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NEW DELHI : Westbridge Capital-backed PhysicsWallah entered the upskilling segment with the acquisition of Bengaluru-based iNeuron.ai last week. But the purchase is just one part of PhysicsWallah’s strategy, as the company, led by co-founder Prateek Maheshwari and the strategy team, aims to become a full-stack edtech company through multiple acquisitions.

Since raising $100 million in its Series A funding round from Westbridge and GSV Ventures in October and achieving unicorn status in its maiden fundraising, the PhysicsWallah team has been actively seeking acquisitions to fuel the company’s expansion into new businesses and markets.

After the fundraising, PhysicsWallah acquired at least three companies: online medical entrance coaching platform PrepOnline, exam preparation books publisher Altis Vortex, and iNeuron.ai. It acquired doubt-solving startup FreeCo in August.

“We’re looking to build across categories, primarily test prep, upskilling, and international. Our acquisition strategy is evolving continuously," Maheshwari said.

PhysicsWallah aims to continue expansion while remaining profitable, a rare feat in the startup world. And unlike many edtech platforms, it is already profitable. Its standalone net profit grew more than 14 times to 97.8 crore in the year ended March 2022 from 6.93 crore the previous year.

PhysicsWallah initially planned to spend up to $20 million on acquisitions. However, the company has since decided to double its budget on acquisitions. “Eventually, we might use more money from the $100 million fundraising to fund our acquisitions," Maheshwari said.

Founded in 2020 by Maheshwari and educator Alakh Pandey, PhysicsWallah helps students prepare for engineering and medical entrance exams through lectures and sessions on YouTube, the PhysicsWallah app, and its website. It competes with Byju’s, Unacademy and Vedantu, among others.

The company is now adding more courses to its content portfolio by developing them in-house or via strategic deals. “In terms of adding exam categories, we are looking to acquire either the winner or runner-up. Alakh brought the pedagogy for exams like JEE and NEET, but for other entrance tests, we need to find the right teams that have personal connections with students," Maheshwari said.

For upskilling, PhysicsWallah is considering another acquisition after acquiring iNeuron. “We are starting with coding courses but will soon introduce non-coding courses. We want to help final-year students, as well as early career engineers, land their first or second jobs," Maheshwari said.

PhysicsWallah is in early talks with two Indian startups for its international expansion, said Maheshwari, who expects the deals to be finalized in the next six months. “The acquisitions will help us expand to markets such as the US, the UK, and the Middle East," Maheswari said.

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Updated: 26 Dec 2022, 09:08 PM IST
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