Many private companies long for the day when they can legitimately consider an IPO. Although this move often marks the true arrival of a startup firm to the ranks of well-established and mature companies, very few businesses will ever get the chance to go through a big-money initial public offering. For those that do, however, there are major benefits. Publicly traded companies are often priced at a steep premium to private firms. In extreme cases, this amount can be as much as ten times the valuation that the same firm would have had if it had remained private. This is a simple reflection of the fact that publicly traded firms benefit both from the perception of transparency and legitimacy that going public offers as well as actually having an added degree of real transparency and legitimacy.
It is no surprise, then, that David Zalik, the founder and CEO of GreenSky Credit, is now considering taking his company public. Contrary to the course of most IPOs, however, GreenSky Credit has been such a tremendous success from its start that many Wall Street insiders have been knocking down Zalik’s door with offers to help take his firm public. By some estimates, GreenSky Credit is currently worth somewhere in the $4 billion range. But that number could skyrocket if the company is able to successfully complete an IPO. Such a move would instantly make Zalik a member of the Forbes 400 list. And it would raise a tremendous amount of capital for GreenSky Credit, which Zalik continues to aggressively expand.
But Zalik has been coy about what his intentions are. For 12 years, he has single-handedly managed GreenSky Credit, taking it from a no-name startup and turning it into the showcase of the fintech industry. Some insiders say that Zalik may be reluctant to cede control of his firm, even if that means a multi-billion-dollar payday for him personally.
Whether or not the rumored GreenSky Credit IPO ever materializes, the leadership and vision that Zalik has shown has distinguished him in an industry that has been littered with the husks of firms run by starry-eyed dreamers and utopians.