Nick Pirollo was pitching a startup idea to Dorm Room Fund, a new student-run venture firm where Christopher Gray was partner, when the tables were suddenly turned. Gray listened to his plan to optimize the reach of hashtags, and, intrigued by Pirollo’s tech expertise, approached him about co-founding and building the product for another company, one that focused on connecting students with scholarships to pay for the steep price of college, now known as Scholly.
Scholly has raised $9 million for students so far. In a particularly dramatic episode of “Shark Tank,” which aired in February, Gray convinced Lori Greiner and Daymond John to invest a combined $40,000 in Scholly, for a 15 percent stake in the company—a deal that ignited a spirited debate among the sharks. Pirollo and Gray share their story.
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