Physics Wallah: The Inspirational Journey Behind it

Seema Rai
Seema Rai

Physics Wallah- Alakh Pandey’s rags-to-riches narrative is etched in the annals of India’s startup history, not as a footnote. But as a chapter on what an indomitable spirit and a little chutzpah can achieve to disrupt even the most established business. Not to mention tons of charisma. How he moved from wanting to be an actor to becoming a celebrity teacher, and finally to running a billion-dollar business.

The man behind Physics Wallah

PhysicsWallah raised $100 million in Series A fundraising from WestBridge Capital and GSV Ventures in June, valued at $1.1 billion, making it India’s 101st ‘unicorn’. When Alakh was in third grade, a portion of his family’s home in Allahabad (now Prayagraj) had to be sold to make ends meet.

When he was in sixth grade, both of his parents had to sell the rest of the house as well. Alakh was now old enough to understand his family’s bad circumstances, but he was nonetheless content. His father had been able to buy him a new cycle with the proceeds from the sale, as promised.

The family rented a residence in what Alakh describes as a slum. “My mother struggled against fate and my father to make me who I am. “She borrowed money from relatives to help me realize my dreams,” he recalls. That period served as a watershed moment. By the eighth grade, he was tutoring younger students—PhysicsWallah’s first ‘batch’. Alakh’s enthusiasm for teaching intensified from then on.

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After dropping out of engineering school, he worked for roughly four years in a coaching center back home, earning a pitiful pay. Disrupting without trying That happened in 2016. Byju’s, India’s most valued business today, had been around for nearly a half-decade, and online learning was gaining popularity.

However, the globe has yet to experience a flood of content on YouTube and other online sites. But Alakh had the ideal formula: work hard with ordinary pupils and make them into high performers. In the early days of YouTube classes, there was no free availability for the consumption of whole lectures, previews were available instead, asking students to their paid platforms for the full lecture. However, Alakh would provide full-length seminars for free. “It became a part of my daily routine to wake up each day and check YouTube views,” he said.

He also traveled to Kota seeking to pass engineering examinations

It took Alakh almost a year to gain a significant following on YouTube. As a result, he became more responsible to his students. “When 50,000 pupils are watching and learning from you, you can’t afford to make even minor mistakes.”, he argues.

To obtain additional study materials, Alakh traveled to Kota, a well-known tutoring center for students seeking to pass engineering admission examinations. He returned with study materials, which he utilized to create his classes. Five years later, PhysicsWallah launched its institute in Kota, with 10,000 students registering within the first month.

One major reason for PhysicsWallah’s success is its low course fee, which can be as low as Rs 4,000, making it accessible to a huge number of students. When PhysicsWallah released its first paid batch, ‘Lakshya’, it did not struggle to find ‘clients’, registering approximately 63,000 students almost immediately.

PhysicsWallah’s business model for online coaching influenced the rest of the sector. While other ed-tech platforms charged Rs40,000-50,000 for their courses, PhysicsWallah offered courses for less than a tenth of that amount.


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