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Less than 18 months since it started operations, edtech start-up WhiteHat Jr is on a massive hiring spree. CNBC-TV18 learns that the Mumbai-based firm, founded by former CEO of Discovery India Karan Bajaj , will be hiring 400 employees in a month and get 2,000 teachers aboard the platform, within the same period.
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“We were growing 40 percent month-on-month, and since February, revenues have been doubling every month,” said Bajaj in an exclusive chat.
“It is a conscious decision to hire aggressively because the more teachers we have on the platform, the more slots we have for students who end up paying. So, not only are we hiring 2,000 teachers a month, but also scaling up the team recruiting.”
WhiteHat Jr is an ed-tech platform focused on teaching coding to children between the ages of 6 and 14. The start-up secured its Series-A funding of $10 million in September 2019 within six months of going operational.
US operations registering 200 percent growth
The company launched its US operations a month before the COVID-19 Pandemic hit — a fortuitous decision given that the United States alone has accounted for a revenue growth of 200 percent albeit in nascence, according to Bajaj.
Today, these encouraging growth numbers are prompting WhiteHat to hire big, even in the midst of the lockdown. “The company has begun hitting maturity at around our 18-month stage, while the product itself gained maturity in January,” said Bajaj who is quick to dismiss any notion that the COVID-19 lockdown may have primarily contributed to this stellar growth: “We can’t really say it (the lockdown) has worked to our advantage. The conversion rate of customers is the same as it was pre-corona.”
No uptick in customers paying for edtech
This simply means that WhiteHat’s stellar growth notwithstanding there is no uptick in the number of customers paying for the platform’s edtech services now as opposed to those using the free version. “There are people who have managed to sample ed-tech, but there isn’t a wave of customers who are paying more now than before,” said Bajaj, “The customers are hesitant to purchase.”
What the company can report for itself is its cash-positive revenue run rate, which means WhiteHat is using income from revenues to scale up operations. “We don’t need funding to grow, what we need funding for now, is to venture into new categories and operations,” said Bajaj, “We have aggressive expansion plans outside our core business.”
WhiteHat will look to raise its Series-B funding either later this month or early next month, and is targeting an investment of around $50 million.