WhiteHat Jr - Success Story of the Byju's-owned Coding Startup

Anik Banerjee Anik Banerjee Purbalee Dutta Purbalee Dutta
May 23, 2022 14 min read
WhiteHat Jr - Success Story of the Byju's-owned Coding Startup

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by WhiteHat Jr.

Coding, as we know, is the language of computers.

The world has changed today for good and coding drove a significant part of the change. From a set of instructions to the machines called computers, coding has now turned into something familiar, a language that is similar to the other languages we can speak or write, one of our native languages.

Technology, computers, and coding sprawl along such a large and significant part of the human civilization that we simply cannot imagine us living without our dear machines.

Nowadays, we not only use coding for making the computers understand what we think but with it, we innovate, invent and demystify the world of riddles we are living in!

If coding interests you, then there is WhiteHat Jr. It simply reveres coding.

WhiteHat Jr. is an online coding platform specially designed for kids between the age group of 6 to 14 years. The company also extends numerous trials for its students for free app designing. With WhiteHat Jr, kids can now sit back at their homes comfortably and learn from the demo classes. WhiteHat Jr was acquired by Byju's in August of 2020, but even after that, the company has been operating as an independent entity.

Let's go through the WhiteHat Jr. success story and know about the Whitehatjr, its founders, Whitehat Jr fees, competitors, revenue, business model, funding & more here in this article.

WhiteHat Jr - Company Highlights

Company Name WhiteHat Jr
Headquarters Andheri, Maharashtra, India
Sector EdTech
Founder Karan Bajaj
Founded 2018
Total Funding $387.3 million
Revenue $63.39 million (INR 483.9 crore in FY21)
Parent Organization BYJU'S
Website whitehatjr.com

WhiteHat Jr - About
WhiteHat Jr - Startup Story
WhiteHat Jr - Mission and Vision
WhiteHat Jr - Founder And Team
WhiteHat Jr - Name, Tagline and Logo
WhiteHat Jr - Business Model
WhiteHat Jr - Revenue Model
WhiteHat Jr - Funding And Investors
WhiteHat Jr - Growth and Revenue
WhiteHat Jr - Partnerships
WhiteHat Jr - Advertisements and Campaigns
WhiteHat Jr - Challenges and Controversies
WhiteHat Jr - Competitors
WhiteHat Jr - Future Plans

WhiteHat Jr - About

WhiteHat Jr is the leading computer programming learning website for kids to code. It is a platform that connects kids with the top coding teachers. The fundamentals of coding reasoning, algorithmic and structure thinking are taught to the kids for creative outputs at WhiteHat Jr.

WhiteHat Jr - Startup Story

Though WhiteHat Jr was there as a company it got known to almost all of us when its present parent company, BYJU'S acquired it for $300 million in an all-cash deal in 2020 on August 5, 2020.

Moving to the startup story of the brand, WhiteHat Jr. Founder and Former CEO, Karan Bajaj, traced the foundation of WhiteHat Jr. to one of his deeply personal experiences with which he wanted to bring a change to the world.

Bajaj was a father of two daughters back then, and he felt that technology, truly, is bringing paradigm shifts in every possible industry, and therefore, his daughters also need to rein in the power of technology to absorb the upcoming shifts in their workplaces and their lives. Therefore, he wanted his daughters to be always at the center of creating technology and coding. Besides, he also went through researches that claim that if the kids are used to coding from an early age, they tend more experimentative and creative. All of these factors worked at the back of Bajaj's mind and propelled him to create an organization that will act as an institution for coding for children and adults.

Karan had MIT and TUFTS in his mind but founding one such organization was certainly difficult, but with his passion and dedication, he finally founded WhiteHat Jr in 2018

This company was founded in 2018 by the former Discovery Networks CEO (Karan Bajaj). This platform was planned to empower children. When Karan approached the investors to raise funding for his brand, they were surprised as he was pitching without a working product. Then, he explained to them that the investment thesis had already changed from 2015.

WhiteHat Jr - Mission and Vision

The mission and vision of WhiteHat Jr are to "empower a whole generation to become creators versus consumers of technology."

WhiteHat Jr - Founder And Team

Karan Bajaj is the founder of the company WhiteHat Jr. and had also been the CEO of the company before announcing his resignation on August 4, 2021. He also led Byju's Future School, a key element of the company's international expansion for a year, after WhiteHat Jr. was acquired by the Edtech giant, Byju's on August 5, 2020. Bajaj had served as the CEO of Discovery Networks India before he stepped down in 2018 to fully focus on WhiteHat Jr., which he founded in the same year.

