“Who is John Galt?”

Thus begins Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand’s epochal novel. A shadowy figure for the most part of the book, Galt ultimately turns out to be turns out to be Wikipedia John Galt Read more  the individualistic personification of the culture of that age.

The modern equivalent of this would probably be:

“Who is Wolf Gupta?”

For the uninitiated, Wolf Gupta is apparently a “12-year-old who learnt AI to get a Rs 1.2 cr ($160,000) job from Google while other kids his age didn’t know what to do after school”.

But much like John Galt, Wolf Gupta is an enigma, a wispy presence about whom few to no details can be found. Ironically even on the Google search engine that belongs to the eponymous corporation where the child genius is ostensibly working.

Most of the search results on Google point to point to Facebook A post on Wolf Gupta Read more  advertisements extolling Gupta. Most of these ads belong to a coding-for-kids edtech startup called WhiteHat Jr.

WhiteHat Jr was just acquired acquired Techcrunch India's Byju's Acquires WhiteHat Jr For $300million Read more by edtech behemoth Byju’s for an eye-popping sum of $300 million. It was a deal that raised many eyebrows for multiple reasons.

How and why did a startup that was barely two years old get acquired for such a nose-bleed sum? All in cash? How did it exit so quickly?

Why does this deal make sense for Byju’s? What is in it for the market leader?

Marketing matters

But first, what do Madhuri Dixit, Farah Khan, and Sonu Sood have in common?

They are all Bollywood celebrities. But more specifically, all three endorse WhiteHat Jr, extolling the virtues of coding classes for their kids in marketing videos that are widely shared.

If you were wondering how and why Bollywood stars are qualified to promote a coding startup, you are asking the wrong question. This is neither novel nor new. Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan has been the high-profile public face of Byju’s for a number of years.

Such videos are complemented by high-decibel online banner advertisements featuring stalwarts such as Bill Gates, Sundar Pichai, and Mark Zuckerberg. 

AUTHOR

Sumanth Raghavendra

Sumanth is a serial entrepreneur with more than eighteen years experience in running startups. He is currently the founder of Deck App Technologies, a Bangalore-based startup attempting to re-imagine productivity software for the Post-PC era. Sumanth’s columns appear regularly in leading publications. He holds MBA degrees from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management, USA.

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