S-1/A 1 d65490ds1a.htm AMENDMENT NO. 1 TO FORM S-1 Amendment No. 1 to Form S-1
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As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 22, 2021.

Registration No. 333-253932

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

Amendment No. 1

to

Form S-1

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

Under

The Securities Act of 1933

 

 

COURSERA, INC.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

 

Delaware   7372   45-3560292

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(Primary Standard Industrial

Classification Code Number)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification Number)

381 E. Evelyn Ave.

Mountain View, California 94041

(650) 963-9884

(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of Registrant’s principal executive offices)

 

 

Jeffrey N. Maggioncalda

Chief Executive Officer

381 E. Evelyn Ave.

Mountain View, California 94041

(650) 963-9884

(Name, address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of agent for service)

 

 

Copies to:

 

Jorge del Calvo

Davina K. Kaile

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

2550 Hanover St

Palo Alto, California 94304

(650) 233-4500

 

Alan F. Denenberg

Stephen Salmon

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

1600 El Camino Real

Menlo Park, California 94025

(650) 752-2000

 

 

Approximate date of commencement of proposed sale to the public: As soon as practicable after this registration statement becomes effective.

If any of the securities being registered on this Form are to be offered on a delayed or continuous basis pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act, check the following box:  ☐

If this Form is filed to register additional securities for an offering pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act, please check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(c) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(d) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer      Accelerated filer  
Non-accelerated filer      Smaller reporting company  
     Emerging growth company  

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act.  ☐

 

 

CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE

 

 

Title of Securities

To Be Registered

 

Amount

To Be
Registered(1)

 

Proposed
Maximum
Offering Price Per
Share(2)

  Proposed
Maximum
Aggregate
Offering Price
  Amount of
Registration Fee(3)

Common Stock, par value $0.00001 per share

  18,089,500   $33.00   $ 596,953,500   $ 65,128

 

 

 

(1)

Includes 2,359,500 shares that the underwriters have the option to purchase.

(2)

Estimated solely for the purpose of calculating the registration fee in accordance with Rule 457(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

(3)

The Registrant previously paid a registration fee of $10,910 in connection with the initial filing of this Registration Statement.

 

 

The Registrant hereby amends this Registration Statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the Registrant shall file a further amendment which specifically states that this Registration Statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with the provisions of Section 8(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 or until the Registration Statement shall become effective on such date as the Commission, acting pursuant to said Section 8(a), may determine.

 

 

 


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The information in this preliminary prospectus is not complete and may be changed. We may not sell these securities until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This preliminary prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities, and is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities, in any jurisdiction where offers or sales are not permitted.

 

PRELIMINARY PROSPECTUS

(Subject to Completion, dated March 22, 2021)

15,730,000 Shares

 

 

LOGO

COMMON STOCK

 

 

This is the initial public offering of shares of common stock of Coursera, Inc. We are offering 14,664,776 shares of our common stock and the selling stockholders named in this prospectus are offering an additional 1,065,224 shares of our common stock. We will not receive any of the proceeds from the sale of our common stock by the selling stockholders. No public market currently exists for our shares. We anticipate that the initial public offering price will be between $30.00 and $33.00 per share.

 

 

We expect to apply to have our common stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “COUR”.

 

 

We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, and will be subject to reduced public company reporting requirements.

Investing in our common stock involves risks. See “Risk Factors” beginning on page 22 of this prospectus.

 

 

 

      

Price to
Public

      

Underwriting
Discounts
and
Commissions(1)

      

Proceeds to
Us(2)

      

Proceeds to
Selling
Stockholders(2)

 

Per share

       $                 $                 $                 $         

Total

       $                              $                              $                              $                      

 

(1)

See “Underwriters” for a description of the compensation payable to the underwriters.

(2)

Before expenses.

Baillie Gifford Overseas Ltd., acting on behalf of a number of its clients, and one or more funds affiliated with Capital Research Global Investors have indicated an interest, severally but not jointly, in purchasing an aggregate of up to $125 million in shares of our common stock in this offering at the initial public offering price. However, because indications of interest are not binding agreements or commitments to purchase, the underwriters may determine to sell more, fewer, or no shares in this offering to such potential investors, or either or both of these potential investors may determine to purchase more, fewer, or no shares in this offering. The underwriters will receive the same underwriting discount on any shares purchased by such potential investors as they will on any other shares sold to the public in this offering.

We have granted the underwriters the right, for a period of 30 days from the date of this prospectus, to purchase up to 2,359,500 additional shares of common stock from us at the initial public offering price less the underwriting discount.

Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or determined if this prospectus is truthful or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

The underwriters expect to deliver the shares of common stock to purchasers on or about                 , 2021.

