While reports suggest that the layoff is part of a cost-cutting exercise, the company has cited performance issues of the employees
It must be noted that the edtech unicorn has been actively seeking to raise funds since early this year, with reports indicating talks to secure $250 Mn at a $3.3 Bn valuation
PW posted a net profit of INR 97.8 Cr in FY22 versus INR 6.9 Cr posted in FY21
Edtech unicorn PhysicsWallah (PW) has laid off around 70-120 employees. While reports suggest that this move is part of a cost-cutting exercise, the company claims that these layoffs were due to performance issues.
“At PW, we regularly assess performance through mid-term and end-term cycles. For the cycle ending in October, less than 0.8% of our workforce, ranging from 70 to 120 individuals with performance concerns, may be asked to transition. Our primary focus remains on fostering a dynamic, high-performing team,” the CHRO of PW, Satish Khengre, said.
Khengre added that the edtech unicorn plans to hire an additional 1,000 employees in the next six months. “We deeply value the dedication of our existing employees and recognise their integral role in shaping the future of education technology,” he added.
The development was first reported by Entrackr.
Founded in 2020 by Alakh Pandey and Prateek Maheshwari, PW initially started as a competitive exam prep company but later expanded to include other verticals. Since last year, it has made several acquisitions and invested heavily in business verticals beyond IIT/JEE and NEET prep.
Over time, it has also expanded its offerings to include post-graduate programmes and PW Skills, focussing on career development and upskilling. It also offers offline and hybrid coaching options through its 60 Vidyapeeth centres throughout India.
In its aggressive expansion strategy, PhysicsWallah has made seven acquisitions since last year. The latest one was in June 2023 when it acquired a 50% stake in Xylem Learning, marking its entry into South India.
The edtech unicorn also announced investing INR 100 Cr in its UPSC vertical and INR 120 Cr to shore up PW Skills, its skill development vertical.
The edtech startup turned unicorn in June 2022 after raising $100 Mn from Westbridge and GSV Ventures at a post-money valuation of $1.1 Bn. It must be noted that the edtech unicorn has been trying to raise funds since the beginning of 2023. As per several reports from early this year, the Alakh Pandey-led startup was in talks to raise $250 Mn at a valuation of $3.3 Bn.
As per FY22 financials, PhysicsWallah was India’s only profitable edtech unicorn, having posted a net profit of INR 97.8 Cr in FY22, 14 times higher than INR 6.9 Cr in FY21. It reported a nine-fold increase in operating revenue to INR 232.5 Cr in FY22 from INR 24.6 Cr in FY21. The company is yet to report its FY23 numbers.
Edtech has been one of the worst impacted sectors since last amid funding winter and economic downturn. The layoffs come at a time when Indian edtech startups have laid off nearly 10,000 employees since the beginning of 2022 amid funding winter.