Business News/ News / India/  He rejected 75-crore salary, now owns India's latest unicorn PhysicsWallah

Alakh Pandey used to earn 5,000 in a month and now his ed-tech company PhysicsWallah India's 101st unicorn and first edtech company to reach the milestone with series A funding. Pandey’s company raised $100 million (about 777 crore) from Westbridge and GSV Ventures, valuing the company at $1.1 billion. The secret may be lying in his attitude. He said in a recent interview that he just can’t do a business that doesn’t make profits.

When Alakh Pandey was a 22-year-old, he dropped out of his engineering college and went back to hometown Allahabad to teach physics. He used to earn 5,000 per month.

If you are reading this, you may already know about a certain ed-tech company called Unacademy. According to various reports, Alakh Pandey was offered 75 crore to join Unacademy. In fact, he spoke about the offer in one of the video clips even though he doesn’t name the company. But, he refused the offer with the vision to educate the underprivileged population of India. In the same video clip, where he asks for people’s support to realise his ambition. What is his ambition? In his own words, through PhysicsWallah, even a rickshawala or a newspaper vendor or a washerman can dream of educating their child to become a doctor.

In the same video clip, Alakh Pandey says he will always resist any investor putting their money in his company as it will raise the tuition fees. However, lots seem to have changed ever since and Pandey apparently had a change of plans. According to the edtech startup, he will now use the funds for business expansion, branding, the opening of more PW learning centres, and the introduction of new course options.

As per Wingdart founder Anurag Srivastava’s LinkedIn post, PhysicsWallah claims to have an Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of +60 percent whereas Unacademy’s EBITDA stands at -320 percent. Unacademy’s revenue was 398 crore in FY21 while PhysicsWallah’s revenue in FY22 was 350 crore. Srivastava also points out that, while Unacademy spends 411 crore for advertisements, PhysicsWallah’s advertising expenses is nearly zero.

Content strategist Aniket Dhiman also shared a post of appreciation for the PhysicsWallah CEO. He remembers the time when he used to watch Alakh Pandey’s YouTube channel that had just 5,000 subscribers. Pandey used to teach without audio or video equipment. At the time of writing this article, his YouTube channel has 6.91 million subscribers. And, now, he is ruling the ed-tech industry for JEE & NEET.

At the moment, PhysicsWallah employs 1,900 people, including 500 teachers and 90-100 tech professionals. It also has 200 associate professors on staff to help students with their questions, as well as another 200 experts who generate exam questions and term papers.

As the original Bhai said in Dabangg, Kamaal karte ho, Pandey-ji!

Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and social media. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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Updated: 08 Jun 2022, 02:24 PM IST
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