Edtech startup Doubtnut raised $31 million in a series B round led by SIG, Sequoia, WaterBridge, and ON Mauritius in 2021. The fundraise, however, doesn’t seem to have had any significant impact on the scale for the seven-year-old firm as it registered only Rs 10 crore in revenue during the financial year ending in March 2022.
Doubtnut’s revenue from operations grew 5.3X to Rs 10.83 crore during FY22 with mounting losses of Rs 179.24 crore in the last fiscal year, as per the annual financial report filed with the Registrar of Companies.
The sale of subscription services is the only source of revenue for Doubtnut. The firm allows students to send screenshots of their doubts and offer free video solutions in quick time. Doubtnut’s core audience is the K12 segment and also competitive exam seekers including JEE and NEET. The company also has other income mainly from gains of investment and interest on deposits which surged 5X to Rs 4.39 crore during FY22.
On the cost side, employee benefit expenses were the largest cost center for the company forming 37.2% of the overall expenditure. This cost rose 2.1X to Rs 72.39 crore in FY22 from Rs 34.3 crore in FY21. Advertisement and promotional expenses emerged as the second largest spend followed by employee benefits. These costs surged 28.1% to Rs 32.25 crore in the preceding fiscal year.
The legal and professional cost for the company expectedly spiked to Rs 24.37 crore during FY22 with funding procedures, while the cost of IT support and software development charges stood at Rs 26.61 crore during FY22.
The overall expenditure of Doubtnut increased 84.8% to Rs 194.47 crore in FY22 from Rs 105.25 crore in FY21. With such a hefty cost and stubby revenue, losses of the firm spiked 75.2% to Rs 179.24 crore in the last fiscal year.
Moving over to the ratios, the ROCE and EBITDA margin of the company worsened to -228.69% and -1107.29% during FY22. On a unit level, Doubtnut spent Rs 17.96 to earn a single unit of operating revenue.
Facing the critical transition of many techs from a ‘free’ resource to a paid offering, Doubtnut has found it particularly tough as its main offering, the ‘screenshot’ backed solutions remain free. However, during the current year, the firm did get down to more serious efforts at monetizing, adding Doubtnut Educators and pushing harder for advertising revenues to show a path to sustainable growth. With the edtech sector in particular strewn with firms big and small that are ‘pivoting’ to a revenue-first approach, Doubtnut might yet find this the toughest question to answer from its investors.