Millions of viewers were introduced to the new app Scholly on Friday night when founder Christopher Gray made his sales pitch before the all-star panel on the ABC reality show “Shark Tank.”
Viewers were taken by both Gray’s story — raised by a single mom, he managed to earn over $1 million dollars in scholarship money — and by the fact that the app created a heated discussion among the judges, with Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, and Robert Herjavec walking off of the set in anger. We emailed Grey shortly after the episode aired to get the inside story.
How did you feel after hearing three of the judges had walked off set?
I knew about the fight for a while, but it was interesting to see it on television. I think I made the right decision and chose investors who believed in Scholly both as a business and as a venture that will help millions of students pay for college. I could have easily answered any questions Mark and Robert had, but since Daymond and Lori offered me exactly what I asked for, I had no reason to. Daymond and Lori have really supported Scholly since I filmed my episode and I’m excited to continue to work with them.
You're a senior at Drexel University. How did you come up with Scholly ?
After a tedious and very long process during school, I won $1.3 million in scholarships. It took me months simply to find a list of scholarships I was eligible for. Also, before I created Scholly, I spent three years consulting and helping other students to find and apply for scholarships as well.
What’s some advice to give high school seniors, who are making their final college decisions?
Apply for as many scholarships as possible so funds will not be an issue in your decision-making. Some students can’t attend their dream school due to lack of funds, so making sure they put the same amount of effort into applying for scholarships as they do applying for school is super important.
What do you think is next for Scholly?
Although we are focused on the scholarship search at the moment, we are working to make the scholarship process even easier. Next, we are working to move beyond scholarships and evolving into a platform that students can use to get into college and until they graduate.
Follow Lakshmi Gandhi on Twitter @LakshmiGandhi.