EDUKWEST Monday Ristretto

Monday Ristretto: Growth, Innovation and Digital

To get you up to speed for the week ahead, we serve you a Monday Ristretto here on EDUKWEST by picking the most important reads from the past week, putting them in a grinder and extracting the essential information for a short and punchy brew.

As every week, we’ve got three shots for you. Udemy raised a $32 million Series C to grow broad, deep and abroad. Cengage Learning opened an Innovation Hub in San Francisco. Chegg’s digital revenue keeps on growing.

Broad, Deep, Abroad

Shortly after Dennis Yang’s appointment as new CEO of the course marketplace, Udemy announced a sizeable $32 million Series C led by Norwest Venture Partners. The funding will be used to grow the course offering, adding locally produced courses in different key markets like Germany or Japan. There are also plans to broaden the choice of topics beyond the very tech heavy verticals.

Udemy did not yet decide in which market they are going to set up the first overseas office though one can assume that it will either be in Brazil or Europe which would most likely mean in London. Dennis Yang has already agreed to join me for an interview which I am very much looking forward to as there is a lot to talk about.

Innovation Infusion

Fresh out of bankruptcy, Cengage Learning announced the opening of a new Innovation Hub in San Francisco. The office will host 250 employees focused on the research and development of new digital products. With the opening Cengage started to actively look for

“the best and brightest technical and business talent that the Bay Area has to offer.”

This is an interesting move and also shows that the new strategy of Cengage is all in digital. The partnership with Celebrus Technology to track and analyze student and teacher behaviour in Cengage’s products is another indicator. It will also open up new possibilities for tech folks who want to work in education but prefer the (relative) stability of an established brand over an edtech startup, with all implications for startup founders looking to hire talent included.

The Future is Digital

Chegg’s first quarter 2014 results once again show the transition from textbook rental service to student hub. Digital revenue grew by 66% now bringing in 24% of the total revenue.

Another interesting data point in the results is that 33% of Chegg’s clients use two or more services which further validates the idea of a one-stop-shop student hub from textbooks over homework help to food coupons.

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

  • Josef Blumenfeld

    Thanks for including us. Anyone that wants to tour Cengage’s new SF digs, should look here:

    • Thanks for sharing the video Scott. We added it to the original post about your Innovation Hub, as well.