(Philadelphia, PA) Have you ever experienced the stress that entails searching for scholarships? This process can be extremely exhausting and complicated. Students often find themselves looking for hours on end to find the scholarship suited to their specific needs. It is a struggle that students everywhere know all too well. Now there is finally an answer to all these issues and that answer is, Scholly.
Scholly is a place where students in both high school and college can go to look for scholarships. It started off as an app, which makes it even easier for students to search for scholarships no matter where they are. According to the website, “Scholly’s adaptive matching engine will find the scholarships you qualify for in minutes, without sign-ups or long forms that ask for your personal information”. This further simplifies the research process for students by providing them with their best matches right at their fingertips.
Nick Pirollo, co-founder of Scholly, gave Au’loni Magazine the chance to talk about the business. Mr. Pirollo is a graduate of Drexel University in Electrical and Computer Engineering. In his last two years of school, he began working with apps, where he “found a passion and the large market for app development skills”. This passion of his contributed greatly to the development of Scholly. When asked how he and his co-founders came up with the idea for Scholly he said it started with fellow co-founder, Chris Gray. Mr. Gray had applied for more than 70 scholarships and, after quite a long time, ended up winning $1.3 million in scholarships. This is how the idea began to form for Scholly. Mr.Pirollo stated that Mr. Gray felt the many pain points of the scholarship process and “he learned the tricks of the trade and it was decided and app would be the best way to get students vested in their own search instead of just targeting parents”. This is where Mr. Pirollo’s app skillset came into play.
Mr. Pirollo described how things run on a daily basis saying that the day starts early and ends late. He is now based in Boston while Mr. Gray is still residing in Philadelphia. So part of the daily operation includes chatting with one another about any updates or production problems that pop up which Mr. Pirollo says are always expected. Talking about Scholly’s current state, he stated, “With the release of the web platform the bulk of the work is in business development, application development and operations”. He said that the user feedback has been really positive, with the user base becoming increasingly talkative.
The beginning was tough for Mr. Pirollo and Mr. Gray because both of them were in school at the time. Mr. Pirollo described a major hardship saying, “Bootstrapping was an interesting experience – we pulled together everything we could for cheap or free at first”. There was also a struggle with finding good contacts. When asked how they overcame these challenges, he explained that it wasn’t “until we built relationships and a reputation in the community which allowed us to grow and raise funds from a few great sources (like Dorm Room fund)”. This is what backed them on their road to success.
Mr. Pirollo provided some advice for all of the aspiring entrepreneurs out there. His main point was that you have to just go for it no matter what your idea might be. He also stated, “I also think everyone, business or otherwise, should learn even the basics of software development and/or programming – it’s the language of our time and being able to talk with those you work with is really important”. Mr. Pirollo said that the company has some great future plans but “for now all of our goals revolve around the web platform and making sure – in the short and long term – that Scholly can become widely available as a fast and easy tool for users to find scholarships”.
Patrick Whalen is a Junior at Temple University majoring in Media Studies and Production. He enjoys traveling, going out with friends, and trying new things. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or email him at email@example.com.