Udemy, arguably one of the most recognized names in the the global online education scene, is announcing a fresh $50 million raise at a $2 billion valuation. Udemy is raising this money from ‘long time partner’ Benesse Holdings, Inc., the company announced in a statement. The total external capital raised by the company has now crossed $200 million in over 10 years of its operations.
Udemy also announced a few other numbers with the announcement. The company has completed a whopping $350 million in payments to various instructors on its platform. The platform now has close to 57,000 expert instructors teaching over 150,000 online courses in topics from programming and data science to leadership and team building.
This new fund-raise will primarily fund Udemy’s global expansion, and an aggressive one at that. The company plans to further invest in markets around the world and will expand its San Francisco headquarters as well as grow its offices in Denver, Colorado; Dublin, Ireland; Gurgaon, India; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Ankara, Turkey.
Talking about the fundraise and what’s in store for Udemy going forward, founder CEO Gregg Coccari says, “2020 will be a milestone year where we serve millions more students and enable thousands of businesses and governments to upskill their employees. This growth wouldn’t be possible without our expert instructors who partner with us every step of the way as we build this business.”
Interestingly, one of the markets that Udemy is looking to expand in, is India, where the company is set to face some local competition, even though the approach to edtech for those competitors is significantly different that Udemy. India houses some of the biggest edtech companies globally, who have received some of the fattest checks when it comes to PE/VC investments in the space. Three of India’s most funded players in the space include Byju’s (over $8B in valuation), Vedantu and more recently Unacademy, with all of them having raised multi-million rounds recently. Byju’s in particular has been on a roll, with a couple of $200 million rounds in quick succession.
Udemy however, is taking a different approach to edtech. While all of India’s platforms currently focus on digitising India’s existing offline course (Byju’s has tried to find a separate approach for kids), Udemy is bringing up-to-date courses in subjects that are usually not part of the regular academic curriculum. Instructors on Udemy too are pretty diverse, including some high profile names.
What also works well for Udemy, is its customised business learning suite. The company has corporate tie-ups with some of the biggest names in the corporate sector, giving it an edge over others. In 2019, Udemy also grew its Udemy for Business subscription-based corporate learning product internationally with a fully localized product experience and new course collections in Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, and German, taught by native instructors.