A Slice on Gregg Scoresby, Founder and CEO of CampusLogic
Gregg Scoresby is a founder turned investor who, after finding success in the startup world, is on a mission to give back to other entrepreneurs. After a truly terrible personal experience with financial aid, Scoresby didn’t want other students to have to break down the same barriers. Students dropping out of college due to financial aid difficulties sparks a negative cycle: lost educational opportunities and institutional revenue, which leads to a negative social outcome and ultimately a negative economic outcome for the institution. CampusLogic is a student financial success platform making every interaction mobile, simple and personalized. To date, CampusLogic has raised $192.8M in funding and is implemented by 760 colleges and universities.
Scoresby’s difficulties with financial aid didn’t stop at grad school. One of Scoresby’s early jobs at a consulting and outsourcing firm required selling, structuring and managing financial aid service contracts for a large university. Though he and his team were doing great work, it still wasn’t enough to bridge the gap of the deep-rooted issues in the financial aid world. “I was just amazed at how we did good work on the front end of the student experience, but it was still really bad.” He saw a huge opportunity to tackle the problem at the source by simplifying financial aid for universities, creating a better experience for students.
Though the technology scene was up-and-coming, financial aid was still being completed manually (a.k.a. pen and paper). In 2010, Scoresby identified regulatory changes that were about to affect schools and essentially create more paperwork. To Scoresby’s advantage, this was the same time smartphones were disrupting the market, so he saw a huge opportunity to move the financial aid processes onto the cloud. “In 2011, I decided, ‘hey, I’m going to start a company that’s going to make the whole financial aid experience: loans, grants, scholarships simple. I want to make the experience mobile and personalized for every student.’ That was really the drive to create the company.”
Entering the startup world wasn’t all smooth sailing for Scoresby. “We were trying to take all those things that have made the process [financial aid] manual and paper-intensive, and we were trying to drive that into a simple mobile experience. That was a hard problem to solve, and that’s why it hadn’t been solved before us.” Having to jump through many hoops (if the product codifies, federal regulations and overall perfecting the architecture of the product) Scoresby and his team had a hard time getting the product right. “We had to do a total rewrite. We had a prototype in 2012 and a beta version in 2013, then we dropped the entire product in 2013. We really struggled to put one school on the product, so we rebuilt the whole thing and went live. In 2014, we started getting customers, adding a customer a month, then two to three customers a month. It’s been a really great experience, but it was not without some pretty rough experiences in the early days.”
Scoresby describes Arizona’s ecosystem to be changing in the best way possible. Though the Phoenix metro area is undoubtedly geographically larger than other startup hotspots, such as Austin, Salt Lake and Boulder, the perception is that it’s not on the same level. With Arizona’s entrepreneurs finding success in the state, it’s created lots of opportunities for them to pave their own path to success. Scoresby now offers mentorship and guidance as a board member on the StartupAZ Foundation, which runs cohorts of different growth companies. Giving back, in Scoresby’s eyes, doesn’t stop with mentorship. He founded PHX Ventures and is an active investor in B2B SaaS and education products. Though Scoresby doesn’t shy away from other types of companies, he’s confident he can offer more than just funding to these startups.
Scoresby feels fortunate to have been successful enough to be able to give back. He’s built a strong network of fellow founders and CEOs who, like Scoresby, spend time investing and providing support to young entrepreneurs. Scoresby views this network of founders to be a valuable asset to the Arizona startup ecosystem as they create support structures that put time and money back into the community. “It’s the capital network, coupled with the operating experience, coupled with the public and private support groups. Those are the things that definitely didn’t exist six or eight years ago.”
As an aspiring entrepreneur, an opportunistic point of view is not always realistic, according to Scoresby. He notes that it’s important to know that getting started in the startup world means you might not have a strong stream of income, even though you’re constantly working, maybe even 80 hours a week. “Whenever I’ve increased my focus, good things have happened. I think when you have smart, capable, kind people that can bring a group together and focus on a particular problem, really amazing things can happen.”
“So I would say, work hard, be kind, stay focused.”
Gregg Scoresby is an active member of Phoenix’s startup ecosystem, having founded various companies, including CampusLogic. He now devotes a portion of his time to PHX Ventures and is a board member of The StartupAZ Foundation. Connect with Scoresby on LinkedIn.