Physics Wallah Journey: Decoding the Blueprint for Edtech Success with 11 acquisitions and 11 million users

Physics Wallah’s Journey: Decoding the Blueprint for Edtech Success

Physics Wallah, a prominent edtech unicorn in India, has stood resilient amidst the challenges faced by the industry.

While many edtech startups struggled during a funding downturn, Physics Wallah weathered the storm and recorded back-to-back profitable years in FY21 and FY22.

The credit for this success is often attributed to its founder, Alakh Pandey, whose journey from an engineering dropout to a successful home tutor and entrepreneur is an inspiring tale for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Pandey’s approach, marked by an engaging teaching style on YouTube, led to a Series A funding of $100 million in 2022, with Prateek Maheshwari joining as a co-founder in 2020.

The critical question is whether Physics Wallah’s expansion beyond its core medical and engineering test preparation specialities will jeopardize its business success.

Critics argue that diversifying into various test prep segments may spread the company too thin. Still, Maheshwari insists that the unicorn has seen significant online and offline growth, defying sceptics.

The startup has reported impressive numbers, with a 2.5-fold rise in online student headcount to 2.35 million in FY23 and a 5.5-fold surge in offline student enrollments to 60,000.

Physics Wallah now covers 28 exam categories, including K-12, technology-focused upskilling programs, and government exams.

 Maheshwari highlighted the achievements, mentioning 20,000+ selections for NEET, 3,500+ for JEE (Advanced), 180+ for UPSC, and 70+ for NDA in the 2022-23 academic year.

Physics Wallah has strategically acquired 11 companies, including Knowledge Planet, Utkarsh Classes, Only IAS, and iNeuron, to fuel its growth.

With the backing of investors like WestBridge Capital and GSV Ventures, the platform reported a revenue of INR 798 crore in FY23, marking a 3.4x increase from the previous year.

However, challenges loom on the horizon. While Physics Wallah’s vernacular push, pricing strategies, and focus on the bottom 80% of students have been successful, offline growth faces obstacles.

A shift towards online courses, controversies, and the departure of star teachers have affected the company’s offline ventures. The struggle to retain teachers is evident in the substantial increase in employee costs.

Despite these challenges, Physics Wallah remains optimistic about its expansion plans.

The acquisition of Knowledge Planet and establishing Vidyapeeth Centres and Pathshala units across India reflect its commitment to bringing quality education closer to students.

The company’s foray into the skilling/upskilling market and plans to set up 100 Vidyapeeth Centres by 2024 demonstrate its ambitions for the future.

As Physics Wallah charts its course in the ever-evolving edtech landscape, it faces competition from other players in test prep and skill development.

The success of its growth strategies and the ability to navigate the hybrid learning trend will be crucial for Physics Wallah to establish itself as a dominant force in India’s expanding edtech market.