Category Archives: Apps

GreenSky Credit creates strong value for all stakeholders

Since the start of the dot-com bubble, tech startups have all too often been heavy on fancy and even awe-inspiring technology but light on actual value creation. Nowhere has this been truer than in the realm of financial tech. Companies that were once among the sector’s most promising are now ash heaps, having been shown to have fundamentally flawed or unworkable business models. Examples include peer-to-peer lenders Lending Club and OnDeck as well as a string of microlenders that have crashed and burned.

But there is one company that has not only weathered the storm but thrived. GreenSky Credit adopted the philosophy of removing friction from the traditional lending space rather than trying to burn the established banking system to the ground. This more modest, even-headed approach has paid dividends. Today, GreenSky Credit is worth more than $4.5 billion and has been growing at phenomenal rates since its founding in 2006.

GreenSky Credit CEO David Zalik says that he never had a revolutionary mindset. Instead, he wanted to create a fintech company with a very specific goal that would create strong value for all players. It was while he was working with home remodeling giants Home Depot and Benjamin Moore that he first realized there was an enormous opportunity for instant lending that existed in the home-improvement space.

Zalik noticed that a large amount of business was being lost by contractors, the largest direct purchasers of home-improvement supplies. When contractors went to pitch a job or bid on work, they often found that the customers, who frequently have little or no contracting experience, had cost expectations that wildly diverged from the final bids. This often resulted in jobs being lost due to severe sticker shock.

GreenSky Credit stepped in with a system that instantly matches customers with lenders, giving full loan approval in as little as 30 seconds. The system enables contractors to close far more sales. But it also enables homeowners to make the improvements they need to be happy with their living environment as well as increasing their home’s value. At the same time, lenders get high-quality loans to pad their books.

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ClassDojo’s Bid to Re-invent Classrooms with Student Stories

In a bid to get parents more involved in their children’s learning, ClassDojo has launched ‘Student Stories’. The aim of Student Stories is to help children share whatever they learn in class with their parents. The program works by allowing children to add videos and images to their portfolios and share them with their parents. The images or videos can be of anything the child learns from class or anywhere else. All the kid needs to do is record it, upload it to their portfolio and share it with their parents.

Student Stories has been designed to be user-friendly to children and available to all. To access their portfolios, students need to neither recall any login credentials nor own their own devices. All they need to do is scan a QR code that is specific for the class and then add material they wish to share with their parents. A teacher then has to approve all stories students add to their portfolio. Student Stories allows comments and tags so parents can opt to let their thoughts known. The program also allows teacher to add material to individual student stories.

According to Stephanie Smith, a teacher, Student Stories will help students have a voice and own their learning. She also believes that the software will make many teachers dreams of having a student-centric classroom come true. Stephanie Smith was excited about the idea of Student Stories and she hopes it will initiate excellent discussions at home too.
Liam Don, co-founder and Chief Product Officer at ClassDojo, said that the idea of Student Stories came from the parents need to see even more of their children’s accomplishments and projects other than videos and photos on Class Story. Teachers also felt the need for students to have more ownership of their work.

ClassDojo is a communication platform that allows teachers to encourage students and allows parents to be in the loop about their children’s best moments. The mission of ClassDojo is to ground up change in classrooms by bringing students, parents and teachers together. Most of what ClassDojo comes up with is drawn from the comments and ideas put forward by teachers.

ClassDojo has made significant achievements since its inception. It now boasts of being used by 15 million students, being utilized in 2 out of 3 schools in the U.S. and with 8000 moments shared by teachers through it every minute. Investors who include Imagine K12 / Y, Signal Fire, Combinator, General Catalyst, GSV, SV Angel, SoftTech VC, Shasta Ventures and Reach Capital back ClassDojo.


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