He turned down a 75-crore salary and now owns India’s newest unicorn, Physics. Wallah
Alakh Pandey used to make $5,000 per month, but his ed-tech company PhysicsWallah has become India’s 101st unicorn and the first edtech company to reach the milestone with series A funding. Pandey’s company received a $100 million (about 777 crores) investment from Westbridge and GSV Ventures, valuing it at $1.1 billion. The key could be in his demeanor. In a recent interview, he stated that he simply could not run a business that does not generate profits.
When Alakh Pandey was 22, he dropped out of engineering school and returned to Allahabad to teach physics. He used to be paid $5,000 per month.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard of Unacademy, an ed-tech company. Alakh Pandey was reportedly offered Rs. 75 crore to join Unacademy. In fact, he mentioned the offer in one of the video clips, albeit without naming the company. However, he declined the offer in order to educate India’s underprivileged population. In the same video clip, he asks for people’s help to realize his dream. What is his goal? According to him, through Physics Wallah, even a rickshawala, a newspaper vendor, or a washerman can educate their child to become a doctor.
In the same video, Alakh Pandey states that he will always oppose any investor putting money into his company because it will raise tuition fees. However, a lot appears to have changed since then, and Pandey appears to have changed his mind. According to the edtech startup, he will now use the funds for business expansion, branding, the opening of more PW learning centers, and the introduction of new course options.
According to Wingdart founder Anurag Srivastava’s LinkedIn post, PhysicsWallah has earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of +60 percent, whereas Unacademy has an EBITDA of -320 percent. In FY21, Unacademy’s revenue was 398 crore, while PhysicsWallah’s revenue was 350 crore in FY22. Srivastava also points out that, while Unacademy spends 411 crores on advertisements, PhysicsWallah spends almost nothing.
Aniket Dhiman, a content strategist, also expressed gratitude to the PhysicsWallah CEO in a post. He recalls watching Alakh Pandey’s YouTube channel, which had only 5,000 subscribers at the time. Pandey used to teach without the use of any audio or video equipment. His YouTube channel had 6.91 million subscribers at the time of writing. He now rules the ed-tech industry for JEE & NEET.
PhysicsWallah currently employs 1,900 people, including 500 teachers and 90-100 tech professionals. It also employs 200 associate professors to assist students with their inquiries, as well as another 200 experts who create exam questions and term papers. According to Forbes, the PhysicsWallah app was unable to handle the load due to close to 2 lakh hits and crashes. Over 35,000 people had enrolled in the course in four days, but the app was still down. In the interview, he described himself as “shattered.” “I expected them to feel cheated.” The tutor began refunding the money, his dream crumbled, and live classes were replaced with recorded sessions. Things returned to normal after a few weeks as the technical glitch was resolved. Students began to return to the app, and PhysicsWallah was back in action.