In 2021, Coursera went public on the NYSE, raising $519 million. Since then, its stock price has been steadily falling even though revenue has been increasing.
Compared to 2020, revenue has jumped 43% and losses 143%.
In terms of new learners, Coursera is on track to gain 21 million new learners in 2021. Though lower than the 31 million of last year, it’s still a lot more than the 8 million from 2019. The company has done much better than its nearest MOOC competitors in maintaining the pandemic boost.
In 2021, it launched and shutdown community guided projects, dabbled in cohort-based learning with a new credential, announced 10 new degrees, and more.
For Class Central‘s complete analysis of Coursera’s 2021, keep reading. For our previous years’ analyses, follow the links:
Early this year, I read through Coursera’s 240-pages IPO prospectus and discovered interesting details like Rhyme’s acquisition cost, Andrew Ng’s DeepLearning.AI revenue, and how much Coursera paid its university partners. You can find the in-depth analysis here.
Coursera’s Impact Report also provides some details about its demographics and different segments like Coursera for Campus and Coursera for Governments.
By The Numbers
Coursera over the years
Coursera for Business customers
 4600 courses with 940 Guided Projects from Coursera Project Network
 6000 courses with 2250 Guided Projects from Coursera Project Network
 Estimated based on adding 5 million learners per quarter
Coursera revenue over the years
2021 (till Q3)
Now that Coursera is a public company, we get a clear picture of their revenue. Till 2021 Q3, Coursera had made $300m and lost almost $100m. It’s on track to make over $400m this year.
It’s seen revenue growth across its three different revenue streams: Consumer, Enterprise, and Degrees. In the first three quarters of 2021, revenue grew by 43% while losses more than doubled.
Coursera revenue: 2020 vs 2021
2020 (till Q3)
2021 (till Q3)
Year over Year
Enterprise seems to be Coursera’s most promising segment with revenue growth at 70%, and with the segment more than doubling the revenue of their Degree segment.
In terms of numbers of courses, 2021 saw the biggest increase, with 2700+ new courses added to the platform. But almost half of these courses didn’t come from Coursera’s university partners, but from the Coursera Project Network.
Specializations, MasterTracks, Professional Certificates, and University Certificates.
Coursera microcredentials over the years
In 2021, Coursera added a new category of certificates called University Certificates (more about them below). This was perhaps done to separate it from Professional Certificates which are created by companies like Google, Facebook, IBM, Intuit, and Salesforce.
In particular, the certificates from Google have been extremely popular. They’ve been made available to US community colleges and Career and Technical Education (CTE) high schools for free. Some of these certificates are also eligible for college credit.
In 2021, Coursera added 10 new degrees, including 2 bachelors, 2 postgraduate degrees, and 6 masters, taking the total number of degrees to 34. None of the new degrees came from its US university partners.
In the third quarter of 2021, Coursera added 1400+ new degree students, taking the total to 16k+ students. But we also noticed that, even though the number of students is increasing, Coursera’s degree revenue is dropping.
In Q3 2021, Coursera’s Degrees segment made $11.6M compared to $11.9M in Q2.
Last year, for the very first time, Coursera allowed individuals or “subject matter experts” tocreate courses. Previously, only Coursera’s partner universities and institutions could do so. Coursera called these new courses Guided Projects.
Note that unlike Coursera’s other microcredentials, University Certificates are issued exclusively by the university: their certificate of completion doesn’t mention Coursera, only the university. For instance, University Certificates offered by IIT Bombay look like this:
Currently there are 16 such certificates, of which only three come from US universities: Dartmouth, Duke, and ASU. The rest come from India: IIT Bombay, IIM Kozhikode, IIT Roorkee, and IIM Calcutta.
As if on cue, during the conference, Coursera announced several changes related to academic integrity. One is a new prompt shown before submitting peer assessments, reminding learners about Coursera’s Honor Code. According to Jeremy Rudy, Head of Degrees Product at Coursera, the prompt reduced plagiarism by 15%.
Coursera also introduced a Similarity Score for peer assessments, powered by Turnitin. It tells learners whether Coursera thinks their work is plagiarized before they submit it. It’s only available for Coursera for Campus — not all Coursera users.
Coursera Conference 2021
Due to the pandemic, Coursera Conferences, previously limited to their partners, have gone online and are open to everybody. In the 2021 conference, coursera introduced five new degrees, shared growth numbers, and talked about new product updates.
Coursera has had video transcripts for a while, right underneath each video. Clicking specific parts of the transcript would allow you to jump to the corresponding point in the video, or to create a note. But transcripts weren’t searchable course-wide. This has now changed.
In 2021, Coursera’s leadership team didn’t change.
Here is how the current leadership team looks (excluding advisors):
Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO
Shravan Goli, Chief Product Officer and Head of Consumer Revenue
Dhawal is the CEO of Class Central, the most popular search engine and review site for online courses and MOOCs. He has completed over a dozen MOOCs and has written over 200 articles about the MOOC space, including contributions to TechCrunch, EdSurge, Quartz, and VentureBeat.