Abhinay Sharma is having second thoughts about his three-month-old startup. “Did I make a mistake,” wondered the 32-year-old standup comic-turned-mathematics tutor with nearly 2.6 million YouTube subscribers.
In 2023, it’s difficult to reconcile Sharma’s doubt with his extraordinary career trajectory. From a wannabe actor to a YouTube sensation. From a celebrated instructor at edtech unicorn Unacademy to the founder of Abhinay Maths—a test-preparation platform valued at ~$2 million.
Sharma’s rise has been so promising that Classplus—a Noida-based edtech—bet on him earlier this month. It invested Rs 4 crore (~$480,000) in Amcp Edutech Pvt. Ltd, which operates Abhinay Maths, for a 33% stake in the company.
This deal further proves the popularity of the creator economy, a catchall term used to define the burgeoning industry of digital educators. Though, Sharma has felt the heat of the challenges ahead.
“Maybe these are just temporary thoughts brought on by the sudden challenges, especially money-related ones,” Sharma clarified, almost as an afterthought.
Sharma’s pensive words belie his typically flamboyant persona as an educator. His unconventional teaching methods have gained widespread attention, and he is also known for solving students’ questions about teenage romances and heartbreaks during his live sessions. In fact, his popularity is such that Classplus, valued at around $570 million, has decided to change its playbook.
Founded by Bhaswat Agarwal and Mukul Rustagi, and backed by global investors such as Tiger Global and Alpha Wave Global, Classplus charges tutors for using its platform to develop apps for live classes, subscriptions, and exams.
This came shortly after it acquired a 34% stake in another exam-prep startup Testbook. “We are not the kind of company that will keep populating itself with products and businesses. We haven’t spent our energies creating multiple verticals,” said Rustagi, the 32-year-old co-founder of Classplus. “We may have just the one, but we will do it well.” Abhinay Maths is Classplus’ second investment and the first in a tutor’s venture.
Classplus’ moves have come at a time when its closest competitor, Graphy—also a SaaS (software-as-a-service)-based platform under Unacademy—has been taking potshots at it on social media.
According to Sharma, his app started in November 2022 and has already crossed 450,000 users. Though a significant number, it’s still small compared to the 10+ million subscribers of major companies in the government-exams-prep market, such as Adda247, Byju’s Gradeup, or even Testbook. Sharma did not reveal the company’s current revenues.
However, there is precedent for great success.
The north star in the creator economy, especially in the edtech sector, is Alakh Pandey of Physicswallah—who successfully made the transition transition The Ken Physics Wallah’s bootstrapped challenge to Unacademy’s test-prep prowess Read more from a YouTube teacher to the founder of a $1.1 billion-valued startup.