 

 

 

MORGAN STANLEY    GOLDMAN SACHS & CO. LLC
CITIGROUP    UBS INVESTMENT BANK
KEYBANC CAPITAL MARKETS    RAYMOND JAMES    STIFEL    TRUIST SECURITIES    WILLIAM BLAIR
D.A. DAVIDSON & CO.    NEEDHAM & COMPANY
LOOP CAPITAL MARKETS    TELSEY ADVISORY GROUP

                    , 2021


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LOGO

WE BELIEVE
Learning is the source of human progress.
It has the power to transform our world from illness to health, from poverty to prosperity, from conflict to peace
It has the power to transform our lives for ourselves, for our families, for our communities.
No matter who we are or where we are, learning empowers us to change and grow and redefine what’s possible.
That’s why access to the best learning is a right, not a privilege.
And that’s why Coursera is here. We partner with the best institutions to bring the best learning to every corner of the world.
So that anyone, anywhere has the power to transform their life through learning.
coursera
Rami E., Lebanon, Courses Lochan K., Coursera Tpgether Paulina M., Ghana, Coursera for Campus OUR MISSION Universal access to world-class learning


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

In this prospectus, “Coursera,” “Coursera, Inc.,” the “Company,” “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to Coursera, Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries.

Neither we, the selling stockholders, nor the underwriters have authorized anyone to provide any information other than that, or to make any representations other than those, contained in this prospectus or in any free writing prospectuses we have prepared. Neither we, the selling stockholders, nor the underwriters take any responsibility for, and cannot provide any assurance as to the reliability of, any other information that others may give you. Neither we, the selling stockholders, nor the underwriters are offering to sell, or seeking offers to buy, shares of our common stock in any jurisdiction where these offers and sales are not permitted. The information in this prospectus or in any applicable free writing prospectus is accurate only as of the date of this prospectus, or such free writing prospectus, as applicable, regardless of the time of delivery of this prospectus or any such free writing prospectus or any sale of shares of our common stock. Our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects may have and are likely to have changed since that date.

Through and including                 , 2021 (the 25th day after the date of this prospectus), all dealers effecting transactions in our common stock, whether or not participating in this offering, may be required to deliver a prospectus. This delivery requirement is in addition to the obligation of dealers to deliver a prospectus when acting as underwriters and with respect to their unsold allotments or subscriptions.

For investors outside the United States: Neither we, the selling stockholders, nor the underwriters have done anything that would permit this offering or possession or distribution of this prospectus in any jurisdiction where action for that purpose is required, other than in the United States. Persons outside the United States who come into possession of this prospectus must inform themselves about, and observe any restrictions relating to, the offering of the shares of our common stock and the distribution of this prospectus outside of the United States.

 

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LOGO

PURPOSE STATEMENT We believe Learning is the source of human progress. It has the power to transform our world from illness to health, from poverty to prosperity, from conflict to peace It has the power to transform our lives for ourselves, for our families, for our communities. No matter who we are or where we are, learning empowers us to change and grow and redefine what’s possible. That’s why access to the best learning is a right, nopt a privilege. And that’s why Coursera is here. We partner with the best institutions to bring the best learning to every corner opf the world. So that anyone, anywhere has the power to transform their life through learning. coursera

 

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PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

This summary highlights information contained elsewhere in this prospectus and does not contain all of the information you should consider in making your investment decision. Before investing in our common stock, you should carefully read this entire prospectus, including our consolidated financial statements and related notes and the information set forth in “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

Overview

Our mission is to provide universal access to world-class learning so that anyone, anywhere has the power to transform their life through learning.

We believe that education is the source of human progress. In today’s economy in which the skills needed to succeed are rapidly evolving, education is becoming more important than ever. As automation and digital disruption are poised to replace unprecedented numbers of jobs worldwide, giving workers the opportunity to upskill and reskill will be crucial to raising global living standards and increasing social equity. Online education will play a critical role, enabling anyone, anywhere, to gain the valuable skills they need to earn a living in an increasingly digital economy.

We have built a global platform connecting learners, educators, and institutions, providing world-class educational content that is affordable, accessible, and relevant. We partner with over 200 leading educational institutions and industry partners to bring quality higher education to a broad range of individuals, academic institutions, organizations, and governments. We use the term organizations for Coursera for Business customers within our Enterprise segment. Our offerings range from Guided Projects to courses to fully online degrees, allowing learners to discover and access relevant and affordable content, consume it on a flexible schedule, and build upon their progress towards a broader program of study with a more advanced credential.

Our business has experienced rapid growth. As of December 31, 2020, more than 77 million learners had registered on our platform, and over 2,000 organizations, 4,000 academic institutions, and 300 government entities had used our platform to upskill and reskill their employees, students, and citizens. We generated revenue of $184.4 million and $293.5 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, respectively, representing a growth rate of 59%. Our net loss was $46.7 million and $66.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, respectively.



 

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Industry Background: The Need for a New Model of Lifelong Learning

The global economy is changing rapidly. According to our estimates based on data from the International Labour Organization (the “ILO”), the global workforce will grow by 230 million people by 2030. This is expected to happen at a time when up to half of today’s jobs, around 2 billion, are at high risk of disappearing by 2030 due to automation.

The current system of higher education faces inherent challenges. The predominantly classroom-based model may not be able to keep pace with the rapidly emerging skills required to succeed in today’s workforce. While serving certain learners well, the in-person experience may fail to meet the needs of learners in more remote areas and non-traditional learners who need access to education and upskilling the most, both domestically and internationally. Lastly, the cost of education has grown considerably. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, student loan debt in the United States was the second largest component of household debt at $1.55 trillion as of September 30, 2020, creating further headwinds for individuals navigating their careers and personal lives.

