A noted author, entrepreneur and business leader, Karan Bajaj knows that children are everyone’s future, and providing them with an opportunity is imperative for building a better future.
To that end, Bajaj believes that giving kids an early start in the world of coding can not only inspire confidence in the newest generation, but also help young people develop the skills and tech acumen essential to creating a better future for countries, societies and people throughout the globe.
It was with this thought that Bajaj established Whitehat Jr., a startup designed to empower kids through coding education and provide children the opportunity to see themselves as builders and artists from a young age.
But despite the energy and dedication he puts into this world-changing coding company, Bajaj still finds time to write – a passion that has propelled his career and remarkable success as a bestselling novelist.
Manager Turned Author
After obtaining an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and a masters in business administration, marketing and strategy, Karan Bajaj landed positions at Procter & Gamble and The Boston Consulting Group, respectively (2008).
Within that time, Bajaj also embarked on a solo backpacking trip through Eastern Europe and South America. This trip not only influenced his views of the world, and also inspired much of his writing.
Following his trip, Bajaj published his first novel, Keep Off the Grass, in August 2008. Keep Off the Grass follows a 25-year-old Yale graduate born to immigrant parents within the United States. One day, this exuberant youth decides to pursue his ancestral roots in India, an intriguing adventure that soon captivated the hearts and minds of millions across the subcontinent.
Following Keep Off the Grass, Bajaj published Johnny Gone Down (2010), a thriller centered on an Ivy League graduate experiencing a number of surreal events over the course of 20 years.
Both novels became so successful, in fact, that Bajaj earned signed movie deals for each one, signing on with such production companies as Mosaic Media Group and Cahuenga Motion Pictures.
After the release of Johnny Gone Down, Karan Bajaj landed a job with Kraft Foods, earning the position of Marketing Director and P&L Leader. Two years later, Bajaj and his wife took a sabbatical year, becoming yoga teachers and learning the ways of meditation.
Leaving And Returning
Upon returning from his sabbatical, Bajaj became Kraft’s Senior Marketing Director. Yet, it wasn’t long before Bajaj began feeling disconnected from the ideas and demands of consumerism.
Bajaj left Kraft in 2014, choosing to focus more on his spiritual interests and writing. It was during this time that Bajaj fulfilled his lifelong dream of working as full-time writer, which resulted in the release of The Seeker, his third bestselling novel.The Seeker earned acclaim outside of India as The Yoga of Max’s Discontent, which achieved significant success around the world.
Bajaj rejoined the corporate world in 2016, accepting the role of CEO at Discovery Networks India. Bajaj described his time there as “memorable and experimentative.” He held that position for just under two years before tackling his latest venture, which would quickly prove to be beneficial for younger generations throughout the globe.
Karan Bajaj: Author Turned Founder
In 2018, Bajaj founded WhiteHat Jr, a Mumbai-based, edutech startup focused on coding education for children and teens. Bajaj developed the idea for WhiteHat Jr. after reading up on the Industrial Revolution, learning about the first time Mathematics became a core aspect of the public school curriculum.
As a father, he felt something similar occurring among modern youth, remarking that even though “consumer tech is at the center of every household… nobody is teaching children coding from an early age.”
An innovative concept, WhiteHat Jr. allows between the ages of 6 and 18 the chance to build market-ready games, animations, and apps using the fundamentals of coding. Interest in building an IT career or earning coding qualifications are not required to enroll in WhiteHat Jr classes – kids can join in no matter their ambition or experience.
Today, WhiteHat Jr. is composed of more than 11,000 teachers, all of which are women. Additionally, Whitehat Jr. utilizes a fully web-based curriculum to connect valuable programming instruction with eager young minds. Sessions range from 45 minutes to one hour in length.
Students may also use the coding platform to practice and refine their coding skill. By using a personalized, 1:1 student to teacher ratio, WhiteHat Jr. pursues its core philosophy, which is to: “empower[s] the next generation to become creators rather than consumers by channelising their natural creativity with an engaging curriculum.”
In the first year after launch, both Karan Bajaj and WhiteHat Jr. received applause from parents throughout India – widespread praise from mothers and fathers pleased with the results-driven program. This success provided the springboard for an international launch.
Whitehat Jr.’s success soon caught the eye of India edutech giant Byju, which purchased the firm for $300 million in 2020. Just recently, Whitehat Jr. added a new “Create With Math” curriculum to its repertoire, expanding company offerings to empower and inspire even more children around the world.
It’s true that Baraj’s journey has not always shown success (a fact highlighted by Baraj in a 2017 blog post). But whenever faced with adversity, Baraj has always found comfort in the power of spirituality, meditation and sleep – elements key to rejuvenation, refocusing and returning some much-needed perspective back to his life.
“This is life,” says Karan Bajaj. “Some ups, more downs. Success is ephemeral, failure is never far. If you try new things, you’ll likely crumble. You’ll pick up the pieces, then you’ll crumble again. It’s messy, glorious, always work-in-progress. Just don’t lose sleep.”