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Filling skills gaps spells big profits for Udemy

Referring to itself as a “global marketplace for teaching and learning online”, non-academic MOOC platform Udemy has recently announced that its top 10 instructors have made $17 million in earnings since it launched in 2010.

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To date the company has raised a total of $48 million

The US-based platform connects over 10,000 instructors to four million students across 190 countries to sell courses ranging from web development to photography. It also works with multinational conglomerates through its corporate training division, Udemy for Business.

At the end of last year it enrolled its five millionth user, small scale compared to Coursera’s 22 million, however the platform’s model allows instructors to set course fees if they desire.

“Instructors across the globe are using Udemy to share their expertise with the people who need to build skills”

“Instructors across the globe are using Udemy to share their expertise with the people who need to build skills,” said Udemy CEO Dennis Yang. “Udemy’s five million students benefit from a dynamic catalogue of courses, taught by our expert instructors who enable them to move forward in their careers and fuel their passions.”

On average instructors make around $7,000 annually.

It is also focusing its attention on corporate training and has recently added partnerships with Mixpanel, a mobile analytics company, to deals with PepsiCo and IBM.

At the end of last year, it also announced a partnership with UK-based job site reed.co.uk to offer courses to enhance job seekers skills. The deal will grant the over six million job seekers the site attracts every month access to 3,500 free and paid Udemy courses.

“Fast-moving companies everywhere are struggling to keep pace with ever-changing technology and the new expectations of an incoming generation of millennial workers,” said Paul Sebastien, Vice President and General Manager of Udemy for Business.

“As employers struggle to narrow the skills gap and empower millennial workers, we see demand for online learning platforms only growing more urgent.”

In May of last year the company secured $32m in series C funding from Norwest Venture Partners joining earlier backers Insight Venture Partners and MHS Capital.

To date the company has raised a total of $48 million and at the end of last year the company said revenue grew 160% on 2013, it tripled its employee count to 120 and opened its first European outpost in Dublin.

In 2015, the company said it plans to expand its international presence after seeing 2014 profits in India and Germany grow 300% over 2013.

“If you want to scale education, you can’t just build schools. You have to use technology,” CEO Yang told Tech in Asia, adding that growth will come through local partnerships.

“If you want to scale education, you can’t just build schools. You have to use technology”

“We can potentially work with media, government, and education agencies as long as we have the same goal in mind,” he said.

Straying from the traditional MOOC platform model, Coursera has also expanded its effort to reach out to life long learners by partnering with airline carrier JetBlue to contribute to its in-flight content.

Coursera will host 10 e-learning videos that include courses such as Introduction to Marketing from The Wharton School, also giving passengers the ability to browse from a list of institutions like University of Edinburgh and Berklee School of Music.

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