Online education marketplace Udemy raises $65M

Bambi Francisco Roizen · June 2, 2015 · Short URL:

Brief interview with Dennis Yang, CEO of Udemy since April 2014

Super excited to congratulate Udemy, an online education marketplace, for raising $65 million in a new round of financing. The latest round brings Udemy's total round of financing to $113 million, since winning Vator Splash 2010. 

Udemy has come a long way since being on stage in 2010, when the company was just seeking to raise $500,000, and co-founder Gagan Biyani was fielding questions from Howard Hartenbaum of August Capital, Jeremy Liew of Lightspeed and Jeff Clavier of SoftTech VC. 

Today, Udemy offers 30k courses taught by 16k instructors in 80 + languages and instructors set their own prices. On average instructors set prices that range between $20-$100 per course.

Here's a quick interview with Dennis Yang, who took the CEO helm in April 2014, after joining the company in 2012 as President and COO.

Q: Interesting to get Ken Fox on board. What was the reasoning behind that decision?

A: As Stripes Group Managing Partner, Ken will bring his expertise in investing in and helping scale other marketplace businesses like Grubhub, Upwork (formerly Elance/Odesk), and Blue Apron. 

Q: Are the 30k courses the number of courses created since inception or are they current and available?

A: The 30k courses are current and available. Over the past six months courses have grown 60%.

Q: How long are the courses typically? 4 one-hour sessions, 6, 30 minute sessions?

A: The minimum course length in total is 30 minutes. Overall courses can vary depending on various factors including curriculum and instructors.

Q: Are these courses interactive or are they video courses?

A: Courses are both interactive and in video format. Courses need to be at least 60% video content to be published on the platform.

Q: How many students per course and/or do instructors determine that?

A: Students determine the courses they want to take. Because of the marketplace model, people can learn skills just as soon as those skills become important. We’ve empowered everyday experts to create courses on topics they know and are passionate about. In a world where every job requires an increasing number of skills, we know our marketplace can power an almost infinite number of courses.

Q: How much does Udemy make per course?

A: Instructors keep 97% revenue (the 3% is for credit card processing) when they bring students to their Udemy course. For every student Udemy brings to an instructors course through our marketing efforts, we share revenue 50/50 with the instructor.

Q: What's the process for a potential instructor to create a course? What's the qualification process?

A: Here’s the link to the Udemy course creating FAQ: 

Udemy offers instructors guidance on how to produce valuable courses. Many of our instructors get started by taking the free Udemy course on course creation. We provide instructors with a detailed checklist of quality course standards, and instructors have the ability to submit course outlines and initial videos to receive feedback from the Udemy team. Before courses enter the marketplace, instructors share videos with the instructor community via our private Facebook group and get feedback from other instructors. Once a course is published into the marketplace, Udemy continually monitors student feedback to ensure students are finding courses to be valuable to them. All ratings and reviews are public for all courses.

Q: What are the top 3 countries Udemy is in?

A: United States, United Kingdom, India

Q:  What are the top 3 most active languages?

A: English, Spanish, Japanese

Most popular non-English languages by revenue are Spanish, Japanese, Turkish and by number of courses are Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese

Q: What does Udemy plan on doing with the capital?

A: With this new funding, we will continue to build our presence globally. About 2/3 of our students are outside of the U.S. and 50 % of our revenue comes from outside the US. Our next areas of expansion include Japan, Germany and Brazil.

Secondly, expand our content library – Udemy is adding 2,000 course alone this month to our database of 30,000 course library. Additionally, redouble our efforts with our enterprise model – Udemy for Business. Udemy currently has over 200 customers including Lyft, Century 21 and Optimizely. Lastly, continue recruiting passionate individuals to support our company’s growth. 

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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