Firm train­ing next-gen tech cre­ators

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Sunday Special - Sindhu.Har­i­ha­ran

Twelve-year-old Shau­rya Sharma, from Mum­bai, is among the youngest in the coun­try to build an AI chat­bot. Many more kids are on track to de­velop their first tech­nol­ogy prod­ucts, the re­sult of a grow­ing trend where cu­ri­ous minds are be­ing in­tro­duced to cod­ing early on. on school for par­ents.

White Hat Jr has its own cod­ing cur­ricu­lum and gives one-on-one lessons through in­ter­ac­tive online classes.

Ba­jaj, who has two young daugh­ters, is a huge be­liever in the power of early learni ng, and t his con­vic­tion helped him go from con­cept to ex­e­cu­tion in less than a year.

“This business propo­si­tion is a new model for the coun­try and even the world. Con­sid­er­ing that no one else t eaches young kids to cre­ate dig­i­tal prod­ucts, there was no play­book for us to bor­row from,” Ba­jaj said.

The startup has seen over 1.5 lakh stu­dent t ri­als and on­boarded over 500 teach­ers since its com - mer­cial launch in March this year. Ba­jaj did not dis­close num­ber of paid users but said both learner count and rev­enue were dou­bling ev­ery month.

Word-of-mouth praise is work­ing best for the startup. “A kid in Gang­tok signed up for our course and about a week later, 23 more chil­dren from the same lo­ca­tion en­rolled with us,” he said. Ac­cord­ing to the en­tre­pre­neur, de­spite pro­lif­erat i on of edtech mod­els in t he K-12 space, White Hat Jr has no di­rect com­peti­tor who helps kids cre­ate tech prod­ucts and “gets t hem to learn to fish”.

“Our fo­cus on help­ing kids cre­ate their own apps and the live one-on-one teach­ing model sets us apart,” he said.

The startup has a war chest in place for its next phase of growth, af­ter a re­cent raise of $10 mil­lion from Sil­i­con Val­ley’s edtech- fo­cused fund Owl Ven­tures and ex­ist­ing in­vestors Nexus Ven­ture Part­ners and Omid­yar Net­work.

Global ex­pan­sion is now on the cards and plans will be in mo­tion in Novem­ber.

White Hat Jr also in­tends to add global class sched­ul­ing fea­ture and gam­i­fi­ca­tion tech­niques to its plat­form. “We will also use the funds to ex­pand our user base and on­board more teach­ers,” Ba­jaj said.

He is not los­ing sleep over com­pe­ti­tion in the mark. “As long as tech helps kids to cre­ate things and en­hances their cre­ativ­ity, par­ents are happy to sign up,” he said.


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