While technology will continue to disrupt jobs and labor markets, it can also be the source of significant benefits. Technology, when applied to learning, can reduce distribution costs, increase affordability, extend access to less wealthy geographical regions, adapt a workforce more quickly to emerging skills, and expand the overall market opportunity for education companies. The need for technological change in education has been exacerbated by the recent global pandemic. According to the United Nations, 1.6 billion students in 190 countries, approximately 94% of all students in the world, saw their schools at least temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic by August 2020.

We believe the future of education will be characterized by blended classrooms, job-relevant education, and lifelong learning, and that online learning will be the primary means of meeting the urgent global demand for emerging skills. According to an estimate by the World Bank, there were more than 200 million college students around the world as of October 2017, many of whom did not have necessary job-relevant skills. Online learning holds the promise to enable anyone, anywhere to learn new skills in preparation for high demand, digital jobs. The combined forces of online learning and remote work have the potential to increase global social equity by enabling a future where anyone, anywhere has access to both high-quality learning and high-quality job opportunities in an increasingly digital world.

Our Solution: A Platform for Delivering World-Class Learning at Scale

Coursera is a platform that connects a global ecosystem of learners, educators, and institutions with a goal of bringing world-class education to adult learners everywhere. We combine content, data, and technology into a single, unified platform that is customizable and extensible to both individual learners and institutions. Coursera partners with more than 200 leading university and industry partners to provide a flexible, affordable, and job-relevant online learning experience to meet the needs of an increasingly digital world.

Coursera serves the needs of a broad range of customers, including individuals, businesses, universities, and governments, all with a single, unified, scalable platform of technology, data, content, and know-how. Our platform contains:

 

   

A Catalog of High-Quality Content and Credentials. Coursera provides a broad range of learning offerings, including Guided Projects, courses, Specializations, certificates, and degrees. Coursera provides modular learning offerings to allow learners to gain the skills and credentials they need to reach their goals. Our model of learning is “stackable,” meaning incremental completion of standalone courses can count as progress towards a broader program of study for a more advanced credential.



 

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Content Developed by Leading University and Industry Partners. Coursera partners with over 200 leading university and industry partners to deliver a broad portfolio of content and credentials. As of December 31, 2020, more than 150 university partners offered more than 4,000 courses across a range of domains including Data Science, Technology, Business, Health, Social Sciences, and Arts and Humanities. In addition, as of December 31, 2020, more than 50 industry partners have offered more than 600 courses primarily in the domains of data science, technology, and business.

 

   

Data and Machine Learning Drive Personalized Learning, Effective Marketing, and Skills Benchmarking. Our proprietary machine learning systems are powered by rich learning data across more than 220 million enrollments and provide tailored support to learners and resources to scale instructors. Fully-automated features such as In-Course Coach provide personalized insights and tips to keep learners motivated and making progress. Additionally, Coursera’s Skills Graph is a system of machine learning models that links learning paths to job skills and helps benchmark learner skills against peers and competitors.

 

   

Technology Delivers a Personalized Learning Experience at Scale. Our unified technology platform enables learners to learn more quickly and effectively, educators to author and deliver high-quality content at low cost, and employers to help employees develop the right skills to be competitive in the marketplace.



 

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LOGO

77M REGISTERED LEARNERS AS OF 12/31/2020 Tristen A., U.S.A, Professional Certificate 6K+ BUSINESSES, UNIVERSITIES AND GOVERNMENTS SERVED IN 2020 150+ UNIVERSITY PARTNERS 50+ INDUSTRY PARTNERS AS OF 12/31/2020 Wafa’ B., Indonesia, Courses & Specialization Ehab B., Germany, Coursera for Regugees



 

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LOGO

Kara A., U.S.A, MBA Degree Jessica R., Mexico, Courses & Specialization Bharathan M., India, Courses 1,000+ GUIDED PROJECTS 4,600+ COURSES 500+ SPECIALZATIONS 40+ CERTIFICATES 25+ DEGREES AS OF 12/31/2020
AND GOVERNMENTS
SERVED IN 2020
150+
UNIVERSITY PARTNERS
50+
INDUSTRY PARTNERS
AS OF 12/31/2020
77M
LEARNERS
AS OF 12/31/2020
Wafa’B., Indonesia, Courses & Specialization

Kara A., U.S.A, MBA Degree
1,000+
GUIDED PROJECTS
4,600+
COURSES
500+
SPECIALIZATIONS
45+
CERTIFICATES
25+
DEGREES



 

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Our Offerings to Individuals and Institutions

 

   

Coursera for Individuals. Learners consume content from our diversified portfolio, which is designed to meet a wide variety of goals and preferences. The full Coursera catalog includes the following offerings*:

 

   

1,000+ Guided Projects: Gain a job-relevant skill in less than two hours for $9.99;

 

   

4,600+ Courses: Learn something new in 4-6 weeks for free, or for prices up to $99;

 

   

500+ Specializations: Gain a job-relevant skill in 3-6 months for $39-$99/month;

 

   

25+ Professional Certificates: Earn a certification of job readiness for an in-demand career in 3-9 months for $39-$99/month;

 

   

15+ MasterTrack Certificates: In 3-12 months, earn a university-issued certificate from a module of a university degree and credit that can be applied to that degree in the future for approximately $2,000-$6,000; and

 

   

25+ Degrees: Earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree fully online for approximately $9,000-$45,000.

