Physics Wallah Success Story: How a college dropout Built a Unicorn


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Physics Wallah Success Story

The growth of technologies has changed the education industry in India upside down due to the internet and affordable equipment. On top of that, the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic played a pivotal role in the development. With all the changes happening so quickly, it’s hard to imagine that, after some years whether the students even would need any physical books to carry to the classroom.

There was a growth of many ed-tech start-ups during these past two years due to the recession of the traditional way of learning. One of those start-ups is Physics Wallah (PW), which started with a mere YouTube channel, today it is the 101st Unicorn of India. The growth of the company and the founder’s struggle is nothing short of an inspirational story.

About: Physics Wallah

With the love of teaching Alakh Pandey started teaching in a coaching center, with the advice of the head of the institute he opened a YouTube channel, “Physics Wallah” back in 2014. Things slowly progressed and in 2017 he finally decided to quit his coaching job and started doing YouTube full time the channel started hitting new heights and by 2019 the channel hit 2 million subscribers.

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When the pandemic brought recession throughout the world the education sector took a huge setback, all physical coaching classes, schools everything got shut down this was the time when the demand and watch time of the content provided by Physics Wallah grew many folds. In 2020 they launched their application.

The main goal of the ed-tech start-up is to provide quality education to students in an affordable range. The platform has over 13000 video lectures on various subjects for students from classes 6 to 12. They also provide special coaching for JEE and NEET. They have both free and paid classes, and paid are for special doubt clearing.

Growth

Pandey quit his job in 2017 to be a full-time YouTuber. As soon as he started investing more time in the content the channel started growing, by the end of 2019 it had over 2 million subscribers. As a result, Pandey decided to expand the platform and launched an application for online lectures. As of Today, Physics Wallah has provided lectures to over 60 lakh students. Today, PW has over 1500 stuffs among them around 300 are teachers.

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About the Founders

Physics Wallah was founded by Alakh Pandey and Prateek Maheshwari.

Alakh Pandey

Alakh is the founder of PW and also its CEO. Hailed from Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh he came from a very poor family. After failing to get into IIT he got into an engineering college in Kanpur but in his 3rd year, he dropped out of his mechanical engineering course as he wasn’t happy and started giving physics lessons in different coaching institutes. Thus, his journey as a physics teacher started and those students gave him the name “Physics Wallah” as he was different from the archaic teachers following the same way of teaching.

Prateek Maheshwari

Prateek Maheshwari is the co-founder of Physics Wallah. He passed from IIT Varanasi with a bachelor’s in technology. Before starting PW, he also founded many other start-ups including NIghtPanda, Moon2Moon, PenPencil, and Edu4all. All the previous experiences in his start-ups worked as a supporting pillar and helped him grow PW as a unicorn.

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Physics Wallah – Hurdles

Like any start-up, there were also some setbacks in the case of PW. It took Alakh Pandey a long time to make PW a success. Seeing his growing popularity, he was offered a sum of 75 crores from Unacademy, and 80 crores from Byju’s in a try to stop PW to get more success, but he declined the offers. Then all those ed-tech companies started poaching the teachers and many of them left in a very short time which was a huge setback for PW, but the never quitting attitude of the founder left behind all those hurdles, then he went on to hire many more teachers and students loved them again.

Another setback came when PW launched an app and when the app crashed due to heavy traffic. Over 2 lakhs students entered into the app at the same time that crashed the app, it took the technical team over 1 week to find and fix the glitch. Alakh was afraid that the students will feel cheated or scammed as most of them were paid members. However, the trust he built among his students over all these years came in handy and nothing as such happened. These did not make him stop to build PW as it is today.

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Investments

Started as a YouTube channel Physics Wallah was bootstrapped for six years until 2022 from its starting. All the revenue Alakh Pandey generated throughout his journey he invested in the PW app and registered the company. It was only June 2022 when things changed for PW. The start-up went through Series A funding and generated a whopping sum of $100 million from Westbridge Capital and GSV Ventures on 7th June 2022With the infusion of funds, Physics Wallah got a valuation of $1.1 Billion making it a unicorn in the ed-tech segment after Byju’s, Unacademy, and Vedantu.

Future plans

The expansion began with the introduction of many offline centers for PW in the name of Physics Wallah pathshala. The first offline center was opened in Kota, Rajasthan and so far a total of 16 offline centers opened across India. Along with that PW also looking forward to introducing many more subjects and courses in their app. The introduction of 9 vernacular languages like Tamil, Gujarati, Malayalam, Telugu, Bengali, and a few more. With the growth chart, it can be estimated that by 2025 PW will have a student base of around 250 million.

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Ayan Mondal