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Unpacking the Success of Udemy: A Comprehensive Guide to the E-learning Platform

Udemy: A Comprehensive Guide to Online Learning

As the world continues its rapid transition into the digital age, online learning is becoming more and more popular. One of the most successful e-learning platforms on the market today is Udemy.

Udemy offers a vast array of courses that range from beginner to expert level, in subjects like business, marketing, design, IT, and more. With over 155,000 courses available in 65 languages, you’ll be hard-pressed to not find a course that meets your needs.

In this article, we will provide an overview of Udemy, including its course categories, languages offered, business model, and revenue streams. Well also delve into the history of Udemy and its founders.

Additionally, well explore how Udemy works, including the instruction methods employed, as well as the accreditation of Udemy courses.

Overview of Udemy

Udemy offers courses in categories such as business and entrepreneurship, design, development, IT, marketing, music, and more. It also offers courses in languages such as Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and Turkish, to name a few.

The courses on Udemy are not only limited to hard skills like programming and web development but also include soft skills such as teamwork, time management, leadership, and emotional intelligence. The subjects are diverse, and there is something for everyone.

Business Model and Revenue Streams

The primary source of revenue for Udemy is the fees charged to instructors, who keep about 50% of the revenue from their courses. Udemy also has Udemy for Business, which is designed for organizations that want to provide their employees with professional development opportunities.

Similarly, individual learners can also purchase Udemy courses separately, without necessarily subscribing to the Udemy for Business program.

History of Udemy and its Founders

Udemy was founded in 2010 by Eren Bali, Gagan Biyani, and Oktay Caglar. Bali, who originally hails from Turkey, came up with the idea for Udemy while trying to navigate the American education system and studying for college entrance exams.

Bali, Biyani, and Caglar also realized that there was an opportunity to change education in developing countries where internet access was plentiful. Since its launch, Udemy has grown significantly in both number and quality of courses offered.

Now, the company employs over 500 people and has offices worldwide. How Udemy Works?

Udemy courses are largely composed of lectures, videos, quizzes, and assignments. They are designed in a format to guide learners from the basics to the more complex aspects of a particular subject.

Udemy instructors use various instruction methods to engage learners, ranging from stories to examples, case studies, and practical exercises. Students can also ask questions and interact with instructors and other students in a virtual classroom.

Udemy courses offer a certification of completion, which is not the same as accreditation. Certification of completion means learners receive evidence of their completion of the course, but it is unique to the Udemy platform.

This does not mean that the courses are not of the highest quality standards. Udemy emphasizes that its instructors are experts in their respective fields.


In conclusion, Udemy is an excellent option for learning online given its wide range of course categories and languages offered. Udemy’s business model relies on instructor fees and Udemy for Business subscriptions, providing learners with expert instruction and real-world applications of concepts.

The history of the company and its founders are a testament to how visionaries can change the world. And with Udemy’s innovative format allowing learners the opportunity to get certified for a fraction of the cost of traditional education, it’s no wonder that it has swiftly become one of the most popular e-learning platforms globally.

3) Udemy’s Founder and Early Days

Udemy’s success did not come overnight. It was a journey that involves a struggle, resilience, and a strong entrepreneurial spirit.

This section focuses on the background of Udemy’s three founders, the challenges they faced in starting Udemy, and their early successes.

Background of Founders

Udemy was founded in 2010 by Eren Bali, Gagan Biyani, and Oktay Caglar. Bali, a computer science graduate from the Middle East Technical University, had the idea of creating an online learning platform when he tutored students while living in Turkey.

He wanted to create an affordable and accessible platform where students could learn at their own pace, regardless of their location. Bali later met Biyani, who had experience in product design, and Caglar, an engineer, to start the company.

Challenges Faced in Starting Udemy

Udemy’s success was not an overnight phenomenon. The company faced significant challenges when it was starting, including difficulties finding investors and working multiple jobs.

The founders had to go the extra mile to raise money to keep the company afloat. Bali took on multiple odd jobs like consulting and working as a coder to keep the company afloat.

Biyani, on the other hand, put up his vacation apartment as collateral to secure a loan that helped keep the company alive.

Growth and Early Successes of Udemy

Despite the challenges, Udemy managed to grow. By 2012, the platform had 400,000 registered students and had raised $1M from investors.

What’s more, the company’s early successes motivated experienced instructors to create and sell their courses on the platform, contributing to its growth and success. These instructors created courses in various subject disciplines, ranging from software development, marketing, business, and design.

One of the defining moments for Udemy was when one of its instructors, a mobile app developer, made over $100,000 in four months through selling his courses on the platform. This success story demonstrated the potential of the platform, and other instructors began to replicate this success, helping to establish Udemy as one of the go-to platforms for online learning.

