We Scaled Up Because We Didn't Rely On External Capital: Karan Bajaj, Founder & CEO, Whitehat Jr

When you scale fast, nobody can come in between because otherwise, you may face a better-funded, larger competition.

The quote by Swami Vivekananda, “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life — think of it, the dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.”, is very relevant in today’s scenario. As an aftermath of the pandemic, entrepreneurs will need to scale up to pan out of the crisis by bringing in innovative designs, re-strategising their functioning and managing cash flow to get pertinent employees on board.  

On this note, the story of Whitehat Jr is the best example to quote. Karan Bajaj, Founder & CEO, Whitehat Jr, recently sold his edtech startup, which is a little more than a year old, to Byju’s, India’s second-largest startup, in a $300 million cash deal. 

On entrepreneurship and scaling-up during resilient times, Bajaj said, “All start-ups are distinct, and what works for one might not work for another. I think of scaling up in two components- extreme patience in building the product, and extreme impatience in scaling the business.”  He added that in the first six months, the entrepreneur has to be extremely patient and artisan-like. Founder's role is extremely important. From being the single product manager to the first call-centre employee, they need to be doing everything. “It is important to know the product and the customer in detail which will provide brilliant offerings”, he added. Karan further highlighted on his personal journey and his state-of-mind while he was leaving Discovery and planning to start his own business.  

He spoke about the 50:50:50 score that is important in the first six months where each 50 is dedicated to a different spectrum. He explained, “50 per cent of renewal rate is very critical where the people you sold to will continue buying from you. Then comes 50 per cent of gross budget, and 50 point of net promoter score. When you think of scaling, just be very unapologetic about it and about your competitors. We did revenue of one crore per month, and every month we were doubling.” 

While Bajaj emphasised on the consumer word-of-mouth, he added, “Since the product was crafted very well, our renewal scale was very high." When you scale fast, nobody can come in between because otherwise, you may face a better-funded, larger competition. “The balance is important and that’s the art of scaling up a business”. The journey of scaling up a business is very hard physically. My team and I had to officially work for 12 hours a day and six days a week,” he stated.  

“We scaled up because we didn't rely on external capital. In our case, a good product led to our success”, stated Bajaj. He added that the energy of the founder is very important and the energy comes from personal life which is quite under-leveraged. If you have a great product, and you scale well, it won’t be difficult to earn a couple of $100 million in 18 months. 

Bajaj spoke at 6th Annual Young Entrepreneur's Summit organised by BW Businessworld virtually.  

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