PhysicsWallah, an edtech platform for engineering and medical entrance exams, has raised $100 million (around Rs 777 crore) in its Series A funding round from marquee investors Westbridge and GSV Ventures, hitting a unicorn valuation in its maiden fundraise.
With this development, the firm has become India’s 101st unicorn and the first edtech player this year to touch the coveted unicorn (valuation of over $1 billion) club, the company said in a statement.
The Noida-based online learning platform will utilise these funds for business expansion, branding, opening more PW learning centres, and introducing more course offerings. PW currently has 5.2 million Android downloads and 6.9 million subscribers on YouTube.
Launched during the pandemic in 2020, PhysicsWallah (PW) aims to prepare students for engineering and medical entrance examinations. Founded by Alakh Pandey and Prateek Maheshwari, PW specialises in giving comprehensive lectures and sessions on YouTube, the PW app, and the website for students aspiring for NEET, JEE Mains.
The edtech platform facilitates interactive educational content in the form of lectures and audio-visual media. In 2020 and 2021, over 10,000 students cracked competitive exams like NEET and JEE. The platform claims that at least one student in six medical and one in ten engineering colleges in India are PW alumni, according to a company statement.
"This latest development will help us further our vision and implement new initiatives to augment the journeys of students, enabling them to reach new heights in their careers. Our commitment remains ‘every dollar spent in PW is for the greater good of learners’,” said Alakh Pandey, Founder and chief executive officer of PW.
Sandeep Singhal, managing director, WestBridge Capital, said, “The Indian edtech ecosystem has grown considerably over the last two years; however, recent developments have demonstrated the first-hand importance of an efficient edtech Infrastructure. PW creates long-tail value for learners by delivering high-quality education at a democratic price. PW is one of the rare startups with an understanding of the education that today’s India needs. The founder's focus on learning outcomes of students excites us and we look forward to a long partnership with them”.
The company, Pandey says, has been profitable since inception with positive cash flows and reserves. Its revenue grew nine-fold in FY22 as company to a year ago with an estimation to grow to $65 million in FY23 ending in March next year.
In 2016, PW first commenced operations as a YouTube channel by Alakh Pandey. During the pandemic of 2020, Alakh joined hands with Prateek Maheshwari to work on a technology solution for students by launching the PW app. The company currently boasts over 85 lakh subscribers.
PW said it aims to connect with 250 million+ students, reaching every corner of the country by 2025.
The edtech firm currently has 1,900 employees, including 500 teachers and 90-100 tech experts. It also has 200 associate professors available to address student queries and another 200 professionals to create exam questions and term papers.
The fundraise comes at a time when the edtech space is witnessing a massive churn and funding crunch resulting in mass layoffs and resignations.
Being the latest unicorn in the edtech sector, PhysicsWallah now joins the ranks of others such as Byju’s, Unacademy, Vedantu, Lead School and upGrad in this space.
“While many pundits say that the bloom is off the rose for Indian edtech, we at GSV Ventures believe the flowers are just beginning to bloom as extraordinary entrepreneurs are democratizing learning and skills delivery for the 90% of India still untouched by the edtech revolution…the company (PW) is disrupting the test preparation market (today JEE and NEET) delivering low-cost solutions,” said Deborah Quazzo, Managing Partner, GSV Ventures.