Following a busy year for edtech, online learning platform Coursera has filed to go public.
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Coursera is backed by investors including The World Bank and EDBI. The investors set to receive the biggest payout from the IPO include New Enterprise Associates, G Squared, Kleiner Perkins and Future Fund.
As a private company, Coursera raised more than $443 million in funding, according to Crunchbase. It last raised a $130 million Series F led by NEA in July 2020.
Coursera reported $293.5 million in revenue in 2020, up 59 percent from $184.4 million in 2019. Its net loss also grew in that period from $46.7 million in 2019 to $66.8 million in 2020.
As of the end of 2020, the company has over 77 million registered learners on its platform. More than 4,000 academic institutions, 2,000 organizations and 300 government entities had used Coursera for student, employee and resident training, the company said in its S-1.
Edtech in general has been a topic of discussion over the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced distance learning on teachers and students. The company acknowledged how the pandemic “sharply increased the need for online learning beginning in 2020,” but also stated in its Risk Factors section that it couldn’t predict if the online learning trend would stick.
“Although we believe our business has also been positively impacted to some extent by several trends related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the increased need or willingness of businesses, governments, and educational institutions to adopt remote, online, and asynchronous learning and training, we cannot predict whether these trends will continue if and when the pandemic begins to subside, restrictions ease, and the risk and barriers associated with in-person learning and training decrease,” Coursera wrote.
It also acknowledged among its risk factors that, “while the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the market for online learning solutions, it is still less mature than the market for in-person learning and training, which many businesses currently utilize, and these businesses may be slow or unwilling to migrate from these legacy approaches.”
Coursera is one of the bigger names in the world of edtech, partnering with well-known institutions like Stanford University and Princeton University to offer courses such as Introduction to Logic, Machine Learning and Essentials of Palliative Care.
One of its more interesting risk factors: Coursera acknowledged that the reputation of for-profit postsecondary institutions and the scrutiny they’re under could negatively impact its business, despite the company steering clear of them.
“Even though we do not market our solutions to these institutions, this negative media attention may nevertheless add to the skepticism about online higher education generally, including our solutions,” the company wrote.
Coursera is one of several venture-backed companies to file to go public in the past week. ThredUp, AppLovin, Compass and Vizio all filed S-1 registration documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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