Big Money Rolls Into MOOCs As Udemy Raises $12 Million

udemy fundingJust when you thought MOOCs might be hitting the high point of the ‘edtech buzz-o-meter,’ there’s a massive amount of funding flowing into one of the big players. As of 12pm EST today, Udemy has officially announced a $12 million Series B round of financing. To give you some perspective, the total funding for Udemy is now at $16 million. In other words, this latest round is huge for Udemy.

Udemy and the rest of the online course providers are really starting to see some major money roll in. Relatively rare in education, this kind of investment further solidifies the role of MOOCs and online learning in the future of learning. Whether it succeeds or fails remains to be seen, however. But I heard a story about MOOCs on NPR earlier this week where they basically outlined what a MOOC is and why you should know about them. So MOOCs have hit the mainstream and VCs agree. Udemy, while not solely a MOOC provider, is still an online learning provider that is capable of hosting large-scale courses online. In other words, Udemy just got a huge weapon in the battle for the future of education.

Now to see if this actually turns into the future of education or if it’s simply like the correspondence courses offered decades ago…

Press Release

Udemy, the leading online education marketplace, today announced the completion of a $12 million Series B financing round led by Insight Venture Partners, with additional support from existing investors Lightbank and MHS Capital , bringing Udemy’s total funding to $16 million The new capital will be used primarily for expanding the range and types of Udemy’s content offerings as well as extending the content catalog across new platforms. Udemy will continue to bring on the best content from the world’s leading experts, publishers and universities. In addition, the company announced the hiring of Dennis Yang as president and chief operating officer.

bringing Udemy’s total funding to $16 million. The new capital will be used primarily for expanding the range and types of Udemy’s content offerings as well as extending the content catalog across new platforms. Udemy will continue to bring on the best content from the world’s leading experts, publishers and universities. In addition, the company announced the hiring of Dennis Yang as president and chief operating officer.

Launched in early 2010, Udemy is democratizing education by making top-quality content from the world’s experts dramatically more affordable for anyone, anywhere. The site currently offers over 5,000 courses – with over 400 courses added in October 2012 alone – covering a wide range of subjects, including professional, business, technical, academic, creative and lifestyle. Courses are delivered on demand, so adult learners in particular can take them at their own pace when and where it is convenient for them. Those teaching via Udemy are able to build a curriculum based on videos, slide presentations, PDFs, documents, articles, links, photos and live conferences with their students.

Yang, who previously served as executive advisor to a number of start-ups and held leadership roles with 4INFO and Good Technology, will lead Udemy’s business and operations-related activities, working closely with chief executive officer and co-founder Eren Bali.

“Our marketplace model has allowed us to double our course offerings in just 12 months, grow our user base to over 500,000 students, and increase our revenue 400% over last year,” noted Yang. “Udemy is already a top destination for online learning. This round of funding will allow us to continue to build the most amazing and unique content library in the world, expand our content and platform offerings and capitalize on the disruptive market dynamics of MOOCs and other online learning platforms.”

The Series B investment is Udemy’s third round of financing, having previously raised $3 million in October 2011 and $1 million in August 2010. The company recently announced a strategic partnership with The Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University to offer online leadership development solutions, and last month launched an iPad app, making its content even more accessible to students who want to learn anytime, anywhere. In May 2012, Udemy reported that its top 10 instructors collectively earned over $1.6 million.