Udemy, the online education marketplace that wants to help anyone learn anything, has pulled in $65 million in new venture funding.
The Series D round was led by Stripes Group, the late-stage New York-based firm that counts marketplace giants GrubHub, Elance/Odesk and Blue Apron among its portfolio. Previous investors NVP and Insight Venture Partners joined in, and Stripes Group’s managing partner Ken Fox will join the board. This brings Udemy’s total funding to $113 million since launching in 2010.
From building Excel models to learning how to rap, Udemy offers over 30,000 courses taught by 17,000 global instructors, in 80 different languages. Instructors set their own prices, which range from $20 to $100 per course on average.
“There are great instructors all around the world, but they’re not necessarily standing in front of a classroom,” says Dennis Yang, CEO of Udemy.
“The world around us is changing faster and faster, and traditional education systems aren’t keeping up,” Yang says.
This is especially relevant to the tech industry. In the months following the Apple Watch launch, Yang says Udemy saw over 130 courses (in 6 different languages) submitted teaching developers how to build Apple Watch apps.
The platform’s most popular class is “The Complete Web Developer Course,” which over 111,000 students are currently using to learn a variety of coding skills in 29 hours.
While Udemy monitors the courses submitted (and also provides tools to help instructors improve their content), its 7 million users provide most of the quality control. The best courses rise to the top, and competition for the best reviews means instructors are always looking for ways to improve their lessons.
“The thing that makes Udemy so powerful is that you don’t have to be affiliated with an educational institution to publish and create lessons — it’s the democratization of teaching, letting students decide who they can learn the most from,” says Ken Fox of Stripes Group.
This is especially useful for the two thirds of Udemy users based outside of the U.S., where access to education can be more challenging. Half of Udemy’s current revenue originates from outside the U.S., and Lang says they’re continuing to expand globally and diversify course offerings for non-English speakers.
A good portion of the funding will go toward growing Udemy for Business, which is currently being used by 200 corporate customers to create customized education portals for their employees. Goldman Sachs, for example, uses Udemy to train their analysts with a mix of custom content and courses selected from the public marketplace.
“There are 7 billion people on the planet, and virtually everyone believes in the value of education. We’ve got 7 million, so we’ve barely scratched the surface — so frankly there’s a lot more room to run,” he says.