HEDLINE: Udemy raises $32 million Series C to Expand Internationally

Online course marketplace Udemy raised a $32 million Series C led by Norwest Venture Partners with participation of existing investors Insight Venture Partners and MHS Capital.

Udemy plans to use the funding to broaden and deepen its content library, expand its international presence and enhance product offerings.

Key Takeaway

This latest round brings the total funding raised to $48 million and gives Udemy the necessary resources to compete with established players like lynda.com or Pluralsight both of which recently turned to a more aggressive strategy by acquiring related companies to expand their courses, features and user base.

Udemy just appointed its COO Dennis Yang as new CEO with co-founder Eren Bali taking the roles of product lead and chairman of the board. During Yang’s tenure as COO, he joined the startup in 2012, Udemy grew significantly in terms of users and revenue, claiming it has increased revenue by 300% in the past 12 months and having 3 million learners on the platform, 50% more than in January 2014.

According to TechCrunch the majority of learners takes free courses, with 15% being converted into paying customers. There are currently 16.000 courses by 8.000 instructors available on the platform and according to Udemy an average instructor on the platform earns $7.000.

Udemy also shares that 30% of its learners use mobile devices to consume the course content and the newly designed landing page shows that Udemy sees itself as a mobile learning platform.

Yang plans to open an office outside of the US to further push the expansion into new markets. The location has yet to be determined. Other than most course platforms that convert existing courses for new markets by adding subtitles or localized audio tracks, Yang wants to create content locally which Udemy piloted with its 1000 courses that were created for Spanish speaking markets. New markets for Udemy’s expansion will include Europe, Brazil and Japan Yang told TechCrunch.

In terms of product improvements, Yang plans to include better analytics and engagement features for course instructors and easier course creation tools. Besides the consumer facing marketplace, Udemy also offers solutions for companies. Udemy for Organisations costs $2 per user/month for the platform or $29 per user/month if the company wants to use content from Udemy’s course library. The offer is currently used by 1-800-Flowers, Oracle and Pitney Bowes.

Udemy is still very much tied to the tech, coding and design verticals it started in. As the press release states that Udemy plans to broaden its content Yang will probably aim to expand into popular markets like language learning, crafts, fitness or health, growing the list of direct competitors by adding companies like TakeLessons or Craftsy. The same is of course true for local course marketplaces in the countries Udemy wants to expand into.

Further Reading

  • Udemy raises $32 million to broaden content, expand international presence and develop new product innovations | PR Newswire
  • Udemy Raises $32M to Teach ‘Lifelong Learners’ Online, Around the World | WSJ.D
  • Online Learning Marketplace Udemy Raises $32M To Scale Up Internationally | TechCrunch
  • HEDLINE: Dennis Yang new Udemy CEO – Eren Bali becomes Product Lead | EDUKWEST


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Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at KirstenWinkler.com.