PhysicsWallah joins the unicorn club

PhysicsWallah, an edtech platform for technical and medical entrance exams, has raised $100 million (approx. 777 crore) in its Series A round of funding from major investors Westbridge and GSV Ventures, which received a unicorn rating in its first fundraising.

With this development, the company has become India’s 101st unicorn and the first edtech player this year to touch the coveted unicorn club (worth more than $1 billion), the company said in a statement.

The Noida-based online learning platform will use these funds for business expansion, branding, opening more PW learning centers and introducing more course offerings. PW currently has 5.2 million Android downloads and 6.9 million YouTube subscribers.

Launched during the 2020 pandemic, PhysicsWallah (PW) aims to prepare students for engineering and medical entrance exams. Founded by Alakh Pandey and Prateek Maheshwari, PW specializes in delivering comprehensive lectures and sessions on YouTube, the PW app and the website for students aspiring to NEET, JEE Mains.

The edtech platform facilitates interactive educational content in the form of lectures and audiovisual media. In 2020 and 2021, more than 10,000 students passed competitive exams such as 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 advance our vision and implement new initiatives to increase student travel, enabling them to reach new heights in their careers. Our commitment remains “every dollar spent in PW is for the greater good of the students,” said Alakh Pandey, founder and chief executive officer of PW.

Sandeep Singhal, director of WestBridge Capital, said: “The Indian edtech ecosystem has grown significantly over the past two years; however, recent developments have demonstrated first-hand the importance of an efficient edtech infrastructure. PW creates long-term value for learners by delivering high-quality education at a democratic price. PW is one of the few startups with an understanding of the education that present day India needs. The founder’s focus on student learning outcomes fascinates us and we look forward to a long-term partnership with them.”

The company, Pandey says, has been profitable since its inception with positive cash flows and reserves. Revenue grew ninefold in FY22 as a company from a year ago, with estimated growth to $65 million in FY23 ending next March.

In 2016, PW first started as a YouTube channel by Alakh Pandey. During the 2020 pandemic, Alakh joined forces with Prateek Maheshwari to work on a technology solution for students by launching the PW app. The company currently has more than 85 lakh subscribers.

PW said it aims to connect with 250 million+ students and reach every corner of the country by 2025.

The edtech company currently has 1,900 employees, including 500 teachers and 90-100 tech experts. It also has 200 associate professors available to answer student questions and another 200 professionals to create exam questions and theses.

The fundraising comes at a time when the edtech space is witnessing a massive churn and funding crisis, resulting in massive layoffs and layoffs.

As the newest unicorn in the edtech sector, PhysicsWallah is now joining the ranks of others like Byju’s, Unacademy, Vedantu, Lead School and upGrad in this space.

“While many experts say the Indian edtech boom is over, we at GSV Ventures believe the flowers are just beginning to bloom as extraordinary entrepreneurs are democratizing the learning and delivery of skills for 90% of India untouched. through the edtech revolution… the company (PW) is disrupting the test prep market (today JEE and NEET) by providing low cost solutions,” said Deborah Quazzo, Managing Partner, GSV Ventures.

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