 

  *  

As of December 31, 2020. Time periods noted are intended completion timeframes; actual time to completion varies by learner. Learners may also access certain courses, Specializations, and Professional Certificates through a Coursera Plus subscription.

 

   

Coursera for Enterprise. Coursera is available to institutions around the world, allowing businesses, academic institutions, and governments to enable their employees, students, and citizens to gain critical skills aligned to the job market of today and tomorrow. Institutions play a major role in tackling the global reskilling challenge by providing awareness, incentives, and financial support for lifelong learning. Coursera has designed a single, unified platform that allows us to configure a common set of content and features to meet the various needs of business, academic, and government customers.

 

   

Coursera for Business: helps employers upskill and reskill their teams to drive innovation, competitiveness, and growth. Our content in data science, technology, and business is especially relevant to employers;

 

   

Coursera for Campus: empowers academic institutions to offer job-relevant online education to students, faculty, and staff. Our content from leading universities and academic integrity features are especially relevant to colleges that allow students to earn credit towards their college degree by taking online courses; and

 

   

Coursera for Government: helps federal, state, and local governments deliver workforce reskilling programs to provide in-demand skills and paths to new jobs for an entire workforce. Our Professional Certificates and content from leading universities and industry partners are especially relevant to government officials seeking to prepare citizens for emerging jobs in their region and enhance the skills of public sector employees.



 

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LOGO

Coursera introduced me to the world of AI and now I can’t stay away! I’m a medicalk student exploring how AI can be used to solve healthcare delivery problems in West Africa. Paulina M. COURSES



 

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Coursera Social Impact Programs

Over the last four years, we have fostered an initiative to provide learning for tens of thousands of refugees in more than 140 countries. We also work with 69 nonprofit and community organizations to provide refugees, veterans, formerly incarcerated individuals, and students of underserved high schools with access to high-quality education and job-relevant credentials, at no cost to them. To date, our social impact programs have helped more than 72,000 learners across the globe, who have logged more than 390,000 course enrollments.

The COVID-19 pandemic sharply increased the need for online learning beginning in 2020. Both individuals and institutions relied on online learning to navigate change and disruption. We, along with our partners, launched several initiatives to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on communities worldwide including our Campus Response, Workforce Recovery, and Employee Resilience Initiatives, as well as a free Contact Tracing Course from John Hopkins University aimed towards public healthcare professionals.

LOGO

“i Study and learn because my country needs help. We need to encourage Syrian youth to participate in the peace-building process and fight for social justice. Ehab B. GERMANY COURSERA FOR REFUGEES



 

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Our Customers: How We Serve the World Through Learning

We offer a wide range of content and credentials from some of the world’s most recognizable educator brands. We help individuals learn and advance in their jobs and careers, and we serve companies, academic institutions, and governments to help them upskill and reskill their employees, students, and citizens. Our customers include:

 

   

Learners. Learners can come to Coursera to advance their careers, reach their educational goals, and enhance their lives. Learners are individuals who are or may be interested in learning, including those who have registered on our platform (“registered learners”). Registered learners include those who engage in a variety of activities, including opening an e-mail from us, browsing offerings on the platform, watching lectures, or enrolling in guided projects or courses. Not all registered learners are active at any given time or over any given period. As of December 31, 2020, more than 77 million learners had registered on Coursera to learn from more than 200 leading university and industry partners in thousands of offerings ranging from open courses to full diploma-bearing degrees. Coursera serves learners in their homes, through their employers, through their colleges and universities, and through government-sponsored programs.

 

   

Businesses. Employers can use Coursera for Business to help employees develop new skills in order to better acquire and serve customers, lower costs, reduce risk, and remain competitive in today’s economy. The launch of our Enterprise business in 2016 has enabled customers to choose Coursera to upskill their teams with critical skills in business, technology, data science, and other disciplines. As of December 31, 2020, over 2,000 organizations, including over 25% of Fortune 500 companies, were paying customers of Coursera for Business.

 

   

Colleges and Universities. Colleges and universities can use Coursera for Campus to deliver branded online learning at low cost in a new era of financial challenges for higher education and evolving student preferences for hybrid learning. Coursera for Campus enables universities to leverage our global online learning platform to provide job-relevant, credit-ready, high-quality learning at higher scale and lower cost than in-classroom learning alone. Accelerated by the pandemic, thousands of higher education institutions launched Coursera for Campus over the past year, making it one of our fastest growing offerings. As of December 31, 2020, over 130 colleges and universities were paying customers of Coursera for Campus.

 

   

Governments. Governments, facing unprecedented levels of unemployment, can use Coursera for Government to build a competitive workforce that drives sustainable economic growth by upskilling employees for public sector success and reskilling citizens for career advancement. As of December 31, 2020, over 100 government agencies and organizations were paying customers of Coursera for Government.

