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The eternal student: online education platform Coursera goes public

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Startup Jedi

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One of the main giants and the unicorn of the EdTech industry, the Coursera platform has filed documents for an IPO. Among the leading underwriters of the process are Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, which have been in talks with them since last year. The exit will be made on the New York Stock Exchange.

Coursera is an online learning platform that offers courses from leading universities and companies to its users. Among the service’s partner universities, which now have more than 150, are such names as Stanford and Princeton, and training is offered in thousands of areas: from machine learning to palliative medicine. By the end of 2020, more than 77 million students had registered on the platform. More than 4 000 academic institutions, 2 000 organizations and 300 government agencies have used Coursera to train students, employees and residents.

According to Crunchbase, the platform, founded in 2012, has raised $443.1M in funding over 11 rounds. The last Series F under the leadership of NEA brought the company $130M. Overall data shows its valuation at $2.5B, while Bloomberg estimates twice as much. New Enterprise Associates, G Squared, Kleiner Perkins and Future Fund will make the biggest gains after the company goes public.

Like other online learning services, Coursera received strong revenue growth in the pandemic from fee-based services, among them teaching certificates and even the ability to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Pandemic earned it about $293 million in revenue for fiscal year 2020, a 59% increase over 2019. Net losses increased by about $20 million a year, reaching $66.8 million in 2020. This is the general trend of the past year for EdTech projects, but the company emphasizes in its brochure: yes, the pandemic has added a percentage to growth, but we cannot predict how its end will affect our operations and revenue.

The company also notes that while the Covid-19 has accelerated the growth of online learning, that market is still less mature than the in-person training and education market. It is the latter that business prefers, slowly abandoning its old approaches.


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