He rejected ₹75-crore salary, now owns India’s latest unicorn PhysicsWallah

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

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

If you’re reading this, you might already know about a certain ed-tech company called Unacademy. According to various reports, Alakh Pandey was offered 75 crore to join Unacademy. He even talked about the offer in one of the video clips, even though he doesn’t name the company. But he declined the offer with the vision of educating the underprivileged people of India. In the same video clip, where he asks the people for support to realize his ambition. What is his ambition? In his own words, through PhysicsWallah, even a rickshaw, a newsboy or a laundry man can dream of training their child to be a doctor.

In the same music video, Alakh Pandey says that he will always resist any investor to put their money into his business as it will increase tuition fees. However, much seems to have changed since then and Pandey apparently had other plans. According to the edtech startup, it will now use the money for business expansion, branding, opening more PW learning centers and introducing new course options.

According to Wingdart founder Anurag Srivastava’s LinkedIn post, PhysicsWallah claims to have an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of +60 percent, while Unacademy’s EBITDA is -320 percent. Unacademy’s earnings were: 398 crore in FY21 while PhysicsWallah revenue was in FY22 350 crores. Srivastava also points out that while Unacademy spends 411 crore for ads, PhysicsWallah’s advertising costs are close to zero.

Content strategist Aniket Dhiman also shared an appreciation message for the CEO of PhysicsWallah. He remembers the time when he watched Alakh Pandey’s YouTube channel which had only 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 rules the ed tech industry for JEE & NEET.

Currently, PhysicsWallah employs 1,900 people, including 500 educators and 90-100 tech professionals. It also employs 200 associate professors to assist students with their questions, as well as another 200 experts who generate exam questions and theses.

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

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