Our Competitive Strengths: The Power of Our Business Model

We believe that our competitive advantage is based on the following key strengths:

 

   

Our consumer flywheel creates a price-to-cost advantage: We believe our efficient learner acquisition model, powered by free, high-quality content, global partner brands, deep expertise in search engine optimization, strong word of mouth referrals, public relations, and a profitable affiliate paid marketing channel, enables us to attract learners to Coursera at scale. This acquisition model has allowed us to add over 12,000 new Degrees students over the two years ended December 31, 2020 at an average acquisition cost of under $2,000. We calculate our average acquisition cost for Degrees students by aggregating directly attributable marketing costs and dividing by the total number of new students.

 

   

Branded catalog of modular and stackable content and credentials: Our broad catalog and flexible technology platform provide many entry points for learners and allow us to give learners a path to achieving their goals, regardless of their starting place. This allows us to help learners find the right



 

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learning program based on their prior skills, credentials, and experience and provide pathways for them to accomplish their goals. We believe we are the only platform with the ability to blend industry credentials with traditional academic degree credentials at scale.

 

   

Network of leading academic and industry partners: Our large and global learner base attracts top-tier educator partners by allowing them to reach new audiences and create new revenue streams with relatively small up-front investments. As technology advances and new relevant skill sets emerge, our growing partner relationships enable us to be responsive in providing in-demand skills for aspiring and ascending professionals.

 

   

Job-relevant, hands-on projects, and industry certificates: In order to compete and keep pace with the rapidly changing skills landscape, learners need to be able to quickly identify and learn practical skills using job-relevant tools. For example, Coursera’s technology platform allows instructors to efficiently launch one to two hour Guided Projects that teach the latest in-demand skills to learners with a hands-on learning experience.

 

   

Multi-channel Enterprise model: With a single content catalog and a unified technology and data platform, we are able to distribute content and credentials to a global audience of more than 6,000 businesses, academic institutions, and governments. Our technology enables our educator partners to reach large, globally-distributed employee populations through the workplace and provide them with high-quality lifelong learning.

 

   

Rich data analytics and Skills Graph: Since all of our teaching and learning activities happen online, our platform is able to capture a significant amount of data across millions of enrollments related to teaching, learning, content, and outcomes. These data allow us to drive learner success through personalized learning, mapping skills to content and jobs through a system of machine learning models, and unlocking marketing efficiencies by automating and targeting communications with learners to generate engagement.

Our Opportunity: The Global Education Market is Large and Growing

As the pace of new knowledge and the demands of the global workforce continue to accelerate, the global adult education market is poised to grow dramatically. According to the education market intelligence firm HolonIQ, the global higher education market was $2.2 trillion in 2019; the global online degree market was $36 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow to $74 billion by 2025. The flexibility of online learning enables non-traditional learners to continue their education, which has allowed the online education industry to demonstrate acyclical growth characteristics.

Our Growth Strategy

We believe that we have a large, underpenetrated addressable opportunity ahead of us to enable the digital transformation of higher education and provide lifelong adult learning at scale. To advance our growth strategy, we intend to:

 

   

Continue to invest in growing our Enterprise channels. Coursera’s growth is driven in part by expansion into new logos as well as broader penetration of learners within our existing base of business, university, and government customers. We utilize a land-and-expand strategy with our Enterprise customers that focuses on acquiring new customers and efficiently growing our relationships with existing customers.

 

   

Drive adoption and conversion of freemium Enterprise offerings. During the pandemic, we opened up our platform across our Enterprise customer base through multiple initiatives, enabling over 4,000 institutions globally, including approximately 10% of all degree-granting institutions worldwide, to tap



 

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into ready-made, high-quality digital curricula from leading universities with minimal upfront costs through our Coursera for Campus offering. We plan to continue to focus on converting free institutions to paying Enterprise customers as we enable the digital transformation of higher education.

 

   

Expand the number of online degrees and the number of students in Degrees programs. We believe we have a substantial opportunity to increase the number of bachelor’s and master’s programs in new and existing academic disciplines within our current network of university partners. Over time, we also aim to naturally progress current open course university partners into Degrees partners. For existing Degrees program partners, we intend to continue to increase the size of student cohorts in existing Degrees programs and add new online Degrees programs from these partners.

 

   

Continue to grow our learner base and build our brand. We intend to continue to invest in increasing the number of registered learners on Coursera and increasing awareness of the Coursera brand. Our large learner base and brand creates a virtuous cycle, increasing our value to educator partners and providing incentive for them to author additional content and credentials. This broader catalog, in turn, enhances the appeal of Coursera to learners, thereby further growing our learner base.

 

   

Grow our content and credentials catalog and network of educator partners. We plan to continue to invest in growing our catalog of Guided Projects, courses, Specializations, certificates, and degrees across a broad range of topics and expanding our network of educator partners.

 

   

Improve conversion, upsell, and retention of paid Consumer learners. Our Consumer platform makes it easy for individuals to come to Coursera and learn, allowing for a natural progression of learners to go from free projects or courses to full online degrees. In 2020, over 50% of our cash receipts from Consumer offerings came from individual learners who were registered on our platform as of December 31, 2019 and approximately 50% of our new Degrees students were previously registered Coursera learners.

 

   

Continue global expansion. We see a particularly large opportunity to help emerging economies that lack the ability to absorb the large and growing influx of adult students by delivering education in a scalable and affordable way. We plan to continue to market our offerings and programs to individual learners, businesses, academic institutions, and governments globally.

