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MOOCWatch 26: Coursera and Udemy IPO Brewing

Coursera and Udemy boosted their valuation by over a billion dollars in 2020, potentially setting them up to go public later this year

MOOCWatch 26 Illustration

Last year, Bloomberg reported that Coursera is considering an initial public offering (IPO) at a valuation of $5 billion. Udemy is also considered a potential candidate for going public later this year.

The coronavirus pandemic boosted the fortunes of all online course providers, and these two providers in particular were able to raise money and increase their valuations by more than a billion dollars in 2020.

I compared the two providers in terms of their catalog, business model, web traffic, and more.

Coursera vs Udemy: By the Numbers
Coursera Udemy
Users 76 million 40 million
2020 Revenue >> $200 million $400 million
Funding $443 million $296.5 million
Valuation $2.5 billion $3.25 billion
Courses 6,500 157,000
Enrollments 170+ million 425+ million
Enterprise Customers 2,300+ 7,000+

Surprisingly, despite its magnitude and reach, Udemy’s catalog seems to have seldom been analyzed. I took a stab at it and analyzed its entire catalog of 157,000 courses. I also published a list of Udemy’s top 250 courses. Combined, they’ve gathered over 55 million enrollments.

For those of you looking for a course to take, here are some curated course lists compiled by Class Central:

In Class Central news, here is how we fared in 2020 (hint: 18 million learners, 70k reviews) and the story behind our new logo. Also, read about our study group exploits below.

Estimated monthly traffic from Google according to third parties
SEMrush Ahrefs SpyFu SimilarWeba
Coursera 7.6M 7.8M 16M 11.6M (20%)
edX 3.4M 3.9M 5M 4.07M (23%)
MasterClass 7.8M 2.8M 10M 3.27M (50%)
Class Centralb 604k 261k 849k 1M (57%)

Finally, I looked at the SEO content strategy of the top MOOC providers and investigated how 50 online course providers track their learners online.

Top Stories

New Registered Users 2019-2020

The Second Year of The MOOC

In 2020, the big MOOC providers got bigger, and the biggest one pulled further ahead of the rest. Here is a recap.

You can find a complete overview of how MOOCs did last year in By The Numbers: MOOCs in 2020. And you can learn more about individual MOOC providers in Class Central’s 2020 end-of-year analyses:

Udemy by the Numbers

157K Courses, 425M Enrollments: Breaking Down Udemy’s Massive Catalog
From course ratings to pricing, let’s have a look at some of the discernible trends of Udemy’s catalog.

Udemy vs Coursera
Exploring the two providers in terms of their catalog, business model, web traffic, and more.

20+ In-Person and Virtual Conferences on Online Learning in 2021
In 2021, many conferences remain virtual or add online participation to their in-person format.

Class Central Exclusives

Udacity’s Final Pivot? From Silicon Valley University to Corporate Training
Udacity raises $75M and pivots toward enterprise and government training.

Georgia Tech’s Computer Science Online Master’s Leaves Udacity
As Udacity’s and Georgia Tech’s paths diverged, the partnership made less and less sense.

40 Online International Degrees in Mainland China
Global universities are partnering with Chinese organizations to launch online degrees recognized in China.

SEO Content Strategy Demystified: Coursera, MasterClass, and edX
How online courses providers shape their sites and content to appeal to the Google algorithm.

Provider Ad Trackers Third-Party Cookies Facebook / Google Tracking
Western Governors University 24 42 Yes / Yes
Springboard 23 30 Yes / Yes
Harvard Business School Online 22 39 Yes / Yes
Coursera 19 30 Yes / Yes
Pluralsight 18 6 Yes / No
A Cloud Guru 17 27 Yes / Yes
Galvanize 17 18 Yes / Yes
Udacity 17 16 Yes / Yes
Udemy 16 15 Yes / Yes
Thinkful 15 20 Yes / Yes

Providers with the highest number of ad trackers2

How Online Course Providers Track Learners — Privacy Analysis
We put 50 online course providers to the test using the open-source privacy inspector Blacklight.

Coursera Explores a $59/month Pricing for Its Catalog Subscription
After introducing an annual subscription earlier in 2020, in October, Coursera started testing a monthly subscription.

Class Central News

Class Central Over the Years

18M Learners, 70K Reviews: Class Central’s 2020 Year in Review
Class Central turned nine! Here’s a recap of some of this year’s main developments.

Our New Logo: The Class Central Chalkboard
In 2020, we introduced a new logo. This is the ordinary story behind it. But it wasn’t just us, coincidentally, edX and Coursera both unveiled new looks and brands on the same day.

