Edtech startup PhysicsWallah became one of the unicorns in India earlier this year.This article has the inspiring story of Alakh Pandey, the founder of PhysicsWallah.
PhysicsWallah, an ed-tech firm started by Alakh Pandey, became the newest company to join India’s rapidly rising stock of unicorns in June 2022.
PhysicsWallah and its CEO have come a long way from being a YouTube channel in 2014 to raising $100 million (roughly Rs 777 crore) in Series A funding. Students are prepared to take board exams, the Joint Entrance Test (JEE) to get admission to IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), and the NEET examination.
Alakh’s trademark way of welcome pupils (Hello Bacho) on his channel has earned him over 6.94 million YouTube subscribers over the years.
But, things were different when Alakh was growing up.Alakh, who was born in Allahabad, had a difficult childhood. His family’s financial situation was so severe that his father was forced to sell their home while he was in sixth grade.
To help support the family, he began teaching tuition sessions to children younger than him while he was in Class 8. This desire to educate persisted throughout high school and college.
“I started teaching out of a financial need but quickly started liking it enough to create a profession out of it,” he stated.
Alakh also mentioned how he was able to blend his love of acting with his teaching. Using real-life examples to illustrate difficult subjects to kids became something he liked doing. He remembered writing in one of his Class 12 notebooks that by 2016, he would be one of India’s most prominent physics instructors.
He elected to drop out of college and return to Allahabad, where he worked at a training facility for Rs 5,000 per month. While doing so, Alakh also updated his YouTube account on a regular basis. He stopped instructing in 2017 to focus solely on creating content for the channel.
With his popularity steadily rising, his YouTube channel grew from 4,000 followers in 2017 to 2 million in 2019. When the country was seeing a rise of COVID-19 cases in June 2020, Alakh created the PhysicsWallah app.
The PhysicsWallah app was unable to handle the strain due to close to 2 lakh visits and collapsed. Over 35,000 people had enrolled in the course in four days, but the app was still down. In the interview, he described himself as “shattered.” “I expected them to feel deceived.”
The tutor began refunding the money, his fantasy crumbled, and live lessons were replaced with recorded sessions. Things returned to normal after a few weeks when the technological fault was resolved. Students began to return to the app, and PhysicsWallah was back in operation.
In a video released on one of the many YouTube channels formed by Alakh followers, he discusses why he opted to turn down several offers to join other edtech platforms.
“Through PhysicsWallah, even a rickshawala, newspaper seller, or laundry man may dream of teaching their child to become a doctor,” he explained.
According to multiple accounts, a competitor offered him Rs 75 crore, but he declined.