Udemy IPO: What To Know About Its Growth And Biggest Winners

Illustration of a pencil on a laptop screen to indicate the concept of edtech.

Online learning platform Udemy is expected to start trading on the Nasdaq Friday in an IPO that could raise more than $400 million. 

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The San Francisco-based company expects its 14.5 million common shares to be priced between $27 and $29, targeting a valuation between $3.71 billion and about $4.05 billion, up from the $3.3 billion it was valued at during its Series F financing round a year ago. 

What it does

Udemy offers online courses that focus on things like new professional skills or improving on existing skills in technology and business, as well as soft skills and personal development. 

Individuals can sign up to attend courses independently—a new option that is still being tested—or its services can be accessed via its Udemy Business offerings through an employer. Currently 8,600 organizations are Udemy Business customers, 42 of which are Fortune 100 companies, according to company filings. Udemy offers 183,000 courses in 75 languages globally.


The IPO comes at an opportune time for the company. Udemy’s S-1, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Oct. 20, outlines big growth in the years between its 2010 launch and 2017, when it had grown to serve 10 million “learners” on its platform. 

But the years between 2017 and 2021 were unprecedented for the fast-growing company. As of this year, Udemy says it provides services for more than 44 million people, growth helped along at least in part by the pandemic. 

Udemy leaders say they expect the growth to continue, even sans a pandemic that forces people out of the office and deeper into the digital world. By its estimate, digital learning is an industry with more than $200 billion in potential. 

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of corporate training occurred offline, and we believe that online education is well placed to address the scalability and affordability limitations of offline education,” the company said in its filing. “With the increase of internet connectivity, technological advances, and interactive tools at a low cost, we expect a massive shift from offline to online.”

Udemy’s revenue grew 55.6 percent to $429.9 million in 2020. Its net losses came to almost $70 million in 2019 and grew to $77.6 million in 2020. A majority of its operating expenses are attributed to sales and marketing, the company’s filing shows. 

Big winners

The investor with the most to gain by far from Udemy’s IPO this week is New York-based Insight Partners, which owns 42,032,260 shares, or about 34 percent, before the offering. 

Amsterdam-based MIH Edtech Investments BV owns 17,120,840 shares, or just shy of 14 percent, while Norwest Venture Partners in Palo Alto owns 12,458,934 shares, or 10.1 percent. 

Similar IPOs 

Two edtech companies, Coursera and Nerdy, also went public earlier this year.

Coursera’s 15.7 million shares were priced at $33 apiece in its March IPO, when it began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The Mountain View, California-based company raised nearly $520 million at a $4.3 billion valuation.

St. Louis-based startup Nerdy became a public company through a special-purpose acquisition company, known as a SPAC, last month. The deal gave Nerdy, which owns the popular Varsity Tutors, a $1.7 billion valuation and offered up to $750 million in proceeds when it started trading on the NYSE. 

Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan are the lead underwriters for Udemy’s IPO. The company will list on the Nasdaq under the symbol UDMY.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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