WhiteHat Jr. has been among the very few start-ups in India that have boomed exponentially within a year of its launch. It has been such a great success that it became the fifth largest venture exit in the Indian ecosystem after its acquisition by Byju’s, India’s leading Ed-tech and online tutoring firm. This milestone was achieved by WhiteHat Jr. in less than 20 months of its launch.
Wondering how WhiteHat Jr. managed to achieve this remarkable growth? In this article, we will discuss the business model, growth, revenue reports, acquisition, and overall marketing strategies of WhiteHat Jr. that resulted in it being an overnight success.
WhiteHat Jr. is an Edtech startup that focuses particularly on teaching coding to young kids of the age group 6 -14 years which has now extended to students of grade 1 – 12th. The startup was founded by Karan Bajaj who had previously worked with companies like Procter & Gamble, Kraft, and Discovery Networks. WhiteHat Jr. was founded in 2018 with investments from Nexus Venture Partners and Omidyar Network. Later Owl Ventures also funded the startup. The founding team of WhiteHat Jr. consisted of 3 engineers, 3 curriculum creators, and 1 graphic designer. But within less than 18 months, the total team strength went up by 300 owing to its successful business growth.
WhiteHat Jr. targets children and parents to offer programming courses for kids for a better career in the future AI-powered digital environment. As per reports, WhiteHat Jr.’s portal has more than 700,000 registrations and more than 7,000 classes are conducted online daily for kids. The teaching format is a live 1:1 online class. Each class cost around INR 600-750.
There are different course levels priced at Rs 5,999, Rs 29,999, Rs 89,999, and Rs 1,79,999 and more. WhiteHat Jr. offers a free trial class followed by a paid subscription model. The student renewal rate for these paid classes is around 75%. Surprisingly, the refund rate for WhiteHat Jr. is limited to around 3% only which is very low for any Indian Edtech company.
With an initial seed investment of $1.3 million from Nexus Venture Partners and Omidyar Network, the startup raised more than $10 million funding in September 2019 with US-based Owl Ventures as an additional investor. WhiteHat Jr. has reported a $40 million revenue rate within a year. It is growing at a steeping rate of 30-40% month-on-month. The platform is seeing great traction from tier- II and tier – III cities with more than 50% of their consumers coming from non-metro regions.
COVID – 19 further served as an added advantage to the revenue of the company. A massive surge in student enrollments was seen during the lockdowns. The month-on-month growth accelerated to more than 100% in this period as claimed by Karan Bajaj, founder of WhiteHat Jr.
WhiteHat Jr.’s success was a result of its agile digital marketing strategies. WhiteHat Jr. has been at the forefront of using effective targeting strategies for lead generation and conversion. The startup recognized its target consumer base early on and focused on doing B2C digital marketing only in the initial stages.
Media Planners estimated WhiteHat Jr.’s digital media ad spend investment to be around INR 10-15 crores. In an interview, Karan Bajaj reported that the company invested 50% of its ad spend in TV ads targeting the general masses of the country. In its ad campaigns, WhiteHat Jr. followed a captivating content strategy by portraying kids as creators instead of the consumers of technology. Its social media ads and promotions were future-oriented. The focus was on showcasing how the service can help change the life of its consumer.
One of its ads featured Chintu, a young kid who made an app by learning online coding from WhiteHat Jr. and a lot of investors are fighting among one another to invest in his app. It depicted how children can earn quite early and become successful in this information and digital age by staying ahead of time using their online learning service. The campaign was successful in generating emotional as well as logical appeal.
With celebrity endorsements from noted personalities like Sonu Sood, the platform was able to gain the goodwill of the masses. The company featured famous business and coding personalities like Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg, etc. in its online content marketing. However, the move was criticized by some people.
The repeated targeted ads from WhiteHat Jr. attracted negative trolls on social media, particularly on Twitter. The company was mocked for its frequent ads to people with no kids to enroll them in the program. In response, WhiteHat Jr. gave befitting clarifications and handled the situation well. The company turned the negative remarks in their favor by attributing this criticism to increased media attention due to its multi-million dollar acquisition.
With its phenomenal growth in a very short span of time, WhiteHat Jr. was soon seen as a competitor to Byju’s, the Indian ed-tech giant. To expand its dominant reach in the country Byju’s acquired WhiteHat Jr. for a whopping $300 million in August 2020. Byju’s further pumped INR 136 crore as an investment in WhiteHat Jr. after one month of its acquisition.
This remarkable acquisition made WhiteHat Jr. a true blitzscaling example in the Indian startup scenario. The company continues to thrive in its Indian and US operations and has recently announced plans to expand to Canada, U.K., Australia, and New Zealand.
The Bottom Line
WhiteHat Jr. is a paradigm of success for the effective execution of business plans, branding, and digital marketing strategies. A good business always needs great marketing to thrive. With agile digital marketing services, any business can be a leader in its industry just like WhiteHat Jr. All that it needs is to kickstart the journey now to reap the benefits of the asset that digital marketing is!