PhysicsWallah's Stellar Teachers Lose their Gravity: What Went Wrong?
Ex-teachers offered INR 5 Cr each to join Adda247
28 March 2023
In a video, a PhysicsWallah teacher claimed that Adda247 offered INR 5 crore to each of the three former PW teachers, namely Tarun Kumar, Manish Dubey, and Sarvesh Dixit, to join their organization.
The three teachers, in two follow-up videos on March 23 and 24, rebutted the allegations by stating that they had informed the PhysicsWallah management prior to their departure from the organization.
At a time when PhysicsWallah is in talks with investors to raise up to $250 Mn at a valuation of $3.3 Bn, the controversy has emerged.
Since its founding in 2020 by competitive prep YouTube star Alakh Pandey and Prateek Maheshwari, PhysicsWallah has experienced a meteoric rise over the past nine months. In fact, the edtech startup became India's 101st unicorn after raising $100 Mn in its first-ever institutional round last June. Despite its remarkable success, the company has been embroiled in at least three controversies, involving its teachers, management, and the startup itself.
In a video released on March 23, Pankaj Sijairya, a PhysicsWallah teacher, alleged that Tarun Kumar, Manish Dubey, and Sarvesh Dixit, three ex-PW teachers, were offered INR 5 Cr each to resign from PhysicsWallah and join Adda247. The video has since received 1.3 Mn views, and in it, Sijairya accused the three teachers of attempting to destroy the organisation they had worked hard to build.
In response, the three teachers released two follow-up videos on March 23 and 24, in which they denied the allegations and explained that they had informed PhysicsWallah management a month prior to their departure. These videos, which were quite dramatic, have collectively received over 3.4 Mn views and nearly 35,000 comments.
Amid allegations from both sides, what exactly is happening at PhysicsWallah, since Kumar, Dubey, and Dixit left the coaching platform to start their own YouTube channel 'Sankalp' on March 3, 2023? The channel has gained 343K subscribers and 10 Mn views across just 12 videos. On March 21, Kumar uploaded the first video to the channel and alleged that there was little support for him within PhysicsWallah. In response, Sijairya uploaded a counter video and accused Adda247 of poaching the three teachers by paying them INR 5 Cr each.
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Moreover, Sijairya alleged that many other edtech startups were attempting to poach teachers from PhysicsWallah. In response, Kumar, Dubey, and Dixit denied the allegations and claimed that PhysicsWallah was trying to retain students by falsely accusing them of accepting the offer.
In a video dated March 23, the three teachers claimed that they had resigned together to set up ‘Sankalp’ on YouTube. Dubey claimed that he had informed Prateek Maheshwari, one of the co-founders of PhysicsWallah, that he would be quitting by January 11, 2023. This information was further confirmed by Sankalp's video.
On Sunday, the channel announced that Aditya Anand and Siddhartha Mishra would be joining to coach NEET and JEE aspirants. Anand will teach physics, while Mishra will teach mathematics. Interestingly, in a video posted on March 23, the three teachers mentioned that they were in talks with "some edtech companies" to assist with the technical aspects of their operations.
Despite this, PhysicsWallah and Adda247 have remained silent on the matter. When asked about the poaching allegations, both companies did not respond. However, a PhysicsWallah spokesperson shared a comment with Inc42, stating that it is natural for individuals to join and leave an organization and that they value and respect the contributions of the departed teachers to education and their growth journey.