By Anvitii Rai
Amidst edtech firms cutting costs and laying-off employees, came the news of edtech platform Physics Wallah becoming India’s 101st unicorn. FE’s Anvitii Rai talked to Alakh Pandey, founder, Physics Wallah, about what it has been doing differently. Excerpts:
How is Physics Wallah different from other edtech platforms?
One, our pedagogy is a mix of engagement plus teaching of basic concepts, which not many platforms do. Two, our price point is unique—most edtech players charge JEE courses at Rs 60,000-80,000 per year, but we charge Rs 4,000. This way we are able to cover more students more effectively.
But can you sustain yourself at this price point?
We have been sustaining really well, thanks to technology. Our single course can cater to 5,000-6,000 students in one classroom. It is more like a live cricket match with a full stadium. Our teachers are true performers. We handle a big crowd with our live chats. We have also introduced polling system and doubt solving. Without too much of automation, we have solved these problems and this is how we are profitable.
Was the pandemic like a rising tide that lifted all edtech players?
I have been actively present on YouTube since 2017. When Covid-19 happened, Physics Wallah was already the largest JEE channel on YouTube. The pandemic helped it grow further by around 50%. Covid-19 forced us to launch the Physics Wallah app, because students stopped attending offline classes. Now that students are returning to offline coaching, for March, April and May we have seen 9X growth in the number of students and revenue.
Do you believe in the effectiveness of the hybrid classroom model?
After the first Covid-19 wave, a lot of students requested us for opening offline centres. Some were even ready to pay more, as they said they can’t study effectively at home. Also, a lot of students are not disciplined enough to study online, which requires you to be self-motivated. In September 2021, we designed a hybrid model. We opened about 20 hybrid centres that are known as PW paathshaalas across 18 cities. As of now, admissions are jam-packed for these. For us, hybrid did really well.