How PhysicsWallah Became an Edtech Unicorn in India

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PhysicsWallah is an unicorn start up in India. The company is among top 5 edtech companies in the country.

But unilke the conventional companies, Physics Wallah did not start out to be an edtech company. The founder neither has any business background, nor is he from IIT or IIM.

The love of teaching is what drove the founder to start an YouTube channel and later an App, the rest is history.

The PhysicsWallah story

Alakh Pandey is from Allahabad. Pandey had ambitions of joining the IIT but due to poor economics conditions, he could not join the premiere institute.

He joined mechanical engineering classes in Harcourt Butler Technical University (HBTU) in Kanpur, but did not complete studies as he grew impatient with the teaching in the institute.

He came back home to UP and joined a coaching institute.

Pandey soon realised that teaching was his calling and he started looking for ways to reach more students.

In the year 2014, Byju and Unacademy started providing online coaching classes.

Alakh pandey started coaching almost at the same time in Allahabad. Pandey knew that most of the students could not afford to pay the high price of coaching classes.

So he created an YouTube channel and started uploading his coaching videos mainly for class XI and class XII.

Initially he did not get many subscibers, but he kept on uploading videos and after some time the subscribers in his channel started picking up.

Alak pandey had an unique style of teaching. His way of talking and mannerism was well recived by the students and this became one of his best selling points.

Pandey noticed that online coaching as offered by his videos was not complete. Students had queries after the classes.

And Brands were targeting students with pricey courses. The wellfare of the students was the last thing on their minds. It was a big money game.

The 6 years of teaching on YouTube already gave Pandey a platform to build on. He invested Rs. 15 Lakhs and created an educational app with friend Prateek, who was from IIT.

PhysicsWallah was launched in 2020 with Lakshya batch, offering enrollment to students for a low price of Rs. 999.

The App was an instant success and got on the top charts of PlayStore on first day. Some 2 lakh students enrolled for his training through the app.

Since its inception the, courses at the App had to face criticism for being low priced. But the results obtained by the students have silenced everyone.

The App has received close to 50 lakhs downloads in PlayStore till date.

Pandey also has his own website to help his students, consisting of free notes, books, and quizzes.

Most small and sucessful start ups are gobbled up by giants in their niche. Physicswalla started getting attention of the giants in edtech sector.

One such company offered around Rs. 75 crore to the startup for acquisition. But Alakh Pandey declined the offer. He wanted to grow the startup.

Getting snubbed, the company went on the offensive. In an attempt to ruin the start up, they started acquiring the teachers of Physicswalla.

Instead of getting intimidated, Pandey countered with campaigns in social media. Ultimately the company backed off.

The PhysicsWallah App

The App is free and has more than 50 lakhs downloads on PlayStore. It has a rating of 4.7 which is amazing in comparison with Apps from other edtech companies.

Students can download and install it on your mobile phone.

The courses in the App are designed to prepare class XI and XII students for various competitive exams.

Though the App is free, content is both free and paid.

Alakh Pandey has started many paid batches over last couple of years. But the amount he charges per course is very low in comparison with other edtech companies.

Some example are – Yakeen batch at Rs 3500, for NEET dropper, Lakshya batch at Rs. 999 for competitive exams, Accelerate batch at Rs 2000 for class XII, Prayas batch at Rs. 3500 for JEE.

PhysicsWallah also have other full time courses for grades ninth, tenth and entrance exams. The fee for these course are about 60 percent cheaper compared to Unacademy and Byju’s.

YouTube videos

PhysicsWallah mostly uploads tutorial videos on YouTube. But there are videos that promote the courses offered by the company.

There are also videos showcasing various educational events and award ceremonies.

Their primary target audience is class XI and XII students, preparing for various entrance exams. Physics Wallah uploads videos for this group, mainly covering subjects Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics.

But they are also agreesively entering the K-12 and executive education sector.

The offline education centres of the company prepare students for entrance exam to IIT – JEE and NEET.

PhysicsWallah has multiple YouTube channels including Physics Wallah Foundation, Competition Wallah, JEE Wallah, NCERT Wallah, PW Pathshala and Defence Wallah – among others.

How PhysicsWallah makes money

Currently the YouTube channel of PhysicsWallah has more than 7 million subscribers and more than 1200 videos.

The ad revenue from these videos amounts to approx. 9 – 10% of the company revenue. The bulk of their revenue is generated from the App which is close to 90% of the total income.

PhysicsWallah has also opened 20 offline Pathshala Centres. The centres are spread across multiple states – Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajashthan.

The company charges around Rs. 30,000 – Rs. 35,000 for a 12 months course to prepare for IIT – JEE and NEET.

The percentage contribution of these centres to overall revenue is not known but seems to be a decent figure.

PhysicsWallah revenue climbed to as much as Rs 350 crore for 2021-22.

The Team

PhysicsWallah curren team strength is ner 1,600 employees.

That includes 500 educators for various courses and 120 people in tech. for support.

The Roadmap

The company has plans to expand its operations and diversify. They are planning ramp up efforts in the K-12 segment pretty so, having 50,000 students already.

Executive education is another segement the company is keen on adding to its portfolio.

PhysicsWallah is also looking at spending money for better brand building through advertisement.

The team of the company is also expected to get bigged with close to 150 new members every month. This is when the other well funded edtech companies are laying off manpower!

Funding

PhysicsWallah has now entered the unicorn club. The are now one of the five edtech unicorns in India.

The company has raised $100 million at a valuation of $1.1 billion from WestBridge Capital and GSV Ventures.

This was the maiden funding round for PhysicsWallah.

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