Recently, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of a new online training platform which will enable unemployed New Yorkers to learn new skills, earn certificates, and advance their careers for free. The new tool, provided by Coursera, will provide access to nearly 4,000 online programs taught by leading professors and industry professionals.
The online education sector is thriving as people displaced by the coronavirus pandemic are pivoting to new careers and looking for ways to learn the skills they need. And Coursera is enjoying this wave, setting its eye on an IPO in 2021.
According to sources close to the company, Coursera is in talks with potential underwriters for an IPO that would value it at around $5 billion. It was last valued at about $2.6 billion in a funding round in July, according to PitchBook. Sources revealed that a final decision has not been made and Coursera could very well choose to remain private. No representatives for Coursera have made any public comments at this time.
Founded in 2012 by Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, Coursera works with more than 200 universities and other educators to offer courses, certifications, and degree programs. Over nine funding rounds, Coursera has raised $443.1 million. Its investors include Kleiner Perkins, New Enterprise Associates, and Learn Capital.
During the pandemic, Coursera has assisted over 330 government agencies in 70 countries as well as 30 U.S. states and cities to support impacted workers with skills training. Over 1 million workers have enrolled in more than 7 million courses within Coursera’s Workforce Recovery Initiative.
The initiative is modeled after a highly successful program the company launched in March 2020, which offered free courses to over 3,700 colleges and universities that closed their campuses in response to the global pandemic. In just six weeks, that initiative launched 6,400 programs for 2,800 colleges and universities around the world, helping enroll 475,000 displaced students in 1.1 million courses.
The company also revealed that it has experienced a 450% increase in traffic to its site since the pandemic began.
“We see a focus on shorter-term learning in ways that can advance [people’s] careers,” Leah Belsky, Coursera’s Chief Enterprise Officer said. “There is now laser focus among consumers on how any degree can help them get a better job.”