Naspers-backed Udemy files for Nasdaq IPO

Online learning platform Udemy on Tuesday filed regulatory paperwork for an initial public offering in the US, revealing a surge in revenue last year driven by the pandemic-led accelerated shift toward remote learning.

The San Francisco-based company’s revenue grew 55.6% to US$429.9-million in 2020 from a year earlier, its filing showed. Udemy incurred a net loss of $77.6-million over the same period.

The company, whose investors include Naspers spinoff Prosus, was valued at $3.3-billion during a financing round in November last year. It is expected to go public at a much higher valuation.

Naspers first invested in Udemy in 2016. In total, Naspers and Prosus have invested $121-million in the company. Prosus holds 13.98% of Udemy’s equity, according to its most recent annual report.

Prosus executive Larry Illg has served on the Udemy board since May 2016. Illg has served as CEO of food and ed-tech for Prosus since December 2018 and April 2021 respectively.

Udemy is the latest in a string of online education companies looking to list their shares in New York, after Coursera and Nerdy went public earlier this year.

$200-billion opportunity

As of 30 June, about 42% of Fortune 100 companies used Udemy Business (UB), the company’s corporate learning service, according to its filing. UB revenue more than doubled last year as global business leaders increasingly require employees to pick up new skills.

Udemy, which provides over 183 000 courses in 75 languages across more than 180 countries, launched a direct-to-consumer subscription earlier this year, an offering that is still in beta testing mode.

Prosus executive Larry Illg has served on the Udemy board since May 2016. Prosus holds 13.98% of the company’s equity

With a roughly $200-billion market opportunity, Udemy, which has more than 44 million learners on its platform, expects its estimated addressable market to grow in multiples due to the transition to online learning.

It competes with the likes of Pluralsight, Skillsoft and LinkedIn Learning in its corporate training offering and with Coursera and edX in its consumer-facing marketplace.  — Reported by Sohini Podder, (c) 2021 Reuters, with additional reporting (c) 2021 NewsCentral Media