How Doubtnut Solves Real-time Doubts Using New-age Technologies?

Edtech start-up Doubtnut is doing more than just solving mathematical questions- it's innovating how we perceive studies and problems.


Doubtnut is an edtech start-up that provides online solutions to solve users’ doubts. It uses advanced technology to solve student’s questions online. Its users can have their doubts clarified with just one click – upload the photo of the problem and the system will get back with the solution. The app offers video commentary on the issue in ten seconds. This company is backed by Tencent Holdings, Sequoia Capital India, Surge, WaterBridge Ventures and others.

Doubtnut allows students to submit photos of their doubts and gives video answers to them for free. The start-up’s key target is the K12 category and the competition segment that includes JEE and NEET exams. To resolve issues in real-time, Doubtnut wants to enter the student community outside of the conventional classrooms.

How Doubtnut started its creative journey?

In mid-2015, Aditya Shankar and Tanushree Nagori (Co-founders of Doubtnut) performed a test of their prospective app, using social media technology that delivered solutions to students’ queries at maximum speed. They asked students to take a photo and send doubts to them on WhatsApp. They would, in turn, create video-solutions for the queries and send them on WhatsApp a few days later. This helped them maintain a history of questions.

Encouraged by students’ positive response, they decided to formalise the structure and founded Doubtnut in July 2016. They spent months improving and refining the technology, and perfecting the repository of video solutions. Finally, in January 2017, they created the application version of Doubtnut.

Education in India is currently witnessing a much-needed boost in technology. Within a brick-and-mortar classroom, educators can no longer cater to individual queries due to existing challenges worsened by the pandemic.

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Unlike other online education businesses that follow a robust business model, Doubtnut creates many videos with illustrative material and quite literally sells them to parents.

Doubtnut’s Case: Taking advantage of changing trends and adding value

The founders quickly found their way into innovative classroom improvement solutions. Since students are already familiar with the subject specific topics from school, they are encouraged to ask questions before the scheduled session on Doubtnut. From these doubts, Doubtnut creates instructional videos and sends them on WhatsApp to students’ accounts. Due to this, learning outcomes improve dramatically, as do the batch sizes, thanks to the individual attention. 

Today, the application claims an archive of 85,000 videos aimed for students aged 14 to 19. This way, Doubtnut can answer 90% of all questions, whether computational in nature or word-based, in real-time. While other apps allow students to click pictures and get answers to their queries across a breadth of subjects, as far as mathematics goes, they only allow computational questions. The algorithm that enables Doubtnut to process word-based problems is proprietary and unique.

The vast base of students and rapid, reliable solutions

Already 176,000 students have downloaded the Doubtnut app and asked about 8,000 questions on a daily basis. While the service is free for users, the team intends to place a subscription-based model in future. Doubtnut aims to become a habit-forming app for students. That is why it is focussed on engagement currently. 

Besides, Doubtnut will offer video solutions in the most familiar Indian language – ‘Hinglish’. Students can currently operate the app only in the English language, but it will soon be available in 11 regional languages. It’s not just users from metro cities who are logging on to Doubtnut, but also those from small towns and villages. Its maximum uptake has been seen across Bihar and West Bengal, where 50 per cent of all its users come from.

What can others learn from Doubtnut?

Unlike other online education businesses that follow a robust business model, Doubtnut creates many videos with illustrative material and quite literally sells them to parents. Doubtnut is modelled as an attraction store for not only students but also parents who come to the platform, looking for answers (mostly for teaching their kids).

Despite being the only start-up in India to offer real-time doubt resolution services, it’s not hard to imagine heavyweights like Tencent-funded Byju’s starting this service as well. Nonetheless, Doubtnut will have the first advantage of mobility.

Other start-ups of the segment can follow this suit. By creating a permanent community of users, new businesses in the edtech sector can create a healthy and attractive platform. Solutions to real-time problems and the retention of those solution videos can reduce businesses’ costs of making a new video every time. This will keep the cash burn minimal and the solution completely scalable.  

A student population of almost half a billion users is coming online with the changing education sector, and edtech start-ups have to target these potential customers with viable solutions to their problems.

Aakash Sharma
Aakash Sharma
Aakash writes on Startup Ecosystem, Policies, Legal and Regulatory aspects of business planning. An alum of Delhi University, he is assistant editor at Dutch Uncles.

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