In an interview to PTI, Karan Bajaj, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Whitehat Jr. said that the barely two-year-old online education platform has met with tremendous success in India, US, UK, New Zealand and Australia, with nearly 1.5 lakh payments. went. Some 40,000 classes every day from 11,000 teachers.
“We are starting math classes next month,” he said, adding the company will have to use a one-on-one learning model and create 100,000 jobs for women in India over the next three years.
The teachers, from the comfort of their homes and flexi time, earned the equivalent of entry-level salaries of IITs and IIM graduates, adding that adding super-qualified women who were not fully employed would be used.
Individual teacher education has brought great success in India with 70 percent of the 1.5 lakh paid students and for students coming from countries like America, Australia and New Zealand.
In addition, children are organically connecting with other countries such as Sweden, Norway and Ethiopia.
“We are now starting trials in Brazil and Mexico with local teachers and local students,” he said, adding that the company would build its international presence in a measured way based on cash flow.
WhatHat Jr is also enrolled in schools to teach coding. They already have 100 schools and plan to go to 1,000 in the next few months. “Well-trained teachers will train a small group of students.”
“We’ll take coding around the world, launch new categories, like math and science and around construction,” he said.
During the lockdown, the company increased by 60 per cent month-on-month and said it was growing 100 per cent. It has reached annual revenue of US $ 150 million.
Supported by marquee investors such as Nexus Venture Partners and Omidyar Network, Whitehat Jr. raised just US $ 11 million before acquiring India’s largest ad-tech startup, Biju, for $ 300 million in August this year.
This transaction was eye-wrenching because it was the fastest-thinking story. In August 2019, Whitehat Jr. was valued at only US $ 30 million and was valued at 10 times a year in valuations and its initial backers were Omidyar Network India, Nexus Venture Partners and Owl Ventures (which invested USD 10 million ) To generate record returns (10x-15x). Cumulatively only 11 months ago in September 2019)?
But since the acquisition, Whitehat Jr. has been in the discussion for all the wrong reasons. By October, Whitehat Jr. became one of the most publicly criticized startups.
Flush with funds, Whitehat Jr. launched an ad blitzkrieg across the media, allegedly making controversial claims about its product offering — after taking coding classes at Whitehat Jr., six-in-seven. Year old children became building apps and websites and even TEDx speakers. And a nine-year-old ‘Wolf Gupta’, who was later found to be fictitious, was leaving a job at Google with a multi-crore rupee package.
These advertisements were soon called by the public and advertising experts. The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) in October ordered the firm to pull advertisements for dubious claims and violate ASCI’s code of conduct?
Bajaj said, “We have grown rapidly in a very short period of time. A lot has happened until you set up a very rigorous internal review system.”
The company, he said, was “advertising a lot”.
Bajaj said that 8 or 10 out of the 800-900 tested were in news. And it was pulled down and the company established an internal review system and reverted to the original philosophy of nurturing creativity in children.
“The core idea of the company has always been pure: children should be builders and creators. The power of coding is that children use coding to build, build stuff. We celebrate children’s creativity. We go back into it. Have gone. In the last few months, “he said.
On the controversial ads, “We were thinking it was fun but it should be children’s creativity. We have returned to those roots.”
“Messaging was created for a very long time. Children will create, children will be born, coding helps you bring creativity to life. We continue this. There were some advertisements that went on to the theme of success. We were delighted Have gone back in happiness. ” Construction, not results, “he said.”
In September, Pradeep Poonia, a pre-product manager at ad-tech firm NextEducation, accused Whitehat Jr. of a toxic work culture with racism, sexism and bigotry.
Poonia, a former Cisco engineer, started drawing public attention to Whitehat Jr.’s advertising, teaching, curriculum, and practices spread throughout the employee code of conduct.
Bajaj filed a Rs 20 crore suit against Poonia in the Delhi High Court, accusing him of defamation and hacking in its servers, downloading and distributing content and curriculum, broadcasting the company’s internal communication channels and trademarks and Used ‘Whiteheart SNR’ in violation of copyright. ‘In your social media profile.’
He said that legitimate, honest face-based criticism is indeed welcome, but false, unethical attacks, including criticism of the company’s attempts to break into servers and defame female teachers.
He said, “The company has been criticized so much. We never reacted. We learned from them and made things better and better. Only once did we draw a line when you were like breaking the law.”
Elaborately, he said that there was a group of 300-400 people, taking daily test classes with different IDs and “giving teachers a variety of bags” and “posting videos on the Internet.”
“Now that was a great threat to the safety of women,” he said. “The action (litigation) was not due to criticism about the company or the content of the ads, it is very welcome and should be. This action was only in the context of crossing legal boundaries such as hacking into the system. Company.”
He said, “It’s like hacking your email account, looking at all the 6-7 year old messages, and getting a message out of context. To see how bad a character he is?”
Whitehat Jr. is not opposed to the criticism, he said. “But if you cross a threshold of the law and threaten women, defame them, post their videos publicly on the internet which is against the law, breaking our terms and conditions, in the company’s system Hacking and taking a message from internal communication “lay it out to make a philosophical point” will not be tolerated.
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