Risk Factor Summary

Our business is subject to numerous risks, as more fully described in “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this prospectus. You should read these risks before you invest in our common stock. In particular, risks associated with our business include, among others, the following, any of which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, or prospects:

 

   

Fluctuations in our quarterly and annual revenue and operating results, which could cause our stock price to fluctuate and the value of your investment to decline;

 

   

Our rapid growth, which may not be indicative of our future growth, and our expected decline in revenue growth rate compared to prior years;

 

   

Our limited operating history, which makes it difficult to predict our future financial and operating results;

 

   

We have incurred significant net losses since inception, and anticipate that we will continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future;

 

   

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted, and may continue to impact, our business, key metrics, and results of operations in volatile and unpredictable ways;

 

   

The nascency of online learning solutions, the market adoption of which may not grow as we expect;



 

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Our ability to maintain and expand our partnerships with our university and industry partners;

 

   

Our ability to attract and retain learners;

 

   

Our ability to increase sales of our Enterprise offering;

 

   

Our ability to compete effectively;

 

   

Our partners’ ability to comply with international, federal, and state education laws and regulations, including applicable state authorizations for their programs;

 

   

Any failure to obtain, maintain, protect, and enforce our intellectual property and proprietary rights and successfully defend against claims of infringement, misappropriation, or other violations of third-party intellectual property;

 

   

Any changes to the validation or applicability of the DOE “dear colleague letter,” on which our business model relies;

 

   

Any disclosure of sensitive information about our partners, their employees, or our learners, whether due to cyber-attack or otherwise;

 

   

Any disruption or failure of our platform; and

 

   

Our status as a B Corp, which may negatively impact our financial performance.

Emerging Growth Company Status

We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the “JOBS Act”) enacted in April 2012. We intend to take advantage of certain exemptions under the JOBS Act from various public company reporting requirements, including not being required to have our internal control over financial reporting audited by our independent registered public accounting firm pursuant to Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended (the “Sarbanes-Oxley Act”), reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and any golden parachute payments not previously approved. In addition, we have in this prospectus taken and intend to continue to take advantage of certain reduced reporting obligations, including disclosing only two years of audited consolidated financial statements and only two years of related management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations. We may take advantage of these exemptions until the earlier of the last day of the fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of the completion of this offering or the date we cease to be an “emerging growth company,” which will be the earliest of (i) the last day of the fiscal year in which we have more than $1.7 billion in annual revenue; (ii) the date we qualify as a “large accelerated filer;” and (iii) the date on which we have, during the previous three-year period, issued more than $1 billion in non-convertible debt securities.

In addition, the JOBS Act provides that an “emerging growth company” can take advantage of an extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards. This provision allows an emerging growth company to delay the adoption of some accounting standards until those standards would otherwise apply to private companies. We have elected to use the extended transition period under the JOBS Act. Accordingly, our consolidated financial statements may not be comparable to the financial statements of public companies that comply with such new or revised accounting standards.

Public Benefit Corporation Status

To reinforce our long-term commitment to providing global access to affordable and flexible world-class learning, on February 1, 2021, we amended our certificate of incorporation to become a Delaware public benefit corporation. Public benefit corporations are a relatively new class of corporations that are intended to produce a public benefit and to operate in a responsible and sustainable manner. Under Delaware law, public benefit



 

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corporations are required to identify in their certificate of incorporation the public benefit or benefits they will promote, and their directors have a duty to manage the affairs of the corporation in a manner that balances the pecuniary interests of the stockholders, the best interests of those materially affected by the corporation’s conduct, and the specific public benefit identified in the public benefit corporation’s certificate of incorporation. See “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Existence as a Public Benefit Corporation” and “Description of Capital Stock—Public Benefit Corporation Status.” The public benefit stated in our certificate of incorporation is to provide global access to flexible and affordable high-quality education that supports personal development, career advancement, and economic opportunity.

Certified B Corporation Status

While not required by Delaware law or the terms of our certificate of incorporation, we have been designated as a Certified B CorporationTM (“B Corp”). The term “B Corp” does not refer to a particular form of legal entity, but instead refers to companies that are certified by B Lab, Inc. (“B Lab”), an independent nonprofit organization, for meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. See “Business—Certified B Corporation Status.”

Corporate Information

We were incorporated in Delaware on October 7, 2011 and we launched our platform in April 2012. Our principal executive offices are located at 381 E. Evelyn Ave. Mountain View, California 94041 and our telephone number is (650) 963-9884. Our corporate website address is www.coursera.org. Information contained on or accessible through our website is not part of this prospectus, and is not incorporated by reference herein, and should not be relied on in determining whether to make an investment decision. The inclusion of our website address in this prospectus is an inactive textual reference only.

We have obtained registered trademarks for Coursera, which marks are our property. This prospectus also contains references to trademarks belonging to other entities, which marks remain the property of such other entities. Solely for convenience, trademarks and trade names referred to in this prospectus, including logos, artwork and other visual displays, may appear without the ® or TM symbols, but such references are not intended to indicate, in any way, that we will not assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, our rights or the rights of the applicable licensor to these trademarks and trade names. We do not intend our use or display of other entities’ trade names or trademarks to imply a relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship of us by, any other entity.



