Drexel Student Gets Shark Tank Deal for Scholly App
On the latest episode of ABC show Shark Tank, a Drexel student walked away with a deal for his Scholly app, which is supposed to help students find scholarships for college.
App creator Christopher Gray, a senior at the school, knows a lot about scholarships. He told the panel of venture capitalists on Shark Tank that he was awarded 34 scholarships for a total of $1.3 million. So he used his knowledge of the scholarship system to create Scholly.
Gray asked for an investment of $40,000 in exchange for 15 percent of his company, which had sold 92,000 downloads of the app for 99-cents each before the show aired, according to Gray. Shark Tank personalities Lori Greiner of QVC fame and FUBU creator Daymond John were quick to cinch the deal, giving Gray exactly what he came in looking for — not a common occurrence on the show.
“You know what, Christopher?” Greiner said. “I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. I haven’t heard a lot, but I’m going to make you an offer right now.” John then joined in.
But the other Shark Tank investors thought it was a terrible move, because they hadn’t had a chance to grill Gray on the technology behind Scholly to see if it was really worth a Shark Tank investment.
After the deal was sealed and Gray exited the stage, a fight erupted between the panelists. Some accused the Scholly investors of doling out charity instead of being smart, and the whole thing got ridiculously heated. But, hey, this is reality television.
“You know what? You’re really pissing me off right now,” tech-savvy Shark Tank shark Robert Herjavec said to Greiner. “I’m going to say something rude to you, and I don’t want to say something rude to you, so I’m just going to go. Because there was no need to do something like that. You’re smarter than that.”
Herjavec and the other two members who didn’t invest in Scholly walked off the set.
But it looks like Gray and the investors came out on top. Scholly quickly shot up to the most popular slot among all iPhone paid apps, even surpassing game juggernaut Minecraft. At least one new customer isn’t too happy with it, though. Here’s the most recent review in the iTunes store:
I downloaded this app because I saw it on Shark Tank, and after completing two years of college, and incurring almost 25K of debt, I found that legitimate scholarships are hard to come by, and it has been a stressful, and frustrating experience. This app did not solve the problem. There are hundreds of websites that give the names of all of these “scholarships,” the problem with these websites, is the same problem with this app …There is no vetting of these so-called scholarships. This is yet another time waster for seriously in need college students. these five star reviewers must work for the company. I have a 3.9 GPA, and my AA in Business Administration, I am currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. Mark and Robert had it right to question the app’s abilities… Now thousands of college students will shell out a buck for nothing. My dollar would be better spent on yet another angry birds app.
Gray was not immediately available for comment.