(Photo courtesy of Saxbys)
The explosive “Shark Tank” episode aired Friday night but its online aftershocks are still being felt midweek.
Four days after Chris Gray pitched his scholarship app Scholly to ABC’s panel of celebrity investors, or “sharks,” his app is still No. 1 in the app store.
Gray made headlines for setting off the “most heated sharkfight ever” when Lori Greiner and Daymond John pounced, offering exactly what Gray wanted ($40,000 for a 15 percent stake), after barely hearing a peep about Gray’s revenue model or technology behind the app. (After the show, Gray told us that he didn’t want to take a gamble on Greiner and John’s offer and entertain more questions from the other sharks because he would’ve felt like an idiot if Greiner and John took their deal off the table. Their offer was, after all, what he had asked for.)
When the show first aired, Scholly was ranked No. 3 in the App Store’s education category, based in part on ABC’s pre-show hype machine. The app then shot up to No. 1 across all categories a few hours later, right before the West Coast episode was about to air. It’s also currently No. 2 on the paid app list of Google Play. The Scholly team is not disclosing download numbers at this time, though Gray said that they’ve crashed some scholarship sites due to volume of traffic Scholly has sent. The brand-new web version of Scholly has been getting more than 30 signups every few minutes, Gray added.
Gray’s been on a media tour since the show aired, stopping at Drexel’s PhillyCodefest hackathon this weekend and at Science Leadership Academy on Monday, where Saxbys CEO Nick Bayer announced that he would buy Scholly ($0.99 for the mobile app) for every current and future Science Leadership Academy senior. This year, there were around 120 seniors, according to a spokeswoman. Bayer’s been a big supporter of Drexel’s Close School of Entrepreneurship, speaking at the school’s first Startup Day (where Scholly won the pitch competition) and launching a student-run Saxbys on campus.
Gray’s story has also been featured in Business Insider, Entertainment Weekly and Philly.com.
Another part of post-Shark Tank life? His new high-profile investors. Gray has spoken to sharks John and Greiner three times per week since the show was filmed in June.
Gray’s cofounders, Nick Pirollo and Bryson Alef, came to Philly for the viewing party but they work day jobs in different parts of the country: Pirollo, a Drexel grad, is a developer in Boston for a company that works with Vistaprint and Alef, an Amherst grad, works for a Verona, Wis.-based healthcare company called Epic. Gray and Alef were both Coca-Cola Scholars and came up with the idea for Scholly when they met through the program. Later, Gray poached Pirollo for Scholly after he saw Pirollo pitch his startup TagItBest to the Dorm Room Fund, where Gray was an investor.
If you missed Gray on Shark Tank, watch it below.-30-