Class Central’s Study Group Chronicles

For the last few months, some members of the Class Central team have been doing courses together. Here is how our experience has been:

Course Compilations

250 Top Udemy Courses of All Time (2021)
A list of Udemy’s 250 most popular online courses. Combined, they’ve gathered over 55 million enrollments.

600 Online Courses With Real College Credit That You Can Access For Free
Class Central recently made a list of all the courses we could find that are part of for-credit programs and are still free to access.

150+ Stanford On-Campus Computer Science Courses Available Online
These courses have made their materials available online to varying degrees. Some include video lessons.

Class Central’s Best Online Courses of the Year (2021 Edition)
Class Central’s list of the highest-rated free online courses of the year

18M Learners, 70K Reviews: Class Central’s 2020 Year in Review
Class Central just turned nine! Here’s a recap of some of this year’s main developments.

350+ Hours of Free LinkedIn Learning Courses with Free Certification
185 courses and 14 learning paths offer free certificates. A total of 350+ hours of free online learning resources.

The 100 Most Popular Free Online Courses (2021 Edition)
This year, the ranking looks a bit different: almost one fifth of the courses are related to the pandemic.

More News

freeCodeCamp’s 2020: Year in Review
With an Annual Budget of just $500K, the non-profit freeCodeCamp was able to deliver 1.3 billion minutes of instruction.

Udemy for Business Surpasses $100 Million ARR
Udemy for Business has scaled from $1 million to $100 million in five years.

FutureLearn Launches Subscription-Based ExpertTracks
ExpertTrack, FutureLearn’s new microcredential, costs $39/month.

FutureLearn Unlimited: Is it Worth it?
FutureLearn Unlimited costs $279.99 for one year and provides unlimited access with certificates to hundreds of online courses. Class Central’s @pat takes a look.

The Coding Bootcamp Trap
Recent grads are being lured into ‘indentured servitude’ by a training program that costs $36,500 to quit.

Udemy Uses DMCA To Delete Video Showing How to Access Courses Free & Legally
Udemy has used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to delete a video on YouTube that showed students how to legally access 6,000 courses for free via a schools and public libraries partnership.

Three million enrolments for online courses at TU Delft
Over 70 percent of the paying participants completed the course; TU Delft has issued more than 60,000 certificates.

Former FutureLearn CEO’s Next Gig
Nord Anglia Education, a premium international schools organisation, announced that Simon Nelson has been appointed as Group Digital Director. At this time, FutureLearn hasn’t announced their new CEO yet.

Purdue University Global Loses $21 million in Second Full Year
Phill Hill dives into the finances of Purdue University Global, which was formerly known as Kaplan University and was acquired by Purdue.

India and EdTech

IIT Madras Admits 8,154 Students In First Batch Of Online BSc Programme
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has admitted 8,154 students in the first batch of the first online programme of its kind, BSc in Programming and Data Sciences.

Byju’s-owned Indian startup WhiteHat Jr sues critics
Bajaj, founder of coding platform WhiteHat Jr, has filed a defamation case against Pradeep Poonia, an engineer who has publicly criticized the firm for its marketing tactics, the quality of the courses on the platform, and aggressive takedowns of such feedback.

Amazon India launches online academy India’s most competitive college entrance tests
“Amazon Academy”, available as a website and an Android smartphone app, will offer learning material, live lectures and assessments to help students prepare for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), which allows entry into top engineering schools across India.

Byju’s to Pay $1 Billion for Blackstone-Backed India Tutor
India’s biggest online-education startup Byju’s has signed a deal to acquire brick and mortar test prep leader Aakash Educational Services Ltd. for $1 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the talks.

Edtech Startup Edureka Suffers Server Breach, Data Of 2 Mn Users Exposed
The data breach, investigated and reported by SafetyDetectives, is said to have compromised users’ names, addresses and contact details.

Fundraising News

Skillshare Raises Funding From Adobe
To date, Skillshare has raised well over $66 million in capital from Union Square Ventures, Amasia, Burda Principal Investments and Spero Ventures.

Online course platform Thinkific raises $22M
The Vancouver-based startup is announcing that it has raised $22 million in new funding.

Udemy Raises $50 million
In November 2020, the company announced that it has raised $50 million at a $3.25 billion pre-money valuation in a Series F financing.

SketchyMedical Raises $30 Million
Visual education company SketchyMedical, which creates animated sketches to help medical students memorize complex information, announced today that it has received a $30 million majority stake investment from investment firm The Chernin Group (TCG).


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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