 350 jobs in Atlanta, about one-third of which would be technology related.

In 2016, the firm was profitable according to its CEO. As a privately held company it is not required to release financial information to the public.

In 2016, CEO David Zalik was presented with the National EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Financial Services.