Indian EdTech startup Doubtnut sold for $10M after rejecting $150M offer from Byju’s
Doubtnut, an Indian EdTech startup that provides a mobile app to help students with solving math and science problems, has been acquired by Allen Career Institute for an undisclosed amount. This marks a stunning reversal of fortune for the once fast-growing startup, which was once valued at as much as $150 million.
The two companies confirmed the deal on Monday, Although specific financial details regarding the acquisition were not disclosed, sources familiar told the Indian Times that Doubtnut was valued in the “low-single-digit” millions. Allen said the acquisition will help build its tech-led learning solutions.
The seven-year-old Doubtnut gained prominence for its learning app that assists students in solving math and science problems using short videos. Before this acquisition, Doubtnut had raised over $52 million, with support from backers like Peak XV Partners and James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems.
As market dynamics shifted, Doubtnut engaged with various investors, including Prosus Ventures. However, no agreement materialized due to disagreements over valuation, according to individuals familiar with the matter.
In 2020, Byju’s, a major player in the Indian EdTech scene, made a failed attempt to acquire Doubtnut for $150 million, citing disagreements over valuation as the cause of the deal’s collapse. Struggling financially, Doubtnut eventually saw itself acquired by Allen Career Institute in 2023 for a mere fraction of its previous valuation.
Allen is known for preparing students for prestigious exams like IIT JEE Mains & Advanced, NEET-UG, KVPY, and the Olympiads. The organization operates one of India’s largest coaching institutes. It competes with Aakash, which Byju’s acquired for nearly $1 billion last year. Additionally, Unacademy, an Indian online platform last valued at $3.4 billion, explored acquiring Allen, according to individuals familiar with the matter.
Bodhi Tree, an investment fund by Murdoch and media veteran Uday Shankar, injected $600 million into Allen last year, valuing the education institution at over $1 billion. In a statement, Allen CEO Nitin Kukreja said:
“Timely and effective resolution of doubts is a core consumer need in education. Doubtnut’s platform will allow us to greatly enhance the learning experience for our students. We are also excited by the prospects of offering ALLEN’s high-quality academic products to a wider audience.”
Founded in 2016 by Tanushree Nagori and Aditya Shankar, Doubtnut, part of Sequoia Capital India’s Surge accelerator, leverages machine learning to capture images of math and science problems, providing users with step-by-step solutions. Doubtnut’s app helps students ranging from the sixth grade to high school, aiding them in solving and comprehending math and science problems in local languages.
In a strategic move three years ago, Doubtnut raised $15 million in Series A funding with a focus on extending its services to residents of small cities and towns across the country. This funding round, spearheaded by the Chinese giant Tencent, also saw participation from existing investors such as Omidyar Network India, AET Japan, Ankit Nagori (founder of fitness startup Cure.Fit), and Sequoia Capital India.