 

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THE OFFERING

 

Common stock offered by us

14,664,776 shares

 

Common stock offered by the selling stockholders

1,065,224 shares

 

Underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares

2,359,500 shares

 

Common stock to be outstanding after this offering

130,271,466 shares (132,630,966 shares if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full)

 

Use of proceeds

We estimate that the net proceeds to us from this offering will be approximately $426.3 million (or $495.8 million if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full), based on an assumed initial public offering price of $31.50 per share (the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus), and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. We will not receive any proceeds from the sale of shares of common stock by the selling stockholders.

 

  We intend to use the net proceeds from this offering primarily for general corporate purposes, including working capital, sales and marketing activities, research and development, general and administrative matters, and capital expenditures, although we do not currently have any specific plans with respect to use of proceeds for such purposes. We also may use a portion of the net proceeds to acquire complementary businesses, offerings, services, or technologies. However, we do not have agreements, commitments, or plans for any specific acquisitions. See “Use of Proceeds.”

 

Indications of interest

Baillie Gifford Overseas Ltd., acting on behalf of a number of its clients, and one or more funds affiliated with Capital Research Global Investors have indicated an interest in purchasing, severally but not jointly, an aggregate of up to $125 million in shares of our common stock in this offering at the initial public offering price. However, because indications of interest are not binding agreements or commitments to purchase, the underwriters may determine to sell more, fewer, or no shares in this offering to such potential investors, or either or both of these potential investors may determine to purchase more, fewer, or no shares in this offering. The underwriters will receive the same underwriting discount on any shares purchased by such potential investors as they will on any other shares sold to the public in this offering.

 

Risk factors

You should read “Risk Factors” and the other information included in this prospectus for a discussion of certain of the factors to consider carefully before deciding to purchase any shares of our common stock.

 

Proposed trading symbol on the NYSE

“COUR”


 

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The number of shares of our common stock to be outstanding after this offering is based on 115,606,690 shares of common stock outstanding as of December 31, 2020, and excludes:

 

   

32,458,408 shares of our common stock issuable upon the exercise of stock options outstanding as of December 31, 2020 granted under our Stock Incentive Plan (the “Non-Executive Plan”) and our 2014 Executive Stock Incentive Plan (the “Executive Stock Plan” and collectively with the Non-Executive Plan, the “Predecessor Stock Incentive Plans”), at a weighted-average exercise price of $4.60 per share;

 

   

3,276,600 shares of our common stock subject to restricted stock units (“RSUs”) outstanding as of December 31, 2020 granted under the Predecessor Stock Incentive Plans;

 

   

8,098,484 shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under the Predecessor Stock Incentive Plans as of December 31, 2020, which shares (to the extent not subject to outstanding equity awards prior to the date the registration statement for this offering is declared effective) will no longer be available for future issuance upon completion of this offering;

 

   

15,400,000 shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 Stock Incentive Plan (the “2021 Plan”), which will become effective on the date the registration statement for this offering is declared effective, as well as any automatic increases in the number of shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under the 2021 Plan, and any shares subject to outstanding awards under the Predecessor Stock Incentive Plans after the effective date of the 2021 Plan that are subsequently (i) forfeited or terminated, (ii) not issued because such award is settled in cash, or (iii) withheld or reacquired to satisfy the applicable exercise, strike, or purchase price, or a tax withholding obligation, all of which shares shall become available for issuance under the 2021 Plan; and

 

   

2,800,000 shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under the 2021 Employee Stock Purchase Plan (the “ESPP”), which will become effective on the date the registration statement for this offering is declared effective, as well as any automatic increases in the number of shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under the ESPP.

Unless otherwise indicated, all information contained in this prospectus assumes or gives effect to:

 

   

the automatic conversion of all of our redeemable convertible preferred stock outstanding as of December 31, 2020 into an aggregate of 75,305,400 shares of our common stock immediately prior to the closing of this offering;

 

   

the filing and effectiveness of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and the adoption of our amended and restated bylaws immediately prior to the completion of this offering; and

 

   

no exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase up to 2,359,500 additional shares of our common stock.



 

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SUMMARY CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA

The summary consolidated statements of operations data presented below for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020 and the summary consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2020 are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. The following summary consolidated financial data should be read together with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our audited consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus. The summary consolidated financial data in this section are not intended to replace our audited consolidated financial statements and related notes and are qualified in their entirety thereby. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected for any period in the future.

