WhiteHat Jr

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WhiteHat Jr
Subsidiary
Industry
  • Edtech
  • Distance education
  • M-learning
FateAcquired by BYJU'S
Founded2018; 3 years ago (2018)
FounderKaran Bajaj
Headquarters
Mumbai, Maharashtra
,
India
Area served
Multinational
Key people
Karan Bajaj (CEO)
Revenue$150 million
OwnerBuju's
ParentByju's
Websitewww.whitehatjr.com

WhiteHat Jr is an Indian ed-tech startup and online tutoring firm that teaches coding to kids via one-to-one live video classes.[1] It was founded in 2018 by Karan Bajaj and is targeted at children aged 6 years to 14 years in countries like India and the U.S. [2] [3] In 2020, WhiteHat Jr was acquired by BYJU'S for USD$300 million.[4] It also claims to offer AI courses to its customers.[5]

Funding

Karan Bajaj started with initial funding of $1.3 million from Nexus Venture Partners and Omidyar Network India.[6] [7]

On 7 August 2020, WhiteHat Jr was acquired by Byju's for $300 million in an all-cash transaction.[8]

Controversies

In November 2020, Karan Bajaj, WhiteHat Jr's founder, filed a 20 crore Indian rupee ($2.7 Million)[9] defamation case against an engineer for publicly criticizing the firm's marketing and advertising tactics. TechCrunch further reported that the company had filed another suit against an investor for sharing negative feedback about the app.[10] Since then, it has been at the forefront of criticism for its advertising practices, with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) asking the company to pull down its advertisements. The body claimed that the ads are dubious and unsubstantiated after it received reports from several activities, parents, and media persons.[11] WhiteHat Jr was also allegedly found to be removing social media posts that are critical of its app, the faculty teaching via the app, and its general marketing ideology.[12][13]

Wolf Gupta fiasco

WhiteHat Jr initially claimed in its advertisements that their 12-year-old[14] student "Wolf Gupta" had bagged a Rs 20-crore ($27 Million) package from Google, LLC and was working as an Artificial Intelligence Researcher.[15] It was later found to be false and "Wolf Gupta" wasn't a real person.[16] Founder Karan Bajaj commented “It was incorrect to have run that campaign. I admit that better systems should have been in place, but it was taken down through a process of self-review months ago, much before the criticism started.”[17]

Data breach

In November 2020, it was reported that the personal information of over 280,000 students and teachers was leaked via the company's AWS servers.[18][19][20] WhiteHat Jr left its backend servers open which gave unrestricted access to plaintext data about its students & teachers including but not limited to personal data like user IDs, student names, images, age, gender, parents' names, and progress reports.[21] They restricted access to data after noticing the Data breach.[20]

References

  1. "Backed by Byju's, WhiteHat Jr is adding 220 teachers per day on its platform". Business Insider.
  2. "WhiteHat Jr to ramp up teacher base; expand to Canada, UK, ANZ". Outlook India. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  3. Sil, Debarghya (August 6, 2020). "Byju's Acquires WhiteHat Jr For $300 Mn". Entrepreneur.
  4. Gooptu, Biswarup. "Byju's parent buys WhiteHat Jr in $300m cash deal" – via The Economic Times.
  5. "Karan Bajaj's WhiteHat Jr Picks Up $1.3 Mn Seed Funding To Teach The Next Generation of Coders". Inc42 Media. 2019-04-16. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  6. Bhattacharya, Ananya. "WhiteHat Jr's dream run until it became controversy's favourite child". Quartz India.
  7. "Byju's buys Nexus-backed WhiteHat Jr for $300 mn; investors to exit in phases". Techcircle. 2020-08-06. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  8. Gooptu, Biswarup. "Byju's parent buys WhiteHat Jr in $300m cash deal". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  9. https://www.india.com/business/whitehat-jr-founder-files-rs-20-crore-lawsuit-against-pradeep-poonia-publicly-slammed-byjus-4219363/
  10. "Byju's-owned Indian startup WhiteHat Jr sues critics".
  11. "Exclusive: Advertising Body Asks WhiteHat Jr To Pull Down Ads". Forbes India.
  12. "WhiteHat Jr And The Curious Case Of Disappearing Dissent". Forbes India.
  13. "Behind Byju's swift silencing of online dissent". The Ken. October 6, 2020.
  14. "WhiteHatJr. Says Wolf Gupta Ad With 20 Crore Job Package at Google Was Fake to High Court Delhi, India". TheDigitalHacker.
  15. "WhiteHatJr vs WhiteHatSr: Defamation Or Fair Criticism?". BloombergQuint.
  16. Chowdhury, Archis (November 26, 2020). "The Curious Case Of Wolf Gupta - And The Whitehat Jr Conundrum". www.boomlive.in.
  17. Bhatt, Shephali. "Delhi High Court grants interim relief to WhiteHat Jr founder in defamation lawsuit" – via The Economic Times.
  18. "Personal Data Of 2.8 Lakh WhiteHat Jr Students, Teachers Exposed". November 24, 2020.
  19. "WhiteHat Jr Data Exposed Data Due to Multiple Vulnerabilities: Report". NDTV Gadgets 360.
  20. 20.0 20.1 "WhiteHat Jr Bug: Personal Data Of 2.8 Lakh Students, Teachers Exposed". Mashable India. November 25, 2020.
  21. Sircar, Sushovan (November 24, 2020). "WhiteHat Jr Bug Made Personal Data of 2.8 Lakh Students Vulnerable". TheQuint.

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