Christopher Gray may long be known as the entrepreneur whose pitch started a fight in the Shark Tank. His episode, which first aired in February, showed Lori Grenier and Daymond John offering to invest in Gray’s scholarship app, Scholly, before many substantive questions had been asked. The resulting scuffle saw three sharks — Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec and Kevin O’Leary — leave the set, after Gray had already agreed to take the deal and left.
Scholly quickly became a popular app on iTunes and Gray’s success has continued from there. Tech Crunch reported earlier this month that Scholly had made bulk sales to state and federal governments. The White House initiative My Brother’s Keeper has purchased 275,000 downloads. The city of Memphis and the state of Montana are buying Scholly for high school seniors.
In a May interview with Drexel University, his alma mater, Gray said that Daymond John supports My Brother’s Keeper and set up the deal. In what Gray told Forbes was “maybe the shortest sales cycle in history,” it was only days between contact with the White House and President Obama’s public announcement.
“They asked if we’d be interested. Obviously, we weren’t going to turn down the chance to work with the White House.”
The White House wasn’t the only public entity interested in Scholly. A Memphis city councilman reached out to Scholly after hearing about the app, in order to get access for the city’s students.
Gray told Drexel he had no regrets about partnering with Grenier and John.
“Daymond and Lori are great and have been incredibly helpful. Their connections have been invaluable in our recent progress. We definitely chose the right investors on the Tank.”
Gray told Forbes in March that John and Grenier are hands-on investors, in touch several times a week.
— Lori Greiner (@LoriGreiner) May 26, 2015
Back when Gray’s Shark Tank episode aired, Lori Grenier released a statement that explained her quick investment and gave some insight into the infamous “shark fight.”
“Within about 10 minutes of Scholly’s pitch to the sharks, I had heard enough to know that Scholly was already doing well, and it was clear Chris was a very smart entrepreneur. I didn’t need to hear a lot more, the algorithm was already working and I knew going forward anything else we could figure out together.
“Scholly is a HERO. Sometimes it’s not all about the money, it’s about what you believe in. In regards to the shark fight, every shark has a unique approach to business, we’re like a family and we are not always going to agree.”
Shark Tank airs on ABC.