Aside from his professional career associated with his company, he is also a renowned Indian author, whose first two novels, Keep Off the Grass (2008) and Johnny Gone Down (2010), have been best-sellers.

Bajaj initially got a BE degree in Mechanical Engineering from The Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra and then went on to pursue an MBA in Marketing from The Indian Institute of Management(IIM), Bangalore. He started off his corporate career with The Procter and Gamble Company, where he served as an Assistant Brand Manager. He assumed various leading positions in a range of distinguished companies including Ariel India, Herbal Essences, Kraft Foods, Boston Consulting Group, and more before he founded WhiteHat Jr. in 2018.

Karan Bajaj was born in 1979 in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, and spent various stages of his childhood in different places, owing to his father's transferable job.

Karan Bajaj, CEO, WhiteHat Jr

Karan Bajaj quit WhiteHat Jr. on August 4, 2021. The founder and CEO of WhiteHat Jr., has made way for Trupti Mukker to take his position. Trupti had served successfully as the head of the customer experience and delivery in Byju's, and is declared the CEO of the company.

After the acquisition of WhiteHat Jr. by Byju's in 2020, Bajaj continued to be the CEO of the company and resigned exactly after 1 year.

The company founder and ex-CEO Karan Bajaj previously mentioned that the company had 400 employees and 1,500 teachers in 2020 and disclosed the company's plans to double its employees and teachers.

"Your Own Personal Teacher Live, Online Classes" is the tagline of the company.

WhiteHat Jr - Logo

WhiteHat Jr - Business Model

The business model of the company is particularly based on teaching coding to young kids. The Edtech startup has now extended the students grades and is now accepting the students from grade 1 to 12th grade. The company targets children and guardians to offer various programming courses for a better future in this digital environment. The teaching format of WhiteHat Jr. is live 1:1 online classes. Furthermore, the company also offers free trial classes.


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WhiteHat Jr - Revenue Model

WhiteHat Jr's portal has got more than 700,000 registrations and around 7000 classes are conducted daily routine for kids. Each class conducted costs around INR 600 to 700. There are different course levels, which are priced at Rs 5,999, Rs 29,999, Rs 89,999 and many more. The student resurrection rate for the paid classes is around 75%. Suddenly, the refund fee has become 3% which is very low for an Indian Edtech company.

WhiteHat Jr - Funding And Investors

The company has raised a total amount of $387.3 million in funding over the 3 funding rounds it has seen.

Date Transaction Name Money Raised Lead Investors
August 3, 2021 - $376 million Byju's
September 9, 2019 Series A $10 million Nexus Venture Partners, Omidyar Network
April 16, 2019 Seed Round $1.21 million Nexus Venture Partners, Omidyar Network

The company is funded by 3 investors. Byju's infused $376 million in its latest towards its acquiree on August 3, 2021.

WhiteHat Jr - Growth and Revenue

Before the lockdown began, WhiteHat Jr. went from Rs 1 crore to Rs 10 crores in revenue. Since the lockdown, the value started doubling. When BYJU's approached in June, the revenue of the company was running at $75 million. The revenue run rate was reported at $150 million as soon as the acquisition was completed. Then, in August, the first month after the acquisition, the rate was again reported to be $220 million. The revenue of the company has surely seen quite a growth over the years. The company had listed revenue of INR 19 crore from its operations in FY20, which stood at only INR 6.7 lakh in FY19.

Byju's had owned WhiteHat Jr. in a deal worth $300 mn in August 2020, which made FY21 a special year for WhiteHat Jr. Apart from the Byju's acquisition of WhiteHat, the startup also witnessed a surge in its revenue under the edtech juggernaut.

WhiteHat Jr. Revenue Breakdown

The revenue from operations in FY21 was recorded to have surged by 25.5X to be INR 483.9 crore. Around 99% of its revenue came from the course fee it charges from the students, which increased 25X from INR 478.3 crore during FY21 from INR 19 crore in the previous fiscal. Apart from that, WhiteHat Jr. obtained INR 3.36 cr in revenue from the sale of goods or course materials that it offers students whereas another INR 2.27 cr in income was received from other operating revenues. Also, WhiteHat Jr. received INR 74 lakh as interest income.

