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How Indian Tutors Are Making Millions Off Anxiety

Sixteen-year-olds going crazy over their favorite Bollywood actor is one thing, but teenagers behaving hysterically on seeing a science tutor on stage? That’s the kind of superstardom that Alakh Pandey, the 30-year-old co-founder of Physics Wallah, has built up in India’s small cities and villages, starting eight years ago with nothing more than a white board and a YouTube channel, which has since been viewed 1.4 billion times.

With more than 5 million downloads on Google Play Store, Pandey’s low-cost tutoring app — now known as PW — became a unicorn last month with a $1.1 billion valuation. It raised $100 million in its first institutional funding round from WestBridge Capital and GSV Ventures. Pandey needs that cash to replicate his online success in the chaotic world of Kota, the hub of India’s unique test-preparation market.


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