Alakh Pandey: From A YouTuber to a Top Educator 

As of October 3rd, 2023, India has 111 unicorns valued at $349.67 billion. Physics Wallah, an edtech platform, became India’s 101st unicorn after securing $100 million from Westbridge Capital & GSV Ventures. This investment pushed the company’s valuation to a significant $1.1 billion. Currently, Physics Wallah boasts a massive 8 million subscribers on YouTube. Unlike ed-tech companies such as Byjus, Unacademy, and Vedantu, which still operate at a loss, Physics Wallah is profitable, largely due to its visionary founder, Alakh Pandey.

Born and raised in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, Alakh began teaching students in 8th grade to support his family financially. Despite failing to crack the IIT entrance exam, he pursued mechanical engineering at an engineering college in Kanpur, for which his family had to sell their house. During college, Alakh developed a passion for acting and combined his love for communication with his teaching skills, making him a unique educator.

Recognising the limitations of offline teaching, Alakh started his YouTube channel in 2016. Initially slow to grow, he identified a gap in the market for teaching 10th ICSE board students and began uploading videos to help them. By 2017, he left his coaching centre to focus full-time on Physics Wallah. The channel’s subscribers grew from 4 thousand to 2 million between 2017 and 2019, presenting challenges in managing operations.

In 2020, Alakh Pandey recruited Prateek Maheshwari as a co-founder to expand the team and scale up Physics Wallah. Prateek, a seasoned entrepreneur, joined with a wealth of experience from previous ventures. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Alakh and Prateek launched their app in 2020, experiencing overwhelming traffic that crashed the platform on its first day.

One of Physics Wallah’s key strengths lies in its strong and engaged community, fostered by Alakh Pandey’s active engagement with students. The platform’s commitment to providing affordable education distinguishes it from competitors in the EdTech industry, aiming to make quality education accessible to a wider audience.

Physics Wallah’s journey to becoming a unicorn startup was characterised by strategic decision-making, sustainable growth, and a focus on profitability. Unlike many EdTech startups heavily reliant on venture capital funding and operating at a loss, Physics Wallah prioritised profitability from the start, reinvesting profits to enhance offerings and expand reach.

Alakh dedicated himself to curating top-tier educational content catering to learners’ needs. Whether it was elucidating tricks, elucidating concepts, clarifying doubts, compiling notes, devising assignments, producing videos, conducting lectures, or crafting any other form of educational material, Alakh meticulously devoted his time to enriching his own knowledge and, in turn, enlightening every student by facilitating comprehension and learning through various mediums.

Alakh’s endeavour manifested in the form of a YouTube channel, where a vibrant community flourished, trust was cultivated, and enthusiasm thrived. This community served as a robust support system throughout PW’s journey, propelling it to unicorn status in under six years.

In the face of competition attempting to poach staff, instructors, or even acquire the company itself, Alakh remained steadfast, unwavering in their commitment to their objectives. They relied on the strength of their work and the clarity of their goals to navigate through challenges, maintaining their integrity and purpose throughout the journey.

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