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MasterClass Conducts Another Round of Layoffs

After laying off about 120 employees in June, MasterClass appears to have conducted a new round of layoffs.

MasterClass seems to have conducted layoffs two weeks ago, based on a few LinkedIn posts recently shared by laid-off employees. That would be the company’s second round of layoffs in 2022.

In June, MasterClass cut 20% of their 600-people workforce to achieve “self sustainability.” Now, according to a new LinkedIn post shared by a Senior Producer and six-year veteran at MasterClass, “they were laid off with the majority of the content team.” Another mentioned, “60% of the creative/content team was let go.”

MasterClass hosts over 160 courses taught by celebrities from Hollywood, and the world of sports, music, and entrepreneurship. Two courses are even taught by ex-US presidents.

MasterClass is known for its high production value courses. But it seems the team responsible for creating these courses bore the brunt of the new layoffs. According to a Glassdoor review shared by an employee, this is their third round of layoffs in 2022 (something which Class Central couldn’t verify).

MasterClass’ announced strategy following their 2021 funding round

MasterClass last raised funds in May 2021 — $225 million at a valuation of $2.75 billion — and was planning to use them to expand internationally and launch an enterprise business. A quick glance at their catalog doesn’t show any significant uptick in international instructors. In total, MasterClass has raised $475M.

Over the years, I’ve observed that as EdTech companies grow, they turn towards the enterprise market, due to its large and relatively stable revenue (once you break in). Most recently, Class Central reported that Udemy’s B2B revenue had eclipsed their B2C revenue.

In the case of MasterClass, it’s unclear what value their catalog holds for enterprises. It does cover some soft skills, like leadership, but a good chunk of the catalog falls squarely into the EduTainment category and would have a hard time competing against the catalogs of, say, Udemy or Coursera.

MasterClass’ crypto course instructors (from left): CZ, Krugman, Dixon, and Choi.

Most recently (and rather bizarrely), the company launched a Crypto and Blockchain course, whose instructors include:

  • Paul Krugman, 2008 economics Nobel Prize winner.
  • Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, CEO of Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange.
  • Emilie Choi, president of Coinbase.
  • Chris Dixon, president of a16z crypto.

Over the years, MasterClass has inspired a number of clones across the globe. FrontRow, one such clone from India, has lost 75% of its employees in 2022, over two rounds of layoffs. The startup had raised $17 million in total.

Recently, Class Central reported on layoffs at Udacity, Coursera, 2U/edX, and FutureLearn.

Dhawal Shah Profile Image

Dhawal Shah

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.

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