Udemy Gains $65mil in Funding as it Expands to New Languages

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Online higher education platform Udemy has received a $65 million funding round which it will be using to expand its services.

Udemy focuses on professional skill development like web skills and writing, but also offers more traditional academic fare from a variety of course creators. Its services allow professionals to make and sell their courses to interested students. Udemy takes a cut of the profits unless the instructor wants to market their course themselves.

Around 2,000 courses are created a month, and a total of 30,000 are available. The site doesn’t offer traditional degrees, but certificates are available for completing certain courses, writes Bernadette Tansey of Xconomy.

CEO Dennis Yang explained the value of Udemy’s unique take on the education sector:

The established education system is failing to keep up with the modern workforce. By bringing a true marketplace model to education, we’re giving people unparalleled access to their choice of sought-after skills so they can continue growing and reaching their goals.

With Udemy’s web and mobile offerings, students access content and experts where and when they want to. We’ve built the marketplace so that students directly impact the kind of content available, allowing the platform to grow and evolve over time.

Udemy will be using its new funding to continue to expand internationally, writes John Kennedy of Silicon Republic. It already offers courses in 80 languages, but will be seeking to increase that number even further. Two thirds of its seven million students reside outside of the US, in over 190 countries, and together they make up half the company’s revenue. Expansion efforts will focus on east and south Asia, Latin America, and Western Europe.

Kia Kokalitcheva of Fortune quoted Yang on the importance of increasing non-English offerings:

We believe that people are going to learn better from someone that speaks the same language as them.

Udemy will also be expanding its available courses and focusing more attention on its enterprise product, which makes Udemy available for employee training, whether companies want to use existing materials or make their own.

In a press release, Yang highlighted the relationship between continuing professional education and the current business climate:

The established education system is failing to keep up with the modern workforce. By bringing a true marketplace model to education, we’re giving people unparalleled access to their choice of sought-after skills so they can continue growing and reaching their goals.

The round was led by the New York City-based Stripes Group, with Norwest Venture Partners and Insight Venture Partners participating as well. The founder of Stripes, Ken Fox, will be joining Udemy’s board of directors.

Udemy was founded in 2010 by Eren Bali, Oktay Caglar, and Gagan Biyani, and is based in San Francisco. According to Gina Hall of Silicon Valley Techflash, the company has raised a total of $113 million so far.

Saturday
06 6, 2015
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