Blended Learning, Continuing Education, Domestic, Open Source Education, Required, Startups, Venture Capital - Written by on Sunday, December 9, 2012 20:47 - 0 Comments

Udemy Raises $12 Million As CEO Eren Bali Tells His Story & Hires A COO

 Anuj Biyani via Compfight

Udemy, an online education marketplace, says it completed a $12 million Series B financing round led by Insight Venture Partners, with additional support from existing investors LightbankMHS Capital and Learn Capital, bringing Udemy’s total funding to $16 million.

Eren Bali, CEO and co-founder of Udemy, wrote us a note recently telling us a bit about his background that is interesting:

Recently, a lot of people have asked me why I started the company. The answer lies in my personal story, and I wanted to share it with you today. 

I was born in a small village in Turkey. My primary school was a one room schoolhouse where a single teacher tried her best to teach 5 different grades at the same time. That meant we were often left to try and learn from books on our own. As a kid, I was interested and somewhat talented in subjects like mathematics and science, but there was very little room for me to advance my skills. 

One day my parents bought my two sisters and me a computer and Internet access for a few months. At the time none of us had any idea how it would change our lives. But once I started using the Internet, I knew I had found a new way to learn. 

That’s where I discovered several math forums where people were exchanging problems to work on and a few websites with problem sets used in the Math Olympiads. Even though these forums were clunky and disorganized, they had a huge impact on my life. Long story short, by teaching myself math online, I eventually won a gold medal in the National Math Olympiads in Turkey and a silver medal in the International Math Olympiads. 

Later on during college I studied computer science and mathematics. It was there that I met my good friend, and Udemy co-founder, Oktay Caglar. Together we started experimenting with the possibilities offered by the Internet. 

So with the power of the Internet, combined with our own challenging educational experiences, we imagined a world where anyone could learn anything — from any expert in the world. It didn’t take us long to realize how much this idea could change people’s lives. 

But the journey wasn’t easy.

We first created a product with Udemy’s vision 6 years ago in Turkey. We failed. So we packed our bags and moved to Silicon Valley to give it another shot. We were rejected by more than 50 investors before we launched the company in the Valley. But through it all, we didn’t give up because we believed in the power of the Internet to change how people learn. 

We learned from the challenges we faced and eventually our hard work paid off. 

It’s on that note that I want to share some exciting news with you. As a result of Udemy’s amazing growth, we just raised $12 million in Series B funding. 

As a small thank you, I wanted to share a collection of Udemy courses that I wish I had access to while growing up in Turkey. I hope you enjoy them. 

So with $12 million in funding, Udemy says it plans to expand the range and types of content it offers and aims to extend it courses across new platforms. 

Udemy currently offers over 5,000 courses – with over 400 courses added in October 2012 alone – covering a wide range of subjects, including professional, business, technical, academic, creative and lifestyle.

Courses are delivered on demand, so adult learners in particular can take them at their own pace when and where it is convenient for them. 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.

Udemy also said it hired Dennis Yang as president and chief operating officer. Yang, who previously served as executive advisor to a number of start-ups and held leadership roles with 4INFO and Good Technology, will lead Udemy’s business and operations-related activities, working closely with chief executive officer and co-founder Eren Bali.

“Our marketplace model has allowed us to double our course offerings in just 12 months, grow our user base to over 500,000 students, and increase our revenue 400% over last year,” noted Yang.

The company recently announced a strategic partnership with The Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University to offer online leadership development solutions, and last month launched an iPad app.


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2013-01-18 10:45

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