Karan Bajaj

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Karan Bajaj
Portrait of Karan Bajaj
Portrait of Karan Bajaj
Born (1979-06-30) 30 June 1979 (age 42)
India
Occupation
  • Entrepreneur
  • Novelist
NationalityIndian
Alma materIndian Institute of Management, Bangalore
Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra
Notable worksKeep Off The Grass (2008)
Johnny Gone Down (2010)
The Seeker (2015)
The Yoga of Max's Discontent,
Years active2008–present
Website
karanbajaj.com

Karan Bajaj is an Indian technology entrepreneur[1][2] and author.[3] He is best known as founder and CEO of WhiteHat Jr., an Edtech company specializing in distance learning[4][5][6] which was acquired by BYJU'S in 2020.[7][8]

Bajaj is also the author of four novels.[9][10][11][12]

Early life[edit]

Karan Bajaj was born in India, where he was brought up in a family with military roots.[13] He has a master's degree in Business Administration from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and a B.A diploma in Mechanical Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra.[3]

Career[edit]

In his early career, Bajaj worked for Procter & Gamble, The Boston Consulting Group[14] and Kraft Foods.[3] In 2016, he moved to Mumbai as CEO of Discovery Networks, where he headed Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and Discovery Kids in South Asia.[2] He left Discovery Networks in 2019.[15]

Whitehat Jr[edit]

In 2018, Bajaj started WhiteHat Jr, an online educational company initially aimed at improving children's coding and math skills.[16][5] In 2020, the firm was acquired for $300 million by BYJU'S[17][2] and integrated into their coding teaching division.[2][7][3][8] After the acquisition, he led Byju's International division, Byju's FutureSchool, launching programs in English, Spanish and Portuguese for the US, Brazil and Mexico students with new courses including music, English, fine arts and science.[18] Bajaj left the company in August 2021.[19][20] Now Trupti Mukker the head of customer experience and delivery, will take over as CEO of White HatJr. [21]

Authorship[edit]

Bajaj is the author of several books.[22] Keep Off The Grass is Bajaj's debut book first published in 2008, about a psychedelic road trip of a 25-year-old Yale graduate through the length and breadth of India. The journey is made by a youngster protagonist named Samrat, born to immigrant parents in the U.S. who decides to go out in search of his roots. Along the way, Samrat is jailed for possession of marijuana, develops a drug addiction, meditates in the foothills of the Himalayas, has a one-night stand with a hippie in Dharamsala and meets flesh-eating Aghoree saints on the banks of Varanasi.[23]

Bajaj's second novel, Johnny Gone Down, is a thriller published by HarperCollins in 2010. The novel's narrative is focused on the "bizarre, almost surreal series of events that transform an MIT graduate into first a genocide survivor, then a Buddhist monk, a drug lord, a homeless accountant, a software mogul, and a deadly game fighter over a period of twenty years."[24]

The Seeker, was a third book published by Penguin Random House in June 2015. The novel is about an investment banker in New York who embarks on a quest to become a yogi in the Himalayas. The plot was inspired by Bajaj's one-year sabbatical traveling from Europe to India, learning Hath yoga in an ashram in India, and practicing meditation in the Himalayas.[25][26]

Bajaj's works have been noted and reviewed by various publications and literary critics, including Kirkus Reviews,[26] Publishers Weekly,[27] Chicago Tribune[9] and Indiaplaza,[28] among others. His book "Keep off the Grass" reached the semi-finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and was on the shortlist of the Indiaplaza Golden Quill Book Awards in 2008.[28][29]

Kevin Nance from the Chicago Tribune wrote on "The Yoga of Max's Discontent": "If being a Wall Street banker doesn't seem conducive to a life of stillness, solitude and meditation — if the concept of selflessness, in all its implications, seems foreign to the ethos of New York City — then the course of "The Yoga of Max's Discontent," by the Indian-American novelist Karan Bajaj, will seem natural, if not inevitable."[9]

Publications[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Bajaj, Karan (2008). Keep Off the Grass. ISBN 978-9-350-29287-7. by HarperCollins[30]
  • Bajaj, Karan (2010). Johnny Gone Down. ISBN 978-9-350-29494-9. by HarperCollins[31]
  • Bajaj, Karan (2015). The Seeker. ISBN 978-9-352-14037-4. by Penguin Random House[32]
  • Bajaj, Karan (2016). The Yoga of Max's Discontent. ISBN 978-0-698-19204-1. by Penguin Random House[33][34]
    • Translated into Czech as *Max a hledání vyšší pravdy[35]

