IPO Public Markets

After A Big Year For Edtech, Coursera Stock Closes 36 Percent Above IPO Price

Online learning platform Coursera closed at $45 on Wednesday, about 36 percent above its IPO price. 

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Coursera priced its shares at $33 each, the high end of its $30-$33 range, on Tuesday and raised around $520 million through its IPO. The company’s stock opened at $39 on Wednesday, an 18 percent increase from its IPO price.

The Mountain View, California-based company, which was founded in 2012, marks the first major edtech IPO of the year, after the industry saw a boom last year alongside the COVID-19 pandemic. As schools moved to remote settings, they turned to edtech to facilitate distance learning, with venture-backed companies in the education and edtech space raising more than $12 billion in funding last year, according to Crunchbase data.

Coursera opted to go public now because of market conditions, which for the most part have been favorable for tech companies, according to Chief Financial Officer Ken Hahn.

“The markets are good, we weren’t in a particular rush to get public,” Hahn said in an interview with Crunchbase News. “We don’t need the cash, none of the investors were pushing for liquidity. Really, we looked at it as, it was a good market and it would be good for the company.”

The company acknowledged the impact of COVID-19 on edtech, noting in its S-1 filing that the pandemic “sharply increased the need for online learning.” 

Coursera says it has more than 77 million registered users on the platform, and is used by more than 4,000 academic institutions, 2,000 organizations, and 300 government entities. Of those registered users, 30 million joined the platform in 2020 alone, according to Hahn.

The pandemic has accelerated trends related to online learning, Hahn said, and people who have lost jobs during the pandemic have turned to resources like Coursera to learn the skills they need to make them better suited for jobs available now. 

Udemy, another online course provider, could pursue an IPO this year, according to Bloomberg, after raising a $50 million Series E in February 2020 and a $50 million Series F in November 2020. Language learning platform Duolingo could also go public this year, according to a 2020 report from The Wall Street Journal.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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