Doubtnut, once offered a $150M deal by Byju’s, sells for $10M

Allen Career Institute has acquired Doubtnut in a deal that values the young edtech at $10 million, according to a person familiar with the matter, a reversal of fortune for the once promising edtech leading app.

The two firms confirmed the deal on Monday, but declined to share financial terms of the acquisition. Seven-year-old Doubtnut, whose learning app helps students solve math and science problems by taking photos of them, had raised more than $52 million prior to the acquisition and counted Peak XV Partners and James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems among its backers.

As the market turned, Doubtnut engaged with many investors including Prosus Ventures but no deal ever materialized over disagreements on valuation, according to people familiar with the matter. In mid-2020, Indian edtech giant Byju’s also attempted to acquire Doubtnut, valuing the young startup at as much as $150 million, TechCrunch reported at the time.

Doubtnut gained significant attention in 2020 for its use of machine learning and image recognition technology to provide answers in local languages to students, demonstrating an alternative approach to serving students in one of the largest education markets.

Allen — which helps prepare students looking to crack prestigious exams such as IIT JEE Mains & Advanced, NEET-UG, KVPY and the Olympiads — runs one of the largest coaching institutes in India. The firm competes with Aakash, which Indian edtech giant Byju’s acquired last year for nearly $1 billion. Indian online platform Unacademy, last valued at $3.4 billion, explored acquiring Allen earlier, according to people familiar with the matter.

Bodhi Tree, another investment fund by Murdoch and media veteran Uday Shankar, invested $600 million in Allen last year, valuing the education institution at over $1 billion.

“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,” said Nitin Kukreja, CEO of Allen, in a statement.