2010 Splash winner Udemy raises $32M

Faith Merino · May 9, 2014 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/36dc

The MOOC pioneer has raised $48M since pitching on stage at Vator Splash

Hot off of our first ever two-day Vator Splash Oakland event, we were heartwarmed to learn that our very own 2010 Splash winner, Udemy, has raised $32 million in a Series C round led by Norwest Venture Partners, with help from Insight Venture Partners and MHS Capital. From its days of pitching on stage to a panel of VCs and raising $1 million in seed capital, the company has raised a grand total of $48 million altogether.

While other MOOC startups have drilled down on academic courses (like Coursera) or courses taught by certified teachers, Udemy has been a pioneer in the sharing economy. The platform allows anyone with a particular skill to teach a course on Udemy that anyone else can take. Courses tend to focus on marketable skills, such as coding, learning Java, Web development, and so on, which is at the heart of Udemy’s recent launch of Udemy for Organizations.

The platform’s student user base has grown 50% since January to three million. A whopping 30% of Udemy’s users are taking courses via their mobile device, be it an iPhone, Android, or tablet. And over 8,000 instructors have created some 16,000 courses in 10 languages.

The company says it plans to use the new funds to broaden its content library, bolster its international presence, enhance product offerings, and support its community of instructors.

In the past, the site has drawn on some industry heavyweights as instructors, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayer, New York Times best-selling authors, professors from Stanford and Yale, and more. The company has also said that the returning user rate and completion rate are well above the industry average.

“Udemy’s mission is to make top-quality content from the world’s experts available to anyone, anywhere,” the company said in a blog post. “We’re beyond passionate about enabling everyone to learn the skills needed to keep pace in today’s world.”

Previous investors include 500 Startups, Lightbank, Keith Rabois, Ben Ling, Naval Ravikant, Jeremy Stoppelman, and more. 


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Udemy is a website that enables anyone to teach and learn online. Udemy tries to democratize online education by making it fast, easy and free to create online courses. Udemy is an open platform, so anyone can build an online course by posting videos, presentations, writing blog posts, or hosting live virtual classroom sessions.

Udemy tries to solve a simple problem: there are millions of smart people in the world (authors, speakers, coaches, trainers, subject matter experts and teachers) who want to teach over the internet. Currently, it costs $10,000 to create a website to teach, and there are thousands of instructors doing this (we've talked to them; they hate it). We provide instructors with the ability to create their own course without any up-front costs. That way, they no longer have to deal with the technology and can focus entirely on teaching.

Udemy Live is Udemy’s live virtual conferencing and classroom tool. It is entirely web-based and built on component architecture. Each component was built separately, and there is an internal API so third party developers can build components on top of Udemy’s virtual conferencing tool. The API is not currently public.

Udemy was founded by MobileCrunch writer Gagan Biyani, Eren Bali and Oktay Caglar. Eren and Oktay worked at SpeedDate.com, an online dating site that has received over $8M in funding from Menlo Ventures.

Udemy will start by focusing on a specific niche: Poker education. We will roll out Udemy to enter the $100M business of online poker education. Udemy has deals with more than 15 extremely popular poker instructors to teach on Udemy Poker over the internet. After that niche, Udemy will begin to enter additional markets in which there is a willingness to pay by consumers and a clear set of high-quality instructors interested in teaching.