A new trend is emerging across the country with kids as young as 6 years old today learning coding and creating apps that address various real-world problems. To nurture some of these brightest coding minds from across the country, WhiteHat Jr, an EdTech startup that teaches coding to kids between 6 to 14 years of age, today announced the winners of its first-ever Silicon Valley Program.
Twelve kids have been selected after vetting 7000+ entries from across India and are all set to visit the Silicon Valley in USA on a weeklong trip in May to pitch their apps to top venture capitalists (VCs) like Nexus Venture Partners and Owl Ventures. Along with this, they will also meet some noted Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to learn valuable lessons on entrepreneurship. The kids will also get an opportunity to visit Googleplex and interact with their engineers, as well as visit the Waymo facility to experience driverless cars and talk to their product managers.
To select the winners, students on the WhiteHat Jr platform were invited for the Silicon Valley Challenge where they had to think of an original idea that solves a real-life problem and code an app independently. Top students were shortlisted for an exhaustive mentorship program out of which twelve students were finally chosen basis the impact and potential of the app created. Over the past decade, there have been many young, technology entrepreneurs who have made their mark on the world stage and this phenomenon is expected to further accelerate with even younger kids now actively taking up coding. Corroborating this trend, kids from not only metro cities but also from smaller cities like Nagpur, Balangir, Guwahati, Shillong, and many more are enrolling on WhiteHat Jr and creating some incredible, industry grade apps.
Talking about this initiative, Karan Bajaj, Founder and CEO, WhiteHat Jr said, “WhiteHat Jr was started with the mission of enabling kids to become creators rather than consumers and the apps that our students have created as part of the Silicon Valley Challenge is a testimony of this. Most of the winners have created truly transformational and high impact apps within just 40 hours of coding on the WhiteHat Jr platform. We wanted to offer them the right global exposure to facilitate entrepreneurship at an early age and our Silicon Valley Program is that much needed platform for kids. We have also started a 15 under 15 fellowship wherein WhiteHat Jr will help the top 15 kids on the platform incubate their own startups and provide a $15000 fellowship to them.”
Most of the winners have created apps with great social relevance and impact like 7-year-old Brinda Jain from Bangalore who’s created an app that aims to facilitate a green corridor for ambulances by coordinating with traffic control to better manage traffic along the ambulances’ route. 8-year-old Souradeep Sarkar from Burdwan, West Bengal who has created an app that helps children with dyslexia learn letters, numbers and colors. To tackle the menace of bullying, 9-year-old Mae Mae from Shillong has created an app that helps kids report bullying to relevant authorities anonymously, while 9-year-old Garvit Sood from Mumbai has created an app that helps in early diagnosis of eye disorders by conducting an eye-vision test.
WhiteHat Jr is backed by Nexus Ventures Partners, Omidyar Network India and Silicon Valley based leading EdTech VC fund Owl Ventures. They had raised $10 million in Series A funding last year and have rolled out a program to bring their AI and robotics coding curriculum to schools across the country.
Other winners of the challenge:
- 7-year-old Hirranyaa Rajani from Mumbai who created an app for hearing impaired people
- 10-year-old Agastya Singh Yadav from Noida who has made an app that connects fellow pet lovers to take care of each other’s pets while they are away
- 16-year-old Jishnu Baruah from Dibrugarh, Assam who has created the Light Bag app which allows kids to shed off load from their school bags
- 11-year-old Yuvraj Shah from Kolkata who has created an app that helps connect individuals who have extra medicines with people who need them and cannot afford them
- 13-year-old Aaron Ghosh from Noida who has created a 2D game inspired by Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman
- 6-year-old Venkat Raman Patnaik from Balangir, Odisha who has developed a Reward Management System that keeps a record of a ‘to-do’ list for each kid along with reward points they earn for it
- 12-year-old Shaurya Sharma from Mumbai who has developed an AI enabled chatbot that integrates with his school’s website and serves as an AI assistant for parents’ queries
- 10-year-old Shrey Shah from Mumbai who has created a collaboration app for schools that connects teachers and students virtually to discuss and work together on projects