WhiteHat Jr. Revenue Verticals FY21 FY20
Course Fee INR 478.34 cr INR 19.01 cr
Sale of Goods INR 3.36 cr -
Other Operating Revenue INR 2.27 cr -

WhiteHat Jr. Expenses Breakdown

WhiteHat Jr. expenses also surged along with its scale, which witnessed a 31X increase to be INR 2175.2 cr in FY21 from INR 69.7 cr in FY20. Looking at the expense verticals, the company lost quite some money to arrange for the employee benefits, which contributed 42.9% of the total WhiteHat Jr. expenditure during FY21. Β The costs for the employee benefits witnessed a 27X rise from INR 33.5 crore to INR 932.4 crore. The costs for the advertising and promotions of the company rose by 43.6X to be INR 891 crore from INR 20.42 crore. Nearly all of its expenses verticals saw a rise including the support services, IT and communication costs, legal, professional, and recruitment fees, and more. Here's a brief look at the expense breakdown of WhiteHat Jr:

WhiteHat Jr. Expense Verticals FY21 FY20
Employee Benefit Expenses INR 932.37 cr INR 33.50 cr
Advertising and Promotional Expenses INR 890.93 cr INR 20.42 cr
Support Service INR 110.54 cr INR 2.28 cr
IT and Communication Expenses INR 81.39 cr INR 2.69 cr
Legal and Professional Fees INR 44.23 cr INR 3.80 cr
Recruitment Expenses INR 39.76 cr INR 2.71 cr
Other Operating and Admin Expenses INR 75.98 cr INR 4.30 cr

WhiteHat Jr. Financials

Looking at the overall financials of WhiteHat Jr. in FY21, the company operating revenues surged by 25.5X, and its total expenses jumped by around 31X, which made the losses jump too. The annual losses of WhiteHat Jr. soared by 34.5X from INR 48.95 crore to INR 1690.5 crore. The unit economics of the company states that WhiteHat Jr. had spent INR 4.49 to earn a single rupee of revenue in FY21. The EBITDA margins of the company worsened too, which was recorded at -338.31% in FY20 and became -235.17% in FY21.

WhiteHat Jr. Financials FY20-FY21 Comparison

WhiteHat Jr - Partnerships

WhiteHat Jr has witnessed a number of partnerships throughout the years of its existence. Here's reviewing some of the most noteworthy collaborations of the company:

  • WhiteHat Jr. partnered with software giant Microsoft to offer a "Code with Minecraft" course for the students on December 23, 2021. This association of Microsoft and WhiteHat will ensure that the students master important coding concepts with the help of highly curated curriculum based on Minecraft.
  • WhiteHat Jr. collaborated with FutureSkills Prime, which is a combined initiative for digital skilling of students by Nasscom and the Electronics and IT Ministry on September 2, 2021.
  • The company, in partnership with 500+ schools, declared on 3rd August 2021, that it would extend the coding curriculum to the students, the number of whom are expected to be around more than 1.25 lakh.

WhiteHat Jr - Advertisements and Campaigns

WhiteHat Jr has been quite infamous in terms of the advertisements it has encouraged all the while since it came into being. The advertisements of the Byju's-owned startup were allegedly based on imaginary kids and their unreal geniuses after they attain WhiteHat Junior's academic programs. For example, in one of its advertisements, a 7-year-old has been projected as an app developer and a TedX speaker. This has largely been condemned by all including the ASCI, who had processed around 15 ads from WhiteHat Jr and has identified that 5 of these ads are in potential violation of the ASCI Code, which eventually led to the pulling off of such ads.

Furthermore, there also have been numerous aggressive claims of Whithat Jr via its social media platform. However, when they came on the radar of ASCI, they were already very old and most of them were already taken off. However, ever since Byju's acquired WhiteHat Jr, Byju Raveendran himself has ensured that the advertisement and the messaging of the brand would be proper and would address the mass as well as the kids properly.

Refreshing its promotional efforts, Whitehat Jr. has seen to be concentrating on the real kids and the real apps they are capable of building. The campaigns that WhiteHat Jr launched under #RealKidsOfWHJr and #YoungAchieversOfWHJr focused on the real-world applications of coding featured by real kids. The coding-plaform that was acquired by Edech giant Byju's also demonstrated a change in its social media activities, where Whitehat Jr now started posting the feats of real children. Furthermore, Whitehat Junior also collaborated with multiple celebrities including Hrithik Roshan, Mahesh Babu and R Madhavan after its Coding Seekho Duniya Badlo campaign went live on TV in the first week of November 2020.

The latest advertisement that Whitehat Junior launched featured Hrithik Roshan. Promoted as #PickItUp, the popular Bollywood actor was seen picking up the guitar. This Whitehat Jr ad is designed to wipe off the notion that age is a bar along with encouraging the students and other to choose music classes form Whitehat Jr and make music.

