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Doubtnut's spiral from Series A triumph to $10 mn distress sale

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Nikhil Patwardhan

17 reads
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Nikhil Patwardhan

17 reads

Once the target of $100 million-plus acquisitions by edtech unicorns, Doubtnut was recently acquired for just $10 million by coaching centre chain Allen. Its decline is only the latest example of Indian edtechs’ struggles to monetise at scale.

December 12, 2023

10 MINS READ

Key Takeaways

  • Doubtnut, which raised over $50 million, was acquired by coaching chain Allen for just $10 million
  • Just three years ago, everything looked rosy for Doubtnut. It was seeing around 1.1 million daily active users Q4 of 2019 and had over 2.7 million downloads on Google’s Play Store
  • These vanity metrics helped the company attract large investors and even acquisition offers from edtech unicorns. These acquisitions didn’t work out over monetisation issues
  • In its bid to fix this by aggressively spending to grow its revenues, Doubtnut may have sealed its own fate

Last week, India’s floundering edtech story saw the close of yet another underwhelming chapter with the acquisition of doubt-solving platform Doubtnut. The seven-year-old edtech, which has raised a total of $50 million thus far, was picked up for a mere $10 million by coaching centre chain Allen Career Institute.

Just three years ago, it felt like Doubtnut had the world at its feet. In the last quarter of 2019, it had seen around 1.1 million daily active users, according to data from app analytics platform Data.ai (formerly App Annie) shared by a former employee. And with a total of 2.7 million downloads on the Google Play Store for its free-to-use app, it had begun dipping its toes in the monetisation waters.

In January 2020, Doubtnut marked its arrival on the national startup stage with a $15 million Series A round, which saw the likes of Sequoia India (now PeakXV Partners) doubling down on its seed investment in the company, while Chinese tech giant Tencent also picked up a stake. The round valued the company at nearly $50 million.

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