Doubtnut, previously offered $150M by Byju’s, sold for $10M

Wed Dec 6, 2023 - 7:15am GMT+0000

Allen Career Institute has completed the acquisition of Doubtnut in a transaction estimated to value the emerging edtech company at $10 million, as per sources familiar with the matter. This development represents a remarkable shift in fortune for Doubtnut, which was once a rapidly growing learning application.

While the official announcement of the deal was made by both companies on Monday, they chose not to disclose the specific financial details of the acquisition. Doubtnut, a seven-year-old company, specialized in a learning app that aids students in solving math and science problems by capturing images of them. Prior to its acquisition, Doubtnut had secured more than $52 million in funding, with notable backers including Peak XV Partners and James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems.

Doubtnut had engaged in discussions with various investors, including Prosus Ventures, as the market conditions changed. However, no agreement materialized due to disagreements regarding the valuation, according to individuals familiar with the situation. In mid-2020, Indian edtech giant Byju’s had attempted to acquire Doubtnut, placing a valuation on the young startup as high as $150 million, as reported by TechCrunch at the time.

In 2020, Doubtnut garnered considerable attention for its innovative use of machine learning and image recognition technology to provide answers to students in local languages, offering an alternative approach to addressing the needs of students in one of the world’s largest education markets.

Allen Career Institute is renowned for its role in preparing students for prestigious exams such as IIT JEE Mains & Advanced, NEET-UG, KVPY, and the Olympiads. It operates one of the largest coaching institutes in India and faces competition from Aakash, which was acquired by Indian edtech giant Byju’s for nearly $1 billion last year. Furthermore, it was revealed that the Indian online platform Unacademy, last valued at $3.4 billion, had explored the possibility of acquiring Allen earlier, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Bodhi Tree, an investment fund backed by James Murdoch and media veteran Uday Shankar, invested $600 million in Allen the previous year, resulting in a valuation of the educational institution at over $1 billion.

Nitin Kukreja, CEO of Allen, expressed optimism about the acquisition, stating, “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.”