Udemy Reaches 5 Million Student Milestone

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From its beginnings as a San Francisco education startup in 2010 to becoming the leading global online marketplace for teaching and education, Udemy has surpassed milestone after milestone. On December 17th, the company announced the enrollment of its 5 millionth student, adding an impressive accomplishment to a year of ground-breaking development.

Udemy (pronounced: “you to me”) now boasts an impressive 213% increase in students, 6,000 new instructors and an almost limitless course library. The online marketplace now has students enrolled in a staggering 13.4 million courses. The era of online learning has reached a new high, with people around the globe opting to enroll in online courses to develop personal and professional skills. Udemy CEO Dennis Yang described the growth:

“Our breakout success this year is an indicator that we’ve only scratched the surface on connecting people everywhere with the skills they need.”

“Today there are Udemy students and instructors in virtually every country on the planet. We’ve opened up access to the world’s experts and tapped into a near limitless need for individuals to acquire new skills for work and for life. Thanks to our instructors who share their real-world knowledge with the world, Udemy is the place you go when you need to learn something new.”

The company has had a fruitful year, with a boost in revenue by 160 percent, publication of 12,000 new courses (a 57 percent increase), higher earnings by top Udemy course instructors, a rise in the number of employees and the introduction of a program aiding the creation of online courses by non-profits, named Udemy Social Innovation. The company has also opened headquarters in San Francisco as well as set up shop in Dublin, reflecting Yang’s aim to democratize education beyond the US.

The enthusiastic CEO now aims to push his company’s reach further worldwide using technology. Udemy’s iOS app has already been downloaded by students around the globe over a million times. The company aims to prioritize international expansion in 2015.

Udemy thrives on the sales and distribution of video based courses online. It provides a platform for professional teachers or individuals with adequate knowledge of certain skills to create their own videos and attract students willing to study their courses. The instructors set the costs of their courses (or even provide them for free) and a certain percent of the revenue goes to the company. Courses range over a wide range of languages including Spanish, German, Portuguese, Turkish, Chinese, French, Japanese, Italian, Russian, Korean, and Hindi.

Udemy has raised $48 million in funds to date, comprising of $32 million in a Series C round led by Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) and aided by investors Insight Venture Partners and MHS Capital.

Udemy board member and NVP partner Sergio Monsalve lauded 2014 as “a phenomenal year for marketplace businesses.”

Monsalve stated:

“Udemy brings all the advantages of the marketplace to one of the greatest challenges confronting individuals and businesses in our lifetimes: how do we capture, share and apply new knowledge in a rapidly changing world? Udemy is growing at rates we’ve only seen in the most successful marketplaces like eBay and Lending Club.”

Udemy continues to receive competition among the crowds of online education companies, such as Coursera, Udacity, Khan Academy and others.