Catching up with Drexel alum Christopher Gray on Scholly x “Shark Tank” Reunion | The Triangle

Catching up with Drexel alum Christopher Gray on Scholly x “Shark Tank” Reunion

The Drexel founded Scholly app is one of the Close School of Entrepreneurship’s most well known success stories. Just recently, Scholly was featured in a “Shark Tank” update that premiered nearly nine years after the original episode that sparked a notable debate among the Sharks. 

In light of the “Shark Tank” update and it being nearly a year after Scholly was acquired by education solutions company Sallie Mae, the Triangle checked in again with founder Christopher Gray. 

In the update, Gray was able to reunite with “Shark Tank” investors and mentors Daymond John and Lori Greiner while also being joined by Sallie Mae’s Chief Commercial Officer Donna Vieira to uplift new initiatives through the Scholly acquisition. 

For Gray, the Shark Tank update was a full circle moment, bringing him back to his last few months at Drexel during a pivotal senior year in 2015. Over the past nine years since then, Scholly has made over $30 million in revenue with five million users and has helped students raise over $100 million in scholarships.

“I was a senior about to graduate, there was a lot going on, right before finals and all that. So it was really emotional and it was a real full circle moment to be reunited with the Sharks,” shared Gray. “I just really did a look back on everything Scholly has accomplished.”

“Lori and I invested in Chris, and now Chris is investing in the future, and that is what it’s all about,” shared John in the update episode. 

John also felt reassured in his decision to invest in Scholly years ago, stating that “my return on my investment is between 40x and 60x.”  

For the update, Gray and Vieira traveled to John’s alma mater, Bayside High School, where they announced two $10,000 scholarships to seniors Giselle Rodriguez and Amir Theodile. In addition, the two announced $1 million in funding to go towards the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. 

“What you’re seeing is not just Scholly becoming more accessible to more people and getting a lot of traffic, we’re starting to see Sallie being able to leverage Scholly to give back, a tool where we can actually put our money where our mouth is, and actually create scholarship opportunities for students,” said Gray. “The goal at Sallie Mae is to really put free money first, so you know, use Scholly first, and then if you need private loans, you can get them, but you want to get as many free scholarships as you can.”

Nearly one year since the Sallie Mae acquisition, Scholly has already seen an expanded audience and opportunities to venture into new initiatives and potentially even future collaborations with Drexel.  

“It’s free, it’s a no-brainer. We now even have an ungated experience where you don’t even have to register or create an account.. It’s really seamless now,” added Gray.