Adaptations[edit]

The copyrights for the Keep off the Grass screen adaptation were sold to Mosaic Media Group in 2009 with Ben Rekhi signed up as director.[14] In 2017, Ronnie Screwvala and Ashi Dua were signed on as co-producers for the screen adaptation of Johnny Gone Down.[36]

Personal life[edit]

Karan is married to Kerry Bajaj. They have two daughters.[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "WhiteHat Jr's dream run until it became controversy's favourite child". Quartz India.
  2. ^ a b c d Abrar, Peerzada (6 August 2020). "Edtech start-up Whitehat Jr sold to Byju's on Zoom for $300 million". Business Standard India. Business Standard.
  3. ^ a b c d "Autobiography of Multimillionaire Yogi". The Economic Tmes.
  4. ^ "9 year old coders show How India is pioneering online education". Bloomberg.
  5. ^ a b "WhiteHat Jr and the curious case of disappearing dissent". Forbes India.
  6. ^ "Rage against the machine: behind Byju's swift silencing of dissent". The Ken. 6 October 2020.
  7. ^ a b "India's Byju's acquires WhiteHat Jr. for $300 million". TechCrunch.
  8. ^ a b "Untangling WhiteHat Jr's $150 Mn ARR: Is Coding Edtech's New Holy Grail?". Inc42.
  9. ^ a b c Nance, Kevin (28 April 2016). "Karan Bajaj on 'The Yoga of Max's Discontent,' finding his own karma". Chicago Tribune.
  10. ^ "Karan Bajaj: A Winning Discovery". LiveMint.
  11. ^ "The Dollar-Rupee Conversion". Outlook. 11 February 2008.
  12. ^ "Cutting Edge: Keep of the Grass by Karan Bajaj". Outlook. 7 July 2008.
  13. ^ "Karan Bajaj: A Yogi to a Millionaire in a rendezvous with Rahul Singh". LSquare.
  14. ^ a b "Karan's novel captures youth angst: Ben Rekhi". Times of India.
  15. ^ "In Conversation With Former Discovery CEO Karan Bajaj: Need For AI Ethics, Machine Learning As A Skill, And More". Mashable. 2 January 2020. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  16. ^ "WhiteHat Jr adds music learning to platform, to expand offering to Brazil, Mexico soon". Deccan Herald. 23 July 2021.
  17. ^ "Byju's acquires WhiteHat Jr for $300 million". The Times of India.
  18. ^ "Indian edtech giant Byju's to expand to international markets". TechCrunch.
  19. ^ "WhiteHat Jr founder Karan Bajaj quits a year after acquisition by Byju's". The Economic Times.
  20. ^ "WhiteHat Jr Founder Karan Bajaj moves on, Trupti Mukker new CEO". Business Standard India. Business Standard. 4 August 2021.
  21. ^ "WhiteHat Jr founder Karan Bajaj quits a year after acquisition by Byju's". The Economic Times. Retrieved 14 December 2021.
  22. ^ Ruby, Nary (2017). Contemporary authors. OCLC 1248747362.
  23. ^ Nair, Nandini (24 May 2008). "The grass green". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 22 August 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  24. ^ "Fast-paced and gripping". Deccan Herald. 10 July 2010.
  25. ^ "Write well before your pompous promotions". The Statesman. 13 August 2015.
  26. ^ a b "The Yoga of Max's Discontent". Kirkus Reviews.
  27. ^ "The Yoga of Max's Discontent". Publishers Weekly.
  28. ^ a b "Indiaplaza Editorial Review: Johnny Gone Down by Karan Bajaj". Indiaplaza.
  29. ^ "The Yoga of Max's Discontent". Literary Hub.
  30. ^ Keep Off The Grass. HarperCollins. December 2013. ISBN 9789350292877.
  31. ^ Johnny Gone Down. HarperCollins. 13 April 2010. ISBN 9789350294949.
  32. ^ The Seeker. Penguin Random House. 15 June 2015. ISBN 9789352140374.
  33. ^ The Yoga of Max's Discontent. Penguin Random House. 3 May 2016. ISBN 9780698192041.
  34. ^ "The Yoga of Max's Discontent: A Novel". New York Journal of Books.
  35. ^ Max a hledání vyšší pravdy'. Edice Knihy Omega. 2017. ISBN 9788073906368.
  36. ^ "Ronnie Screwala, Ashi Dua to make a film on Karan Bajaj's book". The Mumbai Mirror.
  37. ^ "Indian-origin novelist and his wife's soul trip around the world". Midday.

External links[edit]