The acquisition spree of edtech decacorn Byju’s is well-known – it has spent nearly $2 billion in the last six months to acquire several start-ups (including Aakash Institute, Toppr, Great learning, Epic, and others) as it continues to profit from the shift to online education (something that was accelerated by the pandemic). One of the firms acquired by Byju’s – Whitehat Jr. – makes headlines quite regularly, and not always for the best reasons. Now, the company’s founder and CEO Karan Bajaj is set to leave the start-up, one year after its acquisition. He will be succeeded by Trupti Mukker, Head of Customer Experience and Delivery at the start-up.
Formed in 2018, the coding platform WhiteHat Jr. has been in the news in recent times for its controversial (and aggressive) advertising campaign. It had been acquired by Byju’s last year in an all-cash deal as part of the edtech giant’s plans to expand in the country and the US.
Bajaj took to LinkedIn to announce that he was thankful to the investors and the ecosystem for supporting him. His post read, “As I move on to new paths, my deep gratitude to the 17,000+ employees and teachers who weren’t a part of my life just two years ago. Thank you for trusting me through thick and thin. I know almost each one of you and will always remember you very, very warmly!”
Bajaj intends to spend the next chapter of his life building a career in public service after transitioning and taking a brief sabbatical.
It was an internal email sent by Byju’s co-founder Byju Raveendran which first revealed the news. His mail read, “Under Karan’s leadership, WhiteHat Jr and BYJU’S FutureSchool now enable hundreds of thousands of students in countries around the world daily to learn and create with 11,000+ deeply committed teachers. While I wish he would’ve stayed longer, Karan is a force of nature and accustomed to making unconventional choices, as you all know, and I wish him only the best for what will surely be an exciting path ahead.”
Bajaj praised his successor, describing her as a leader he had admired for almost two decades as she accomplished one milestone after the other, and knew that her competent, compassionate leadership would keep making the experience of learning better while simultaneously enabling thousands of more women to enter into the mainstream workforce.
Byju’s has emerged as India’s biggest startup, pushed by the sudden rise in demand of online learning. However, it is facing tough competition from the likes of Unacademy, upGrad and many others, most of which have also seen numbers shoot up in the past year.