The story of ed-tech coding start-up WhiteHat Jr. and its “blitzscaling” growth are goals that every new start-up would want to emulate. The company was acquired a few months ago by Byju’s, an ed-tech company that has scripted its own phenomenal growth story, in an all-cash $300 million deal. Financial Express Online caught up with Karan Bajaj, founder and CEO of WhiteHat Jr to talk about how he scaled his coding start-up so rapidly, about the Byju’s deal and, of course, the controversies it faced regarding its advertising and marketing. Bajaj is candid about what his goals were, what it took to build WhiteHat Jr and looks at what could have been done differently in hindsight.
Bajaj is an author of three books – Keep Off the Grass, Johnny Gone Down, and The Seeker. He’s also an IIM Bangalore graduate and a marketer having worked with multinationals such as Proctor & Gamble, Boston Consulting Group, Kraft Foods, and Discovery Network.
In 2018, he left Discovery to start WhiteHat Jr (WhiteHat incidentally is a term used for ethical hackers), because he felt he loves to build things. He says, with the kind of exposure to computers children have today, it is inevitable that they would like to build things, for which coding can be a fun activity.
Since his business model involved one-to-one coaching on live sessions by teachers online, he ensured he hired an 11,000 plus women-only teacher network, keeping in mind the safety of children online.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made online education more mainstream now. Going forward, Bajaj sees coding becoming a part of the curricula in schools and that they will benefit from a physical-digital collaboration in the way they function. Watch the full interview for more on what Bajaj had to say as he plans global expansion.