The Man Behind The 1.4 Billion Dollar China Partnership Deal. This story will pull at your heart strings for sure, when Melvin tell you his full story of being homeless…
The full story will not be released until January 2021, at which time you may download MMAP Magazine free of charge, when you register at our website.
When I first began researching who Melvin Nunnery is, I was pretty impressed with what I found. Melvin is the founder of a college sport recruiting app by the name of SchollyMe. After more research I found a YouTube video of Melvin on a podcast. As I listened to Melvin on this podcast, I became even more interested. I had to see if Melvin would do an interview with me for MAP Magazine. I reached out and Melvin was very receptive to being interviewed. This was great I thought, so I scheduled a time that worked for him and continued my research. I spent several days scouring the internet for as much as I could on Mr. Nunnery. It’s very important to me to create interviews that are more personable and engaging for you the readers. Plus no one wants to see, hear, or read the same story over and over from one interview to another. I like to dig deeper in my interviews so the readers really get to know the person, behind the idea of the person.
When the scheduled time for the interview arrived I gave Melvin a call and we started with a bit of introductory chit chat. I like to make sure my interviewees are comfortable with me, as most have never heard of me. Without giving anything away before you get to read the entire interview, it was amazing! This interview with Melvin was more than I could have asked for in an entrepreneurial teaching session. The interview was eye opening at times and very heartfelt at others. Melvin tells stories of his journey to becoming the man who put together a 1.4 Billion Dollar deal with China. His journey stories to get to the deal are so important to this article, that you almost forget about the China deal all together. As the interviewer I am going to keep my portion of questions fairly short, as it is Melvin’s story that is most important here. I will setup the questions with a opening statement and then Melvin will take over with each part of his journey tales.
Let’s Get Started…
Michaelson: I opened the questioning by asking Melvin where the Idea of Schollyme came from, but what I was really looking forward to was getting to know the man himself. See, in my mind anyone has the ability to put together a business deal, even though this was a special deal. The importance of my opening question was to lead into obtaining a greater understanding of Melvin’s entrepreneurial mind. So I sat in my high-back arm chair and let Mr. Nunnery speak. One of the first things I noticed before getting into our conversation is that Melvin asked in a genuine manner, how and what I was doing. This right away let me know that I was getting ready to interview a person who was concerned about the wellbeing of others, and maybe even before himself. I was to later find out as the interview went forward that my suspicions were correct.
Melvin: I come from a big family of athletes with five brothers and two sisters, and we all played sports in high school and college. My cousins also with the last name Nunnery, six boys in that household were also very athletic and played sports. In Ventura County California we were the most popular family as far as athletics was concerned. My family was very good in all the major sports such as; football, basketball, and baseball. We were able to go to U N C of southern California for college and play at the highest levels. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to personally play there myself because of a knee injury, but it allowed me to see that many athletes attending this school shouldn’t have been there on scholarships. Don’t get me wrong there are some really talented athletes at this college, but there were some attending the school, at the time, that were there because of the hype. A lot of sizzle, no steak. I didn’t really give much thought to what I noticed about the underperforming and untalented athletes at the time.
I went on to start a sports training company with a friend of mind Freddy Bradley, former San Diego Chargers football player, who retired due to an injury. We were training professional boxers like Victor Ortiz, football players Lorenzo Booker, Keary Colbert, and other athletes at the college and professional levels from my home town. One young lady that we were training by the name of Tiffany Hurd was a six foot lefty basketball player that could flat out shoot. Tiffany wasn’t getting any scholarship opportunities at all. Tiffany was so good at basketball that she should have gotten a scholarship right out of high school. There were some games in a small college that Tiffany played for where she would score more than 30 points in a game. Tiffany came in our sport training facility to be trained, and I knew she had the talent to get a scholarship. I talked to Tiffany’s parents and told them what they needed to do as far as her college transcripts. I told them to get some videos together and send them out to as many college coaches as they could. Once Tiffany and her parents did this Tiffany was getting multiple scholarship offers from colleges around the country.
Tiffany’s own junior college coach did not believe that she possessed the talent to receive a scholarship, and was going to send Tiffany to a small school, Cal State University in Monterrey Bay. Cal State is a division two school and Tiffany had division one talent. So Tiffany ended up receiving a scholarship from Providence, which was the number one school for women’s college basketball at the time, and even still today. Tiffany going to a division one college like Providence forever changed her life.
It was this moment that sparked us to start Schollyme. We thought that if we could do this for Tiffany Hurd then there has to be away that students could pursue scholarships for themselves. This is how the Schollyme app idea was born. Schollyme is short for “Scholarship Me”. My focus completely shifted from the sports training center to creating the mobil app.
Michaelson: Did you have any mobil app building experience when you started thinking about Schollyme as an app?
Melvin: Absolutely Not! I was barely even using apps at the time.
Michaelson: Melvin was so matter of fact with his statement about not knowing anything about app building when he started Schollyme that we both laughed out loud. We chuckled at the proposition of starting an app company with no prior experience.
But I digress. Let’s get back to business.
So, Melvin can you walk me through how you educated yourself about app building, when you knew nothing about that space?
