Meet the 13-year-old who won Rs 50 lakh on Shark Tank India for her anti-bullying app

Anoushka Jolly is the founder of the Anti-Bullying Squad (ABS), an anti-bullying venture that has also developed an app, Kavach. Anoushka won Rs 50 lakh in funding at Shark Tank India recently.

Meet the 13-year-old who won Rs 50 lakh on Shark Tank India for her anti-bullying app

Wednesday February 16, 2022,

5 min Read

In 2018, Anoushka Jolly, a Class 6 student at Pathways School, New Delhi, decided to tackle the issue of bullying in her own way.

She was set on this path after an annual day at school, where she witnessed her best friends bully a six-year-old girl by calling her names and teasing her.

“When I looked at her, instead of seeing a normal six-year-old, I saw a helpless, terrified, and sad little girl. It moved me and I never forgot that incident,” she recalls.

When she discussed this at her Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) class, her mentors encouraged her to become a problem-solver. And that’s how the Anti-Bullying Squad (ABS) came into being. It’s a website that organises individual one-on-one sessions in schools, with the help of experts, sells ABS merchandise, and urges young people to take a pledge against bullying.


Anoushka Jolly with host Rannvijay Singha at Shark Tank India

An app against bullying

In 2021, Anoushka’s anti-bullying app, Kavach won Rs 50 lakh in funding from investors Aman Gupta and Anupam Mittal on the Shark Tank India show. At 13, she is also the youngest participant to pitch on the show.

Anoushka traces the initial years of the Anti-Bullying Squad.

“In 2018 and 2019, I used to physically take sessions or meet people individually, and impacted around 100 kids. In 2020 when the pandemic began, I started taking online sessions and was able to reach out to more than 700 children in schools like Pathways Gurgaon, Pathways Noida, and many branches of Mothers Pride, Presidium, etc. I also worked with NGOs like OrionSquare, Bhumi, and more,” she says.

In 2021, Anoushka took ABS to a whole new level by recording her sessions so that students could watch them at their own pace and learn. She followed this with interactions with them on zoom, Instagram Live, and other online platforms. More than 2,000 students from 100+ schools and universities have been impacted.

In her three years of experience tackling bullying head-on, Anoushka realised that whatever is reported can be resolved. So, with the help of her father, she decided to scale ABS by developing an app against bullying called Kavach (a shield of protection).

“The app encourages either students that are victims/bystanders or parents of students that are victims/bystanders to report cases of bullying on the app. Victims and bystanders often find it difficult to report bullying as they are afraid their identity will be known, especially to the bully. That’s why we have also given an anonymous reporting option in the app. These reported incidents can then be analysed by the school and their counsellors to take appropriate action to resolve. For example, on analysis most bullying cases take place in poorly-lit school corridors/corners…so cameras and good lighting can not only solve, but prevent a lot of cases,” she explains.

The app will be available soon on Play Store and Anoushka plans to market the app using social media, her website, and a network marketing strategy. She works with a core team of 15 people and has partnered with 10 more schools.

Pitching at Shark Tank India

Anoushka is excited when she recollects her experience on Shark Tank India.

There were four rounds; two were online and there was one in-person round at ITC, Delhi, before I was called to Mumbai for the final round. The forms were very long and detailed and required us to submit a pitch video. Nonetheless, it was enjoyable. There were 62,000 applications across India, out of which 198 startups were selected and only 67 were successful in raising funds. I am overjoyed to be one of them,” she says.

Shark Tank India was a turning point for ABS, me, and Kavach. I was amongst several entrepreneurs, shooting at Filmcity in Mumbai. I spent a total three days on set, which consisted of rehearsals and the final shooting. Honestly, I think it was one of the best experiences of my life because it was a major opportunity for me to gain exposure and network as an entrepreneur,” she adds.

Initially, after two sharks dropped out, Anoushka says she felt discouraged and thought she had lost out on a deal.

“However, then Mr Anupam made me an offer and gave me exactly what I asked for. Before I could process the situation, Mr Aman jumped in and agreed to a two-shark deal. Namita told me that I have delivered an amazing message to the kids of this country and agreed to mentor me throughout my journey. I believe with these business giants on board, Anti Bullying Squad and Kavach are going to reach new heights,” she says.

Anoushka will use the infusion of funds to raise more awareness and use a strategy in which anti-bullying ambassadors will gain downloads and track their progress - as in how many people they have impacted directly or indirectly”.

“For example, student A gets student B to download Kavach. Then, student B gets student D and C to download Kavach. Student A will have directly/indirectly impacted 3 students. Plus, all students that students B, D, and C impact will be included in student A’s impact record,” she says.

She also wants to bring metaverse to the field of mental health, the details of which she promises to divulge in the coming months.

Anoushka has won many accolades for her efforts. She was featured as one of the Young Geniuses of India on the Network 18 Young Genius show and recognised as one of the 'Top 21 for 2021' innovative tech-based women-led startups by ITC and Shecapital.

She was also invited by the Ministry of Culture to be a part of the song Mauka Hai amongst the 40 Youth Icons of today to inspire the youth to build a stronger nation together.

Now a Class 8 student, Anoushka believes the key to balancing multiple things is time management.

“I try to follow a timetable that allows me to make the most of 24 hours in a day,” Anoushka signs off.

Edited by Teja Lele