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Exclusive: Bootstrapped startup PW set to turn unicorn with maiden fundraise


YouTube has given wings to independent teachers and some of them are cashing in big using the video search engine. One such company is PW (popularly Known as Physics Wallah) which offers online and offline courses and study materials for JEE, NEET and other engineering entrance exams. 

While the platform and its app have attracted immense eyeballs at a rapid clip in the past two years, it now has turned out to be a hot proposition for investors. PW (Physics Wallah) is in late-stage talks to raise funds with Westbridge and GSV Ventures, said two people aware of the details of the potential transaction.

“The talks [have been] on for the past couple of months and the two investors along with a few others are set to put in $100 million in PW (Physics Wallah),” said one of the people requesting anonymity as talks are private.

Founded in 2016 by Alakh Pandey and later joined by Prateek Maheshwari, PW (Physics Wallah) has been a pure-play bootstrapped venture until now. The Delhi-based company runs a YouTube channel that has over 6.4 million subscribers whereas its app has garnered 4.2 million downloads, according to Sensor Tower’s data. 

The platform offers live classes, video lectures, test series and dynamic exercises for JEE, NEET and board exams (12th). PW’s (Physics Wallah) price-point differentiates it from others as the company charges only Rs 3,500 for entire JEE and NEET exams. Besides YouTube and applications, it also runs 20 offline centers across 16 cities.

“Physics Wallah will be valued anywhere near $1 billion and if nothing goes wrong, the deal is [expected] to be announced in a few weeks from now,” said the second person who also requested anonymity. 

“PW’s focus is value-creation and wishes to build not just an organization but a “piece-of-art” which remains a life-long learning partner for the students,” said PW (Physics Wallah) in a statement. Further, they declined to confirm numbers. Westbridge and GSV didn’t elicit any immediate response. We will update the story in case they respond.

The pandemic has made offline institutes embrace technology in a big way. This has unlocked the new opportunity for institutes and also made them a lucrative opportunity for investors. This could be also evident from Lupa Systems’ interest in Kota-based Allen Institutes. The James Murdoch-led Lupa is in late-stage talks to pick up a 30-35% stake in Allen for about $400 million. Entrackr had exclusively reported the deal on January 27 which is expected to value Allen at about $1.2 billion.

Update: The story has been updated to reflect that Physics Wallah has rebranded itself to PW. 

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