Melvin: Yes sure. First of all everything kind of happened through happenstance. I was living in a very nice residence with very nice furnishing, but I was losing it all at the time. I didn’t want anyone like family and friends to know that I was losing everything so I started living with my brother Paul. My mother lived very close to my brother Paul whom I was staying with. My mother ended up having a stroke. When I was sharing the apartment with my brother Paul I told myself that I had to get out of this situation. I began working on the Schollyme app at my brothers place. After my mothers stroke I decided to move some stuff from my storage, where I had all of my belongings from my previous residence. I remember clearly taking my daughter Maya’s belongings, my computer, and a lettermen’s jacket that had belonged to my deceased brother Curtis. Curtis died in a car accident when I was thirteen years old. These were the only items I removed from my storage unit that day. Everything else I left forever. At the time I felt like If I had my computer I could rebuild my life back to what it was or better than my current situation. I built Schollyme with that computer, and did it while I was homeless.
All the while I was homeless and building Scholly me I continued to visit my mother in the hospital everyday, took her to the doctors and recovery therapy, etc.
I knew that somehow Schollyme was going to get me through these tough times. I wanted to take care of my mother, all of the hospital bills, and all her needs with this vision that I had for Schollyme.
As I was building the concepts of Schollyme I didn’t know much about computers except for working in word documents. What I did was come up with the idea and concepts of how I wanted Schollyme to work. I then shared my thoughts with a few friends, three to be exact. Once my Schollyme vision was understood by these three key people we hired a company to program the app. Now because I didn’t understand anything about programming a mobil application I got burnt five times, meaning I was losing money.
After this I solicited help from my friend James Chambers who I played baseball with. James was working in the field of IT Information Technology. James assisted me in interviewing new programmers to help build the Schollyme app, but by this time I had already lost close to one hundred thousand dollars.
The reason for the financial loses was because the programmers were building dummy application frameworks, and charging me as if they were producing a real product. The programmers were giving me what is called wireframes which is much like a building schematic. The problem was there was no building or in this case Schollyme mobil application. I had to keep hiring new programmers after being scammed which was hemorrhaging funds at a rate of about $25,000 a pop. Once I received the help from James Chambers things started getting a little better, because he knew the right questions to ask the people we were looking to hire. Meanwhile as this process was going on I was studying the app building language myself, so I could understand enough not to be ripped off. We move the Schollyme application build over to India for a time and then brought the project back to the United States as we progressed.
I took a lot of loses of investor money in the beginning trying to learn the mobil app build process. The investor’s were in essence paying for my mobil app building education. It was almost like they sent me to college. I had to learn not only the in’s and out’s of being able to find a programmer for the app, but I had to learn what programming a mobil app was itself. I didn’t know what programming was or what coding was. It was easy for me to get taken advantage of because I didn’t know what programming really was. I didn’t need to be a programmer but I definitely needed to understand enough of the programmers language not to get taken advantage of again. I needed to speak programmers language so that I could talk about Java Script, Python, or any other vehicle to getting the app done. I recall a time when I asked a programmer to change the thickness of a red navigation bar on our website. I asked this particular programmer if he could make the red navigation bar in question a bit thinner?
He wanted to charge me $1,500.00 to make the change. I didn’t know any better, so I paid him the $1,500.00 and he made the red bar thinner. Later I realized that small change in the red bar only should have cost around ten cents.
Early on when a programmer would tell me that a job would take 80 hours I would calculate the workload and justify the projected hourly rate. Now I negotiate when I look at the estimate for a programming job. This way I can dispute the projected hourly estimation by saying something like, this 80 hour job should only take about 45 hours. Then the programmers will say something like “how do you know that?”. When programmers estimate a project at 2 to 3 hours I can look at the workload and say “hey if that takes you 3 hours I have the wrong guy”, at which time I give them the time it should take for job completion. Now when I receive budgets, work orders, or what we call Statements Of Work SOW’s the hours are more accurate. Sometimes I still negotiate price even so.
Michaelson: So, Now you’re able to save you and your investor’s a hell of a lot of money. After you got the programing and build issues corrected what was the next phase of the Schollyme project?
Becoming Nike Tournament Of Champions Official Social Networking Partner
Melvin: Amidst all of the programming learning I was able to convince Nike to let me be their official social networking partner. Now you’re talking about the biggest male and female basketball tournaments Nike ever has during a school year. During the summer it’s Peace Jam and other events but during the school year it’s by far the Nike Tournament Of Champions. When this happened, I didn’t have a webpage, I didn’t have anything. I was able to convince Nike with only a slide show presentation of what the app was going to look like, to be their official social networking partner. I went out to Arizona to the event and when I arrived it looked like the event was sponsored by Nike and Schollyme. They had these big jumbo screens side by side one being Nike logos and the other being Scholly me.
Michaelson: How did you make this happen? I interrupted Melvin. I was going out of my mind. I needed Melvin to break down how he, with virtually nothing but a simple presentation made this idea of Schollyme blossom so rapidly.
This story gets better and better, but you’ll have to wait until January 2021 to learn more about Melvin Nunnery’s entrepreneurial journey to the 1.4 billion dollar China deal. Buy MMAP Magazine Now!
This story will pull at your heart strings for sure, when Melvin tell you his full story of being homeless…