Global Online Learning Marketplace Udemy Raises $50M from Long-time Partner Benesse Holdings

Global Online Learning Marketplace Udemy Raises $50M from Long-time Partner Benesse Holdings

Udemy, world’s largest online learning and teaching marketplace, has secured $50 million from Benesse Holdings, the Japan-based educational publisher that has been the company’s partner in the country, with a valuation of $2 billion.

With this round, the company has raised about $223 million in funding, according to Crunchbase, from investors including Insight Partners, Naspers Ventures (Now Prosus), Norwest Venture Partners, and Stripes among others. The funding follows a year of considerable growth for the company globally. In January 2020, the company celebrated its 10 year anniversary and also marked over $350 million in lifetime payments to instructors sharing their knowledge on the global platform. Udemy plans to utilize the fresh funds to further invest in markets around the world and expand its San Francisco headquarters as well as grow its offices in Colorado, Ireland, India, Brazil, and Turkey.

Issuing a statement on the newly raised capital, Gregg Coccari, CEO of Udemy, said,

“Benesse is an important strategic partner for Udemy, and this investment is a testament to the strength of our relationship and the opportunity ahead of us. Udemy is on a mission to improve lives through learning, and so is Benesse. 2020 will be a milestone year where we serve millions more students and enable thousands of business and governments to upskill their employees. This growth wouldn’t be possible without our expert instructors who partner with us every step of the way as we build this business.”

Founded in 2009, Udemy provides a global online marketplace for learning and instruction to help people improve lives through learning. It helps individuals, businesses and governments gain the skills they need to compete in today’s economy, reach their goals and pursue their dreams. Udemy offers over 150,000 online courses in over 65 languages. It claims to have 50 million students, 57,000 expert instructors, and 5,000+ enterprise customers. The company said 80% of Fortune 100 companies trust its employee upskilling program.

Udemy for Business offers companies an employee training and development platform with subscription access to 4,000+ courses, learning analytics, as well as the ability to host and distribute their own content. Udemy has also introduced Learning Paths, enabling organizations to build personalized learning experiences to achieve specific outcomes, such as employee onboarding and career development. The company’s Udemy for Government program is designed to upskill workers and prepare them for the job of tomorrow. Enterprise customers choosing to upskill their employees with Udemy for Business include Adidas,, Pinterest, Toyota, General Mills, and Lyft among others.

Tamotsu Adachi, Representative Director, President and CEO of Benesse Holdings Inc, also issued a statement on the investment saying,

“Access to the latest workplace skills is crucial for success everywhere, including Japan; and Udemy is the world’s largest marketplace enabling professional transformation. With this partnership, we envision a world where more people can continue to learn continuously throughout their lives. Udemy and Benesse are incredibly synergistic businesses. This investment is the next progression in our business relationship and demonstrates our confidence in what we can accomplish together.”

Udemy has last raised $60 million Series D in 2016 from Johannesburg-listed tech and media firm Naspers. Prior to that, it raised $65 million from Stripes in 2015.

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About the Author
Author: Stephen Soulunii
Stephen Soulunii No more a student, but love to learn. Not a teacher, but care about how students are taught. Not an educator, but want everyone to be educated. Not a social worker, but desire to see change. Not a reformer, but always want to see a better world. The author believes that only sound education can bring a better future, better world and technology can help achieve a lot in this field.

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