4) Revenue Generation for Udemy

Udemy uses a variety of revenue generation models, including instructor fees and subscription models. This section focuses on how Udemy makes money and explains the low cost of its courses.

Overview of Instructor Fees

For instructors, the revenue share tier for course sales is as follows: when students purchase through an instructor’s unique coupon or URL, the instructor keeps 97% of the revenue share. When students find a course organically, instructors receive a 50% revenue share, and when Udemy drives course sales through paid marketing campaigns, instructors keep 25% of the revenue share.

Udemy for Business Subscription and Pricing

Udemy for Business is a subscription service for organizations that want to provide their employees with access to Udemy courses. They offer two plans: a Team Plan designed to cater to small to mid-sized groups of 5-20 members and an Enterprise Plan designed for larger organizations.

The cost of each plan differs, and the Enterprise Plan is typically more expensive than the Team Plan. Udemy charges $360 per user per year for the Team Plan.

Explanation for Low Course Prices on Udemy

Udemy’s courses are often priced low compared to other e-learning platforms, with some courses costing as little as $10. This low pricing can be attributed to several factors.

Firstly, the high number of courses means that there is a lot of competition, driving prices down. Secondly, many of the courses are created by individuals, which reduces overhead costs and therefore the price of the course.

Finally, many of the courses employ automated grading, reducing the need for instructors, which again reduces the price. Additionally, Udemy often runs sales in which courses are sold at a discount, employing the scarcity effect to drive sales.

This tactic motivates potential students to act fast and purchase courses before they miss out, increasing sales and driving revenue for both Udemy and instructors.


Udemy’s unique business model combines instructor fees and subscription models, ensuring that the company generates revenue while offering affordable courses. The low course prices can be attributed to individual instructor creation, automation, and limited marketing budgets.

Despite the initial obstacles, Udemy has managed to grow into a well-known and respected platform in the online learning space, a testament to the perseverance and entrepreneurial spirit of its founders. Funding, Valuation, and

Revenue of Udemy

Udemy is one of the leading e-learning platforms in the world today, offering over 155,000 courses in various fields.

Since its inception in 2010, the company has raised $273 million in nine rounds of funding, and its valuation stands at a staggering $3.32 billion in the latest Series F funding round. In this section, we explore Udemy’s funding, valuation, and revenue.

Total Funding and Investors

Udemy’s successful growth over the years can be attributed to its numerous funding rounds and investors. In total, the company has received $273 million in funding so far.

Some of its major investors include Tencent, Insight Partners, Benesse Holdings, Stripes, and Norwest Venture Partners. Udemy’s most recent funding round came from the Japanese education company, Benesse Holdings, which invested $50 million in Udemy.

This round put Udemy’s valuation at $3.32 billion. The company used this funding to further its product development and expand its offerings.

Valuation of Udemy

Udemy’s valuation has grown consistently since its inception in 2010. This year, the company’s valuation stands at $3.32 billion, up from $2 billion in 2019.

This increase in valuation is a testament to the company’s growth and success in the e-learning space. The valuation also speaks to the confidence in Udemy’s business model and growth potential.

Revenue of Udemy

Udemy has not publicly disclosed its revenue numbers. However, the company is still focused on expanding its platform through product development and increasing its market share.

The company currently has over 35 million registered users worldwide and continues to drive its revenue from its instructor fee model and Udemy for Business subscription services. One assumption is that, since the company’s focus is on expansion and product development, it may not be entirely profitable yet.

However, the revenue generated from its business model and growth possibilities has attracted investors, and this continues to drive its funding rounds and growth in the e-learning sector.


Udemy’s funding, valuation, and revenue speak to the company’s success and potential for growth in the ever-expanding e-learning industry. Its multiple funding rounds have allowed the company to grow its platform, increase its offerings, and invest further in product development.

The company’s increasing valuation is a testament to the confidence investors have in the company’s business model and management. While Udemy’s revenue has not been publicly disclosed, the company remains focused on product development and expansion, driving revenue from its instructor fee model and Udemy for Business subscription services.

The company’s focus on growth and innovation has made it a leader in the e-learning space and set the stage for a bright future in online education. In conclusion, Udemy has established itself as a prominent player in the online learning industry.

With a wide range of courses offered in multiple languages, Udemy provides learners with the opportunity to acquire new skills and knowledge in various fields. Despite initial challenges faced by its founders, the company has grown significantly, attracting investors and achieving a valuation of $3.32 billion.

While its revenue remains undisclosed, Udemy’s focus on expansion and product development showcases its commitment to providing quality education. The success of Udemy highlights the growing demand for accessible and affordable online learning platforms.

As the world continues to embrace digital education, Udemy stands as a shining example of how technology can revolutionize the way we learn.

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