This app founder helped students raise over $31 million in scholarships and counting
One of the biggest issues facing young adults is paying back all of the debt accumulated in college. A man from Birmingham, Alabama is working to remedy this debt epidemic
After graduating from Drexel University, Christopher Gray founded and launched the Scholly app to help students find scholarships for college. John secured $1.3 millon in scholarships to attend college and wanted to make the process easier for others. Last year, he appeared on the ABC reality investment series Shark Tank. Things got a little tense during Gray's pitch, but he walked away earning a $40,000 investment from FUBU founder Daymond John and QVC queen Lori Greiner, who have a 15 percent stake in the company
Since Scholly's launch, the app has helped students raise over $31 million in scholarships. Gray told Ebony that it is difficult finding investments as a black entrepreneur. "We don’t have a Black Bill Gates or a Black Mark Zuckerberg. To some degree, African Americans have to prove ourselves because there’s no archetype for our success. We’re going to a Venture Capitalist trying to solve a problem who may or may not understand because they don’t have the background to see it," he said
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Gray says he even had someone tell him that Scholly only marketed to "low-income" minorities, and the platform was even called a "charity" by some of the sharks back on Shark Tank. Gray thinks that this has lots to do with classism and racism saying, "There’s some people who just don’t think we’re smart. People don’t even realize they’re thinking this way and they act on these ways they were raised to think and they don’t even know they’re doing this. It’s like we have to prove in ways that other groups may not. We need to show more traction. A lot of people who get funded in the Valley it’s because of connections, and classism plays a role too." In addition to raising over $31 million, Scholly also had a user base of 600,000 people. Now, they aren't just helping with scholarship dollars, but the app has a partnership with CommonBond to aid students in refinancing loansFor more information about Scholly and to download the app, visit the official website.