We believe we are on the path to becoming the biggest edtech app in India, Tanushree Nagori, the co-founder of Doubtnut, told The Ken in August 2019.

Doubtnut, an app-based platform to solve doubts from grade 6 all the way up to competitive exams, had taken off like a rocket ship. It had just raised Rs 3.3 crore ($436,000) in a funding round led by Sequoia Surge India in April 2019, and crossed 7 million monthly active users (MAU) within two years of operations. Only Indian edtech giants Byju’s and Unacademy had more MAUs. According to internal metrics shared by Nagori at the time, Doubtnut had even surpassed Byju’s daily user numbers between July and August of 2019.

At last count, India had over 4,000 edtech firms. To stand out, raise money from marquee investors, and rack up a large number of organic users is no mean feat. So it made sense when Nagori, via a text message, said: “We don’t intend on being acquired anytime soon.”

Eleven months on, Doubtnut has changed its mind.

According to a report report Entracker Byju’s in talks to acquire Doubtnut at a valuation of over $100 Mn Read more  by Entrackr, $10.5 billion-valued Byju’s is in late-stage talks to acquire Doubtnut in an all-cash deal. The transaction, say two sources The Ken spoke with, will value the two-year-old Doubtnut at just north of $100 million. Incidentally, both Byju’s and Doubtnut have marquee investors Tencent and Sequoia on their respective cap tables. On Friday, Byju’s raised raised TechCrunch Mary Meeker’s Bond backs Indian online learning startup Byju’s Read more  an undisclosed amount from Mary Meeker-backed Bond Capital. The 9-year-old startup, which has raised a total of $1.4 billion so far, was reportedly in the market to raise another $400 million.  

 What changed in 11 months?

“Doubtnut’s main bet was that they were an anti-Byju’s model,” says an edtech investor who’s watched Doubtnut’s rise closely. He wished not to be named. With 80-90% of its user base derived from tier-2 and -3 Indian towns, Doubtnut is a free service.

As The Ken reported reported The Ken Users flock but questions linger over Doubtnut, Brainly Read more in a previous story, paying Rs 15,000-20,000 ($199-264) for online courses is completely unviable for this demographic.

AUTHOR

Olina Banerji

Based in Delhi, Olina writes about mega-trends in urban mobility, education, skilling and the environment, with a focus on how institutions and innovations can help cities grow sustainably. She is a graduate of the London School of Economics, and has worked previously with India Today and global non-profit Ashoka.

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