Coursera Inc. is a U.S.-based massive open online course provider founded in 2012 by Stanford University computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller. Coursera works with universities and other organizations to offer online courses, certifications, and degrees in a variety of subjects. In 2021 it was estimated that about 150 universities offered more than 4,000 courses through Coursera.
Coursera was founded in 2012 by Stanford University computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller. Ng and Koller started offering their Stanford courses online in fall 2011, and soon after left Stanford to launch Coursera. Princeton, Stanford, the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania were the first universities to offer content on the platform. Offerings have since expanded to include Specializations – collections of courses that build skills in a specific subject – as well as degrees and a workforce development product for businesses and government organizations.
In 2014 Coursera received both the Webby Winner (Websites and Mobile Sites Education 2014) and the People's Voice Winner (Websites and Mobile Sites Education) awards.
Coursera's revenues rose from $184 million in 2019 to $294 million in 2020. To date, Coursera has not made a profit. The company lost $66 million in 2020 as they ramped up marketing and advertising.
For the first quarter in 2021, Coursera reported revenue of $88.4 million, up 64% from a year earlier, with a net loss of $18.7 million, or $13.4 million on a non-GAAP basis. Coursera said consumer revenue was $51.9 million, up 61%, while enterprise revenue was $24.5 million, up 63%, and degree programs had revenue of $12 million, up 81%.
For the third quarter in 2021, Coursera reported revenue of $109.9 million, up 33% from $82.7 million a year ago. Gross profit was $67.7 million or 61.6% of revenue. Net loss was $(32.5) million or (29.5)% of revenue.
The startup raised an initial $16 million funding round backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates. In 2013, GSV led the Series B investment, which totaled $63 million. In 2015, NEA led the Series C round of venture funding, which totaled more than $60 million. In 2017, the company raised $64 million from its existing investors in Series D round of funding. In 2019, the company raised $103 million in Series E round of funding from the SEEK Group, Future Fund and NEA. The company reached valuation of $1 billion+ in 2019. In July 2020, the company announced it had raised $130 million in Series F funding and updating its valuation to $2.5 billion.
In September 2013, it announced it had earned $1 million in revenue through the sale of verified certificates that authenticate successful course completion. Coursera first rolled out a series of fee-based course options, which included verified credentials for completion, in 2013. As of October 2015, the company had raised a total of $146.1 million in venture capital.
In January 2016, Coursera rolled out fees to earn grades and assessment for "the vast majority of courses that are part of Specializations." The company offers Financial Aid to people who demonstrate a need. In July 2016, the company launched an enterprise product called Coursera for Business. TechCrunch notes that the company, "opened itself to additional revenues from the lucrative corporate e-learning market, which some reports suggest was worth $12 billion in the US alone." Coursera for Business customers include L’Oréal, Boston Consulting Group, and Axis Bank. In October 2016, Coursera launched a monthly subscription model for Specializations along with a 1-week free trial. The company has said subscription costs will vary, "depending on the topic area."
In January 2017, the company launched Coursera for Governments & Nonprofits. Coursera has announced partnerships with the Institute for Veterans & Military Families (IVMF) in the United States and entities in Egypt, Mongolia, Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan. In June 2017, Jeff Maggioncalda became the CEO of Coursera.
In March 2018, Coursera launched six fully online degree courses including the bachelor's and master's qualifications in various domains.
In March 2021, Coursera filed for an IPO. The nine-year-old company brought in roughly $293 million in revenue for the fiscal year ended December 31 — a 59% growth rate from 2019, according to the filing. Net losses widened by roughly $20 million year over year, reaching $66.8 million in 2020. Coursera spent $107 million on marketing in 2020.
The round was led by Seek Group, with participation from Future Fund and NEA.