Drexel University’s “million-dollar scholar” Christopher Gray—who secured $1.3 million from 34 scholarships and created the Scholly app to help other students apply for scholarships—made a pitch to investors on ABC’s “Shark Tank” on Feb. 20. Gray convinced two sharks, Lori Greiner and Daymond John, to invest $40,000 for a 15 percent stake in his startup company. He also ignited one of the most heated arguments among the investors in the show’s history.
Gray spoke to the Philadelphia ABC affiliate WPVI-TV (6-abc) about his experience. Watch the segment about what went on behind-the-scenes while he made his pitch on the popular TV show.
A student in Drexel’s LeBow College of Business and Close School of Entrepreneurship, Gray launched the app in June 2013 to speed up the scholarship search process. Without Scholly, a potential applicant would have to sort through scholarship search engines available online by third-party companies, spend 20-30 minutes filling out forms that give these third-party sites access to their personal information and then have their inbox inundated with promotional emails and ads. What’s even worse, according to Gray, is that in the end applicants receive a list of about 200 scholarships but only qualify for about 10 of them, and six out of those 10 may not exist anymore because databases by third parties aren’t updated often.
Scholly uses eight specific parameters — such as state, race, GPA or major — to instantly filter listings into a comprehensive directory of scholarships for which a prospective applicant is eligible. Users can quickly sift through the tailored results, save a list of scholarships and export it to themselves via e-mail in order to apply online. The search process takes less than five minutes.
Media interested in interviewing Christopher Gray, should contact Niki Gianakaris, director of Media Relations, University Communications, at 215.895.6741 or firstname.lastname@example.org