#PickItUp Campaign

WhiteHat Jr - Challenges and Controversies

WhiteHat Jr has seen its fair share of challenges since it was founded, which were associated with the scaling and growth of the company. WhiteHat Jr came under the radar of the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) after the startup made false claims of imaginary kids who learned coding from WhiteHat Jr and landed jobs at Google and other organizations, became TedX speakers, and more. WhiteHat Jr also sued Pradeep Poonia, who shared posts against Whitehatjr.

Pradeep Poonia Defamation Case

Pradeep Poonia claimed that WhiteHat Jr.s advertisement are all false and based on imaginary characters like Wolf Gupta, who the company has shown landing a job at Google after learning to code from the Karan Bajaj-led startup then. Poonia also referred the startup's instructors as "uneducated" and "housewives". Though the company later had to remove the advertisements involving Wolf, WhiteHat Jr. filed a defamation case worth Rs 20 crore against Poonia's statements and later withdrew the same. In the last court hearing, the court prevented Pradeep Poonia from:

  • Telecasting and transmitting any information received by hacking the servers of WhiteHat Jr.
  • Helping others take down the content of WhiteHat Jr.
  • Using his social media handle WhiteHat Sr. on Youtube
  • Using the URLs using the name "WhiteHat"
  • Keeping the tweets posted on September 12, 2020, that contains defamatory comments on WhiteHat Jr.
  • Keeping the tweets posted on September 5, 2020, where Poonia has called WhiteHat Jr.'s business a "pyramid scheme" and other tweets he shared in Septemer and October of 2020

In another case, the company also filed a defamation suit against Dr. Aniruddha Malpani. All of these had already cost the company much in terms of its revenue and reputation.

Employees' Resignation

More than 800 employees dropped their resignation letters in around 60 days' time after the company asked them to join work from office within a month. Employees from across teams including coding, sales and math department resigned from the office after being asked to join offices from their respective locations. On March 18, 2022, WhiteHat Jr. sent an email informing them to join their offices within April 18, 2022, which is why the employees have voluntarily put down their papers. Employees termed this decision of the company as a cost-cutting exercise.

Yes, it surely can be a method of cutting costs where we have already seen the bad market conditions that the edtech companies are dealing with. Unacademy and Vedantu, two other unicorns from the edtech space together have already laid off close to 1200 employees. Lido Learning, is another edtech company that has laid off around 150 employees recently.


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WhiteHat Jr - Competitors

The top competitors of WhiteHat Jr are Coding Blocks, Coding with Kids and Camp K12.

Coding Blocks Pvt Ltd

It is the top #2 competitor of WhiteHat Jr. The company is headquartered at New Delhi, India. It was founded in 2014. It operates in the Educational Technology industry.

Coding with Kids

It is also one of the competitors of WhiteHat Jr. The company is headquartered at Redmond, WA. It was founded in 2013. It conducts classes and camps for the kids of ages 5 to 18.

K12

It is the top #3 competitor of WhiteHat Jr. Headquartered in the US, K12 was founded in April 2000. It is a company that offers online schooling and curricula. It is an organization that provides education designed for the people searching for it online.


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WhiteHat Jr - Future Plans

The company is currently ramping up with its women-only teacher base in India. Presently, the platform is having over 7000 educators and is actively recruiting teachers for all its core disciplines and music from all around the country. The company is eyeing to make its teacher-base to 20,000 shortly. The continuous ramp-up base is aiming towards matching the growing base of students across countries like India, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the UK.

FAQs

Who founded WhiteHat Jr?

Karan Bajaj founded WhiteHat Jr., who was also the CEO of the company before he resigned on August 4, 2021. He is an Indian author and technology entrepreneur.

What is WhiteHat Jr Business Model?

The business model of the company is on teaching coding to young kids. The Edtech startup has now extended the students grades to 12th from grade 1. The company targets children and guardians to offer various programming courses for a better future in this digital environment. The teaching format is a live 1:1 online class. It also offers free trial classes.

Who are the Top Competitors of WhiteHat Jr?

The top competitors of WhiteHat Jr are Coding Blocks, Coding with Kids, and Camp K12.

How much is WhiteHat Jr Revenue?

WhiteHat Jr. recorded a revenue of $63.39 mn in FY21.

What are Whitehat Jr fees?

The WhiteHat Jr. fees start from around Rs 6500 only and go up. The Whitehat Jr fees per month depends on the duration and the complexity of the course it offers.

What are Whitehat jr free courses?

Whitehat Jr has free/trial classes that gives the students an opportunity to test the kind of classes/lectures they receive before going for WhiteHat Junior.

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