In June 2022, Physics Wallah raised its Series A of $100 Million ( ₹ 780 Cr) at a valuation of more than $1 Billion and became India’s 101st Unicorn company. They raised this money from Westbridge and GSV Ventures. They plan to use this money for expansion and branding. Before this round of funding, Physics Wallah was a bootstrapped company. An ed-tech platform directly raising funding at a Unicorn valuation sounds like a miracle.
While other ed-tech companies like Unacamedy, Vedantu, and Byjus are firing employees and running into losses despite their marketing, Physics Wallah with very little marketing has achieved the success of becoming a Unicorn. Despite funding and marketing, ed-tech companies are failing. But Physics Wallah stands out. Let’s see how they achieved this success.
What is a Unicorn?
Unicorn is a company which is $1 Billion or more in terms of valuation. Many companies have their goal of becoming a Unicorn. But there are just 101 Unicorns in India ( including Physics Wallah ). Famous companies like Boat, Byjus, Coin DCX, Cred, Pharmeasy etc… are Unicorns.
How did Physics Wallah start?
Physics Wallah is founded by Alakh Pandey who didn’t get good education due to his financial problems and the education system in India. He wanted to join an IIT but he didn’t get into an IIT. Alakh Pandey started teaching 9th – 12th standard students in his free time to get a bit of cash. After some time spending in teaching, he realised that he likes to teach.
After graduation, he started to teach full time. At a certain point, he realised that the impact he was having as an individual, was small. He found out that conducting one on one sessions with students was not effective. So in 2014, he started his Youtube channel to publish his teachings.
After creating his Youtube channel, he started uploading videos. He didn’t get any views. He was way ahead of his time. In 2014, online teaching was not considered a serious profession. After India’s tech revolution and affordable internet, he started becoming popular.
Due to Jio’s cheap internet charges, students were able to watch as many videos as they want without the worry of running out of data. In the first few years, Alakh was not earning much and was depending only on AdSense revenue ( ads ).
Creating an ed-tech app
In 2019, he realised that he can make this big. At that time, he crossed a million subscribers on his Youtube. He found out about Unacademy and Byjus who were offering online education at a high cost.
His students wanted to learn more from him, a proper app / platform would be even better. That’s what they did. Alakh and his new co-founder Prateek Maheshwari started the “Physics Wallah” app which took more than a year to build.
The response to the new ed-tech app was overwhelming. The Play Store crashed on the first day of its launch. It became very popular. In the first week of its launch, the Physics Wallah app was downloaded more than 3 lakh (300,000) times.
Today, Physics Wallah is a network of various Youtube channels with more than 10 Million (10,00,00,000) subscribers collectively. More than 5 lakh (500,000) students use their app every day. They claim to generate more than ₹350 Cr ($4 Million) in the financial year 2022 in terms of revenue which is almost equal to Unacademy’s revenue.
Physics Wallah’s disruptive strategy
They have the same revenue as Unacademy’s with very little marketing. How did a bootstrapped company achieve this without any marketing or funding, especially in India’s competitive ed-tech space? This strategy of Physics Wallah is simple but effective.
From his experiences and childhood, Alakh Pandey wanted to create products at a low price such that every Indian student can afford their courses. He saw that other big players in the ed-tech space like Byjus and Unacademy were pricing their products at a high price.
Unacademy, Vedantu, and Byjus targeted above middle class families and priced their products at a high price. They contribute up to 10% of the market share. On the other hand, Physics Wallah targeted students from lower middle class, tier 2 and tier 3 cities and priced their products at a very low cost compared to others.
They targeted the other 90% of the market share. So, every student who was interested to study could enrol on the Physics Wallah app at a low price. His strategy was successful, and so was his app. His app and courses were a huge success. So, he launched many other courses and educated millions of students with them.
In this way, Alakh Pandey’s Physics Wallah is now a Unicorn.
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