As more parents and children are getting accustomed to online learning post-COVID-19 lockdown, the online coding platform WhiteHat Jr. has witnessed a sudden surge in traction. The one-on-one virtual coding platform for kids, aged between six to 14, aims to empower the next generation to become creators versus consumers of technology.
"We were earlier growing at a 40 per cent month-on-month growth rate, and since the lockdown, this has accelerated to 100 per cent month-on-month growth. We're also hiring aggressively to increase capacities, get more teachers on board, and conduct more daily classes for the students. We're currently looking to onboard 2,000-plus teachers and 400 employees every month to supplement the increasing student base," says Karan Bajaj, Founder and CEO, WhiteHat Jr.
In addition to metro cities, WhiteHat Jr. is seeing great traction from tier-II and tier-III cities as well, which substantiates the fact that coding is fast emerging as a viral phenomenon among kids and parents in our country. "As far as India is concerned, we have students enrolling from locations such as Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Ariyalur, Kumbakonam, Coimbatore, Balangir and many more. At least 45 per cent of our traffic is now coming from non-metros. We expect this trend to grow even further as there is greater awareness among parents about the benefits that come with learning future-oriented skills like coding," adds Bajaj.
Adopting an interactive approach, WhiteHat Jr. does not conduct tests in a conventional sense. The company believes that kids can create their applications, which can be downloaded by users.
With coding becoming popular among kids, even schools are opening up to the idea of offering coding classes. "We are receiving several inbound queries from schools and are in discussions with over 150 schools to roll out this program in the future. When this takes shape, we want to offer flexibility to schools in terms of how they can collaborate with us. This would include models where we will license our curriculum to schools and train their teachers to supplement their existing computer science classes," adds Bajaj.
The company also did a pilot launch in the US earlier this year, and the US business is growing at more than 200 per cent each month. This has now given the company the confidence to scale up business in major global markets too.
Commenting on revenue, Bajaj says, "We've reached a $50 million annual revenue run rate within 15 months of going live while utilizing only a fraction of the $11 million cumulative funding we've raised. We have also achieved positive cash flow from March 2020 and all of this has been possible by creating an extremely passionate and lean team while being incredibly capital efficient in all our business operations. Our single-minded focus has been on our student and teacher community and that has led to strong word of mouth referrals helping the company to achieve a cult-like status among our users."
Over 700,000 students out of more than a million students who attended the free trial class have enrolled on the platform, while over a million projects have been created. The company has been named after WhiteHat Hackers, ethical computer hackers who help companies identify weak links in their computer systems and help law enforcement to detect and protect against malicious cyberattacks. Jr. suffix was added to it, as the platform caters to kids.