Getting a scholarship is a big financial help at college, but they aren’t easy to receive. As a student, Christopher Gray experienced the complexity of college applications himself and was eager to solve this issue. After developing the Scholly app, he went on Shark Tank and made a deal with Lori Greiner and Daymond John. As of 2023, Scholly is worth $1.5 million.
About the Founder
Christopher Gray is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was raised in tough conditions by a single mother who struggled to keep a job. Gray wanted to have a better life through studying entrepreneurship and finance at Drexel University.
He spent more than seven months looking for scholarships, spending most of his time at public library computers, writing essays. In the end, Gray bagged around $1.3 million in scholarships following his strategy.
The Alabama kid became an expert in finding and winning scholarship grants. Because of this, he sailed through four years at college and got a bachelor’s degree. The grants allowed him to focus more time on studying and didn’t have to worry about finances.
The outcome of Gray’s experience inspired him to create a mobile app that can simplify the college application process for students around the world. He joined forces with developers Nick Pirollo and Bryson Alef, who were later named co-founders of Scholly.
The app was officially launched in 2013. It features legitimate scholarships, which has helped thousands of students get through college by providing them with relevant scholarships in minutes. The platform can make a customized list of suitable scholarships based on criteria such as GPA, race, gender and state.
A year after launching, Scholly helped students in Philadelphia receive over $9 million in scholarship funds. Christopher wanted to recruit international users, so he needed more capital to expand their reach.
Shark Tank Appearance
To move into the next phase of his plan, Christopher Gray offered the Sharks 15% of his startup in exchange for $40,000. He entered the show during season six and captivated SharkTank investors after explaining how Scholly worked.
He further intrigued the Sharks after mentioning that over $100 million worth of scholarship funds don’t get claimed every year. However, Daymond John and Lori Greiner loved the business model.
They teamed up to split the $40,000 investment without even hearing how much money Scholly was currently making. This caused quite a scene because Robert didn’t want the show to become a charity. Even with all the fuss, the Scholly founder said yes to Lori and Daymond.
After Shark Tank
After their Shark Tank episode aired, Scholly received 80,000 requests within hours and was featured on major media outlets like Forbes, Fortune Magazine and Fox News. Gray has also met Oprah, Bill Gates and has been invited to the Whitehouse twice.
Scholly soon became the number one college scholarship app in the app store, with over 850,000 downloads. Before Shark Tank, the app cost $0.99 but now they charge $4.99 per month. It’s free to download but users either need to test out a trial or pay a monthly fee. On the Apple app store, the Scholly app is rated 3.7 out of 5 based on 6,100 ratings.
Today, the app’s developers are working to create a feature to help with student debt. They have teamed up with actor Jesse Williams to tackle this problem. Scholly offers people a way to earn money through signing up with their partners such as Acorn, Survey Junkie and Sallie Mae.
Scholly has assisted students in claiming more than $100 million in scholarship funds. The company doesn’t openly share its annual revenue due to competitors. Even so, Scholly is estimated to be worth around $1.5 million.