David Zalik and GreenSky Credit: How a 14-Year-Old Made an Empire and Grew Up to Be a Billionaire

When David Zalik was a young child, he was always interested in mathematics. He was born in Israel, but when he was four years old, he and his parents moved from Israel to the United States, more specifically, to Alabama. His father became a mathematics instructor at the University of Auburn. Zalik would see his father’s textbooks around his house and he began to study them. By the time he was in middle school, he took the SAT and aced it. After that, Zalik decided that he would enroll in Auburn and take a few classes. By the time he was supposed to be attending high school, age-wise, he opted rather to enroll full time at Auburn instead.

While he was enrolled at Auburn, at the very young age of 14, he did not want the other students to know how young he truly was. He figured before asking out an older woman that he would need a car. He began to learn how to build personal computers, charging $2,000 and keeping $900 for his profit. He was not very efficient when he first started out, taking around 10 hours to complete the building process. But over time, Zalik could piece together 40 pieces in 30 minutes, drastically improving his time efficiency. In the end, Zalik purchased an older, beat-up Honda Civic. After finding something that he loved to do in building personal computers, Zalik dropped out of Auburn to build his business he named MicroTech, which he then sold in 1996 for a few millions.

It was this business savvy technique and few busts in between that David Zalik decided to create GreenSky Credit. He got the name for the company from Willie Nelson’s song, “Blue Skies,” but decided that Green would stand for growth and energy. Zalik began trying to convince big time contracting companies, like Home Depot to offer business credit from companies and selling them customized financing options for Benjamin Moore, Stanley Black & Decker, and Home Depot. He began begging them to give GreenSky Credit Financing a try. He caught his big break after he sold 17 percent of the company to TPG, Wellington Management, Iconiq Capital and DST Global.

Now GreenSky Credit offers financial solutions to over 12,000 active companies and over 1.6 million people. There has been over 10 billion loans that have been financed through GreenSky Credit. The company’s motto is that “payment, credit, and commerce could be enhanced using technology and elegant user experiences.

GreenSky CEO David Zalik has definitely made a name for himself financially over the years. He has had his fair share of positive and negative experiences with real-estate, technology and financial fields, however is has come out on top. He continues to press forward with his name beginning to be featured in more and more financial headlines, and it is still a really profitable company. Ranked third in most valuable private venture-backed fintech players in the United States, it does not seem like GreenSky Credit will be going out of business any time soon.