Bootstrapped edtech startup PhysicsWallah has raised $100 million as a part of its Series A funding round from WestBridge Capital and GSV Ventures, at a unicorn valuation, the company said in a statement on June 7.
PhysicsWallah raised the money at $1.1 billion valuation, becoming India's 101st unicorn, the company said. PhysicsWallah becomes the second company to join the coveted unicorn club since April this year, against 11 in Apr-Jun 2021.
PhysicsWallah said it plans to use the funds for business expansion, branding, opening more offline learning centres, and introducing more course offerings, the company added.
Moneycontrol had done an exclusive interview with Alakh Pandey, co-founder and chief executive officer of PhysicsWallah last month and Pandey had said that the company will look to focus aggressively on the K-12 (kindergarten to class 12) segment and will also make forays into executive education. Pandey had also acknowledged the fundraise.
PhysicsWallah claimed to have 5.2 million Google Playstore downloads and 6.9 million subscribers on YouTube. The company also claimed that over 10,000 students have cracked competitive exams like NEET and JEE (medical and engineering entrance exams) in 2020 and 2021. PhysicsWallah said at least one student in six medical and one in ten engineering colleges are its alumni. The company claims to offer the most affordable edtech packages in India.
PhysicsWallah said it currenty has 1900 employees, including 500 teachers and about 100 tech experts. The company also has 200 associate professors available to answer student queries and another 200 professionals to create exam questions and term papers, it said.
“The company has been profitable since inception with positive cash flows and reserves,” said Pandey. “Our revenue grew nine-fold in the year 2021-2022 vis-a-vis 2020-2021. Our current run rate for FY 2023 is at $65 Million,” he added.
PhysicsWallah said it is looking to launch educational content in nine vernacular languages, including Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Odia, Malayalam, and Kannada. The company said its aim is to connect with 250 million students by 2025. PhysicsWallah will also be opening 20 offline coaching classrooms, which it calls as Pathshala, across India, the company said. PW has established more than 20 centres across 18 cities with more than 10,000 students enrolled for 2022-2023 session, the company claimed.
PhysicsWallah's expansion plans come at a time when the edtech sector in India is witnessing a significant slowdown amid a drop in demand for technology-based education solutions, thanks to schools, colleges and physical tuition centers reopening.
Moreover, funding to the overall startup ecosystem in India is drying up amid a slowdown in global financial markets, compelling firms to lay off employees, shut non-core verticals and rationalise advertising and marketing spends.
The funding winter, however, seems to have hit edtech startups the most, who had witnessed hypergrowth over the last two years. Edtech firms have laid off over 3,700 employees since the start of 2022.
"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," said Sandeep Singhal, Managing Director, WestBridge Capital.
"PW creates long-tail value for learners by delivering high-quality education at a democratic price. PW is one of the rare startups with a profound understanding of the education that Bharat today needs," Singhal added.
Pandey had told Moneycontrol in the interview that the company will also start spending on its branding and marketing through advertisements, once it raises funds.
“We need to create a brand. We were happy that there were so many students coming to our platform without any advertisements, only through word of mouth. But now we want to reach students and parents and make them aware of PhysicsWallah,” Pandey had said.