The week that was: from BYJU’S acquiring WhiteHat Jr to the rise of Reliance Jio Browser

This week, we also featured Vinveli, which is making drones for CPRF and National Security Guard under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

BYJU'S Founder and CEO Byju Raveendran

As schools and colleges across the country are shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has brought edtech startups to the fore.

As these startups continue to see a spike in registrations, BYJU'S reached a fresh milestone by acquiring WhiteHat Jr, a Mumbai-based startup that provides an online platform where school children (aged six to fourteen years) can learn coding and build commercial-ready games, animations, and apps. 

The Bengaluru-based unicorn acquired the two-year-old startup for $300 million, in an all-cash deal. The deal was struck over a span of six weeks through WhatsApp messages and Zoom calls between BYJU'S Founder and CEO, Byju Raveendran, and WhiteHar Jr Founder and CEO, Karan Bajaj, who will continue to lead the company post the acquisition.

Now, from an edtech platform, let us talk about a creative tech platform that is helping the community of designers and photographers. 

Dalpat Prajapati, along with his college mates Mohit Gandhi and Varun Trivedi, started Iconscout in 2015. His other batchmates Arpan Rank, Jemis Mali, and Tarun Mangukiya soon joined in as co-founders. Based out of Surat, Gujarat, and now in Bengaluru, Iconscout is a design resource marketplace that offers ready-to-use high-quality icons, illustrations, and photos. 

The startup is powered by a community of passionate designers and photographers. According to the startup, at present, people from over 150 countries are purchasing from its library of over two million icons, illustrations, and stock photos for their businesses. Dalpat says he has also designed the Sahamati App, an account aggregator app, for the Government of India.

Watch the video here:

As we celebrate India’s 74th Independence Day, let’s take a look at a tech startup which was forged from an experience in NASA. 

Gokul Anandayuvaraj, an aerospace engineer from the University of Texas, was working on several spacecraft projects in collaboration with NASA Johnson Space Centre, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, and US Airforce Research Lab, when he realised the technologies developed at the research institutions needed to be commercialised.  

In 2014, Gokul, who was 19-year-old then, founded Vinveli along with his college friends Yuan Qu and Eshan Halekote, in Austin, Texas, to commercialise spacecraft technology. 

Later, towards the end of 2014, during the Iowa Startup Accelerator Programme, Vinveli pivoted to become a private Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) development and manufacturing company. 

Vinveli’s UAVs or drones are Ingress Protection (IP) certified and are built for extreme conditions.

The startup is registered with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and has been manufacturing and supplying drones to India’s special forces since 2016. Its clients include the National Security Guard and the Central Reserve Police Force under the Ministry of Home Affairs. 

Drone developed by Vinveli | Image Source: Team Vinveli

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of making the nation self-reliant or Aatmanirbhar Bharat gains ground, it has also provided an opportunity to develop indigenous apps.

In this context, we looked at homegrown JioBrowser app, and how it stacks against the global browsers. For JioBrowser, the focus lies on India, its user demographic, and the need to browse in local languages, consumer interests and browsing patterns, and data and device requirements. 

Part of Reliance-owned Jio Platforms’ diversified suite, the Android-only app hit Google Play Store in December 2018, and has crossed 10 million downloads. JioBrowser is compatible with devices running Android 5.0 or above. 

Following the government’s ban on Chinese apps, JioBrowser has emerged as a compelling alternative to UC Browser (owned by the Alibaba Group), which was the most popular mobile browser in India, ahead of even Google Chrome and Mozilla. 

Edited by Megha Reddy