Udemy Receives $3 Million in Series A Financing Led by Lightbank

With Over 6,000 Courses, Fast-Growing Website Makes It Easy for Anyone to Teach And Learn Online; New Funds will be Used to Expand Marketing, Add Employees

Oct 12, 2011, 09:20 ET from Udemy

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Udemy, "the Academy of you", today announced it has completed a $3 million Series A financing. The round was led by Lightbank, the Chicago-based technology investment fund started by Groupon co-founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, and with additional support from funders MHS Capital and 500 Startups. Udemy's new capital will be used primarily to add key employees to the company's marketing and business development teams.

Launched in May 2010, Udemy has significantly impacted the world of learning by enabling anyone to teach or learn online.  The site currently offers over 6,000 courses covering an immense range of subjects from hobbies and lifestyle topics to professional ("Social Marketing"), technical ("Learn to Build iPhone Apps"), academic ("Introduction to Psychology") and creative skills ("Art 101").  Those teaching via Udemy are able to build a curriculum based on videos, slide presentations, PDFs, documents, articles, links, photos and live conferences with their students. Courses are mainly on-demand so students can take them at their own pace and have access to them indefinitely.

While over 90% of Udemy courses are free, instructors are allowed to charge for their courses.  The award-winning site has attracted tens of thousands of users, and is on track to sell more than $1 million of courses in 2011. The site is doubling its traffic and revenues every quarter.

"Udemy has become the destination site for experts to share their knowledge online, attracting New York Times bestselling authors, Stanford University lecturers, and world-renown speakers to teach courses," said Gagan Biyani, President and Co-Founder of Udemy.  "Our new investment will enable us to double down on our efforts to grow our site and expand our worldwide reach."

The Series A investment in Udemy is its second round of financing. Previously, in August 2010, Udemy raised $1 million from MHS Capital, Dave McClure's 500 Startups, Keith Rabois, Rick Thompson, Russ Fradin, Benjamin Ling, Larry Braitman, Jeremy Stoppelman, Naval Ravikant, Paul Martino, and Josh Stylman.

"Udemy has tapped into the proven interest for online learning between individuals and groups of people.  Its success shows there is a huge demand for this kind of knowledge transfer," said Brad

Keywell, Managing Partner of Lightbank. "We're optimistic that Udemy will continue its leadership in this category, bringing unique education online for both personal and professional use."

Udemy was founded by Gagan Biyani, Eren Bali and Oktay Caglar.  Bali and Caglar, both engineers, were in charge of development at SpeedDate.com, helping that site grow from zero to 10 million users in its first two years.  Biyani, formerly a writer for TechCrunch, also served in professional roles with Accenture and Microsoft.

About Udemy:

Udemy's goal is to disrupt and democratize the world of education by enabling anyone to teach and learn online.  Just as blogging democratized the publishing industry, enabling anyone to instantly become a journalist, Udemy seeks to dramatically change education by empowering millions of experts around the world to teach and share what they know.  Privately-owned Udemy is funded by Lightbank, MHS Capital, 500 Startups and other investors responsible for funding Internet giants like YouTube, LinkedIn, Zynga, Twitter and Yelp.  The company is based in San Francisco.  To learn more, visit http://www.udemy.com/static/press.html.

About Lightbank:

Lightbank is an investment fund focused on early-stage technology companies.  Founded by Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, who were co-founders of Groupon, MediaBank, InnerWorkings and Echo Global Logistics, Lightbank invests money, time and expertise to help innovative businesses achieve dynamic growth. For more information, visit http://www.lightbank.com.