Coursera seeks IPO following a watershed year for online education

by Jeremy

Dive Brief:

  • Coursera, one of the world’s largest MOOC platforms, is attempting to become a publicly-traded company, following a year in which much of postsecondary education occurred online.
  • According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, it wants to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol COUR and is seeking to raise to $100 million.
  • Coursera plans to grow the company by adding more online degrees and investing in services that help colleges teach classes remotely.

Dive Insight:

Coursera launched in 2012 as one of the first MOOC providers. According to the SEC filing, by the end of last year, its platform offered more than 4,000 online courses created with 150-plus universities.

The company has branched out in recent years. It offered its first master’s degree in 2015 and its first bachelor’s degree in 2018. It also launched a service in 2019 called Coursera for Campus, which lets colleges use the company’s content.

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In its IPO prospectus, the com pany offered one of the first detailed looks at how it has been faring.

Users flocked to Coursera for online education during the pandemic. The number of people registered on its platform swelled to around 77 million in 2020, up from 46 million the prior year.

It also nearly doubled the number of students enrolled in its degree programs, from around 6,200 at the end of 2019 to almost 12,000 a year later. Those programs brought in nearly $30 million in 2020 compared to about $15 million the year before.

About half of the new students in Coursera’s degree programs in 2020 had already been registered on the platform. That could lower the company’s marketing costs and allow it to offer lower-priced online degrees, said Phil Hill, a partner at the ed-tech consulting firm MindWires. “If that can prove to be sustainable, that’s going to have a big impact on the (online program management) market,” he added.

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