‘Shark Tank’: Why Does Christopher Gray’s ‘Scholly’ Cause Three Sharks To Walk Off Set?

Although things often get intense in the Shark Tank, the panel of investors has never come to blows. On Friday night’s episode, they come pretty close, as one entrepreneur’s pitch causes three sharks to walk off the set. The entrepreneur is Christopher Gray and his pitch is Scholly, an app that streamlines the process of finding and applying for scholarships.

The press release for the episode says “the discussion takes a shocking turn into a never-before-seen incident,” apparently referring to the mass exodus of investors. In a preview clip provided to Entertainment Weekly, it is implied that Lori Greiner sets off the conflict by offering Gray a deal before any questions have been asked. It appears she insists Gray take her deal immediately.

Whether he does so isn’t clear from the teasers, but one thing is for certain. Ultimately Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec walk out, leaving Daymond John and Greiner seated.

So what is the fuss about?

Back in the summer of 2013, USA Today reported on Scholly. At that time, the app, which uses specific parameters to give users a list of relevant scholarships in a matter of minutes, had an excess of 10,000 downloads and cost 99 cents. It was available in the App Store and on Google Play.

Gray, a Drexel University student, told his school’s news blog in June 2013 that he kept the price low to provide a service and not necessarily make a profit.

Despite those stated altruistic intentions, Gray is apparently serious about business. He majored in Business Administration, with a concentration in Entrepreneurship, and has his own venture capital experience. He is an alumnus of the Dorm Room Fund, which provides start-up capital to student businesses. According to Drexel’s news blog in 2013, Gray was at that time on the Dorm Room Fund’s 11-member student board.

A commercial for Scholly was produced last August. It was put together by Five Five Collective, run by two Drexel graduates.

As for the fight on Shark Tank, the fact that Cuban, Herjavec, and O’Leary walked off might indicate that Gray accepted Greiner’s deal, or perhaps, one that also included Daymond John. The trio that left in a huff are all technology investors of some sort. Scholly would seem like a natural fit — and an easy and profitable exit — for any of them, and a big missed opportunity if they didn’t get a handshake.

Shark Tank airs at 9pm on ABC.

[Lori Greiner image courtesy of Getty]

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