From being India's most-valued startup (at $22 billion) in 2022 to dropping to barely $1 billion in 2024, Byju's steady slide has been making headlines for quite some time. And it appears that its competitors are picking up the lessons rapidly. Byju's rival, Physics Wallah (PW), which became India's 101st unicorn last year, has expanded its educational offerings by entering physical schools after investing in a brick-and-mortar skilling institute. The Central Board of Secondary Education Board (CBSE)-affiliated PW Gurukulam School in Gurugram has officially launched its first edtech initiative, helmed by Alakh Pandey.
According to the edtech unicorn, the school will offer primary education using a curriculum framework based on the National Education Policy 2020, with students ranging from play school to grade 7. Through programs such as Model UNN, the school strives to provide an experience learning-based education that produces well-rounded pupils focusing on business and financial literacy. It explicitly specifies that bullying will not be tolerated.
There are other offline presences for Physics Wallah
Since its inception in 2020, Physics Wallah has expanded to encompass 28 test preparation categories and a skilling vertical. It has over 72 tech-enabled offline Vidyapeeth and 28 hybrid Pathshala campuses across India. The creation of the physical school expands PW's offline offering, which is consistent with other edtech companies' indicated desire for the offline channel that has grown in the aftermath of the pandemic-driven edtech boom.
Even though offline sites accounted for 40% of PW's revenue in 2023, the Noida-based company has witnessed significant development in online learning, as indicated by an 182% rise in enrollment for paid online courses in 2023 compared to the previous year. PW's operating revenue increased to Rs 771.76 crore in fiscal year 2022-2023 from Rs 232.47 crore in the last fiscal year. After deducting ESOP costs, Lease Equalisation Reserve (LER), and one-time inventory provisions, it recorded an adjusted EBITDA of Rs 127 crore in FY23, compared to Rs 134 crore in FY22.