For this week's tech mafia edition, we're taking a look at the popular edtech platform, Udemy. It's amongst the top 10 most successful edtech platforms, along with Coursera, MasterClass, and Kahoot.
The first version of Udemy was developed by Eren Bali in 2007 in Turkey - a software for a live virtual classroom. Excited by the potential of his idea, he saved up money to move over to Silicon Valley. In 2010 along with his friends Gagan Biyani and Oktay Caglar, Erin launched the official Udemy platform.
As with almost every startup story, it wasn't an easy ride. They had managed to raise their first $1 million, but only after being rejected about 30 times. None of them were US residents, so the trio worked full time jobs while developing Udemy in the late evening hours after coming back from work.
Udemy went public in 2021 at a valuation of $2 billion. The platform has over 59 million learners and 60,000 instructors. In the past several years, Udemy's alumni group of founders has been steadily growing. So let's take a look at what the Udemy Mafia is building, how much money they've raised, and the industries they are building in.
Below we highlight the top 9 companies from the Udemy Mafia, but a total of 18 companies have been founded and the alumni group has collectively raised $721 million as per Crunchbase data. In terms of industries, healthtech is the industry that the most startups have been founded in by former employees.
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Carbon Health, a mobile-based healthcare network, is Eren Bali's, founder of Udemy, second billion-dollar startup. He co-founded Carbon Health in 2015, and the company has raised $622 million in funding since then. It's backed by investors like BlackRock, Lux Capital, and 500 Global.
The company began as a software platform and mobile app for medical records, telehealth, doctor-patient messaging, and scheduling. It all started with a team of four; a designer, a developer, a physician, and Eren. Their goal was to provide the healthcare they'd want for themselves and in a way that would be affordable to anyone. In 2021, the company was valued at $3.3 billion, but earlier this year it was forced to lay off 200 employees due to market conditions.
Gagan Biyani, one of the co-founders of Udemy, co-founded another platform in 2020 called Maven, which combines edtech with the creator economy. The team has already raised $25 million from top investors like a16z, First Round Capital, Sahil Lavingia, and Naval Ravikant.
The original hypothesis of Maven was to focus on courses built by creators, but last year the company decided to pivot and focus on courses by experts. The initial idea that creators would be able to sell out courses turned out to be wrong, with courses by experts outperforming those by creators.
“Maven has always been in the more serious education category, but maybe you could argue that we’re going further in that direction,” Biyani said in an interview with TechCrunch. “Having more expert-led and less creators means less entertainment and [more] things that help you level up in your career.”
Founder: Uğur Kaner
Udemy Role: Product
Capital Raised: $78.7M
Investors: General Catalyst
Stage: Series B
Collective offers financial solutions designed for self-employed business owners such as company formation, tax, accounting, and bookkeeping.
Founder: Russell Fradin
Udemy Role: Board Director
Capital Raised: $114.8M
Stage: Series E
Dynamic Signal is an employee communication and engagement platform.
Carbon Health is a human-centered, tech-enabled healthcare company with the mission to remove traditional boundaries in healthcare and make high-quality, personalized care accessible to everyone.
Founder: Gagan Biyani
Udemy Role: Co-Founder and President
Capital Raised: $25.1M
Stage: Series A
Maven is a developer of an online cohort-based leadership program designed to create a community where anyone can start their own course.
Founder: Anil Sevim
Udemy Role: Founding Engineer
Capital Raised: $4M
Investors: Y Combinator
Journey provides a sales platform that enables users to engage, close, and onboard customers in one link.
Modal is a mastery platform that gives every employee the skills they need to do better work by teaching them the technical skills.
Founder: Pedro Sanchez de Lozada
Udemy Role: Business Development and Marketing
Capital Raised: $1M
Investors: FJ Labs
Pedro Sanchez de Lozada, CEO at Canid, is an early-stage startup builder with experience at companies like Merlin, Rinse, and Udemy. Canid simplifies pediatricians' work with a scanning system that streamlines the vaccination process and uploads data to state registries.
Founder: Andrew Lassetter
Udemy Role: Product Design Manager
Capital Raised: $3.6M
Andrew Lassetter, founder at Sticky.app, simplifies work for busy professionals with automation and real-time insights. With 12+ years in startups, he's a design leader fostering high-performance teams. Sticky.app streamlines meetings, notes, and tasks for enhanced productivity.
Founder: Arman Nobari
Udemy Role: Senior Product Designer
Capital Raised: $1.9M
Good Trouble is an independent game studio based in California.
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