Consolidated Statements of Operations Data

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019     2020  
     (in thousands, except share and
per share data)
 

Revenue

   $ 184,411     $ 293,511  

Cost of revenue(1)

     89,589       138,846  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Gross profit

     94,822       154,665  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating expenses:

    

Research and development(1)

     56,364       76,784  

Sales and marketing(1)

     57,042       107,249  

General and administrative(1)

     29,810       37,215  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

     143,216       221,248  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Loss from operations

     (48,394     (66,583

Other income (expense):

    

Interest income

     3,282       1,175  

Interest expense

     (625     (12

Other income (expense), net

     (264     120  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 
Loss before income taxes      (46,001     (65,300
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income tax expense

     718       1,515  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss

   $ (46,719   $ (66,815
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss per share attributable to common stockholders, basic and diluted(2)

   $ (1.45   $ (1.80
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Weighted-average shares used to compute net loss per share attributable to common stockholders, basic and diluted(2)

     32,276,258       37,207,492  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Pro forma net loss per share attributable to common stockholders, basic and diluted (unaudited)(2)

     $ (0.62
    

 

 

 

Weighted-average shares used to compute pro forma net loss per share attributable to common stockholders, basic and diluted (unaudited)(2)

       108,503,105  
    

 

 

 


 

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(1)

Stock-based compensation expense included in the consolidated statements of operations data above was as follows:

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
         2019              2020      
     (in thousands)  

Cost of revenue

   $ 491      $ 516  

Research and development

     7,038        6,960  

Sales and marketing

     3,189        4,097  

General and administrative

     5,599        5,234  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

   $ 16,317      $ 16,807  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

(2)

See Note 2 and Note 10 to our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus for an explanation of the calculations of our net loss per share attributable to common stockholders, basic and diluted, pro forma net loss per share attributable to common stockholders, basic and diluted, and the weighted-average shares used to compute these amounts.

Consolidated Balance Sheet Data

 

     As of December 31, 2020  
     Actual     Pro
Forma(1)
    Pro Forma
as
Adjusted(2)(3)
 
     (in thousands)  

Cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities

   $ 285,280     $ 285,280     $ 711,626  

Total assets

   $ 417,624     $ 417,624     $ 842,641  

Working capital(4)

   $ 201,427     $ 201,427     $ 627,741  

Redeemable convertible preferred stock

   $ 462,293     $ —       $ —    

Additional paid-in capital

   $ 126,408     $ 588,700     $ 1,015,014  

Accumulated deficit

   $ (343,551   $ (343,551   $ (343,551

Total stockholders’ (deficit) equity

   $ (221,824   $ 240,469     $ 666,783  

 

(1)

The pro forma column gives effect to (a) the automatic conversion of all of our outstanding redeemable convertible preferred stock into 75,305,400 shares of our common stock immediately prior to the closing of this offering and (b) the filing and effectiveness of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation upon the closing of this offering.

(2)

The pro forma as adjusted column gives effect to the pro forma adjustments described in footnote (1) above and gives further effect to the sale of 14,664,776 shares of common stock by us in this offering at an assumed initial public offering price of $31.50 per share (the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus), after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. The pro forma as adjusted information set forth in the table above is illustrative only and will be adjusted based on the actual initial public offering price and other terms of this offering determined at pricing.

(3)

Each $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $31.50 per share would increase (decrease) each of cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities, working capital, total assets, and total stockholders’ deficit on a pro forma as adjusted basis by approximately $13.7 million, assuming that the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same, and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. Similarly, each 1.0 million increase (decrease) in the number of shares offered by us as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus would increase (decrease) each of our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities, working capital, total assets, and total stockholders’ deficit on a pro forma as adjusted basis by approximately $29.5 million, assuming no change in the assumed initial public offering price per share and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

(4)

Working capital is defined as current assets less current liabilities.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

We have included Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA Margin, and Free Cash Flow, which are non-GAAP financial measures, in this prospectus because they are key measures used by our management to help us analyze our financial results, establish budgets and operational goals for managing our business, evaluate our performance, and make strategic decisions. Accordingly, we believe that these non-GAAP financial measures



 

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provide useful information to investors and others in understanding and evaluating our operating results in the same manner as our management and board of directors. In addition, we believe these measures are useful for period-to-period comparisons of our business. We also believe that the presentation of these non-GAAP financial measures in this prospectus provides an additional tool for investors to use in comparing our core business and results of operations over multiple periods with other companies in our industry, many of which present similar non-GAAP financial measures to investors, and to analyze our cash performance. However, the non-GAAP financial measures presented in this prospectus may not be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies due to differences in the way that these measures are calculated.

Limitations of Non-GAAP Measures

These non-GAAP financial measures are not prepared in accordance with GAAP, are supplemental in nature, and are not intended, and should not be construed, as the sole measure of our performance, and should not be considered in isolation from or as a substitute for comparable financial measures prepared in accordance with GAAP. There are a number of limitations related to Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA Margin, and Free Cash Flow, including the following:

 

   

Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin exclude certain recurring, non-cash charges, such as depreciation of property and equipment and/or amortization of intangible assets. While these are non-cash charges, we may need to replace the assets being depreciated and amortized in the future and Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin do not reflect cash requirements for these replacements or new capital expenditure requirements.

 

   

Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin do not reflect interest income, net, which consists of interest income earned on our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities and amortization of premiums and accretion of discounts related to our marketable securities, offset by interest expense.

 

   

Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin exclude stock-based compensation and payroll tax expense related to stock-based activities, which have been significant recurring expenses and will continue to constitute significant recurring expenses for the foreseeable future, as equity awards are expected to continue to be an important component of our compensation strategy.

 

   

Free Cash Flow does not reflect our future contractual commitments, and it does not represent the total increase or decrease in our cash balance for a given period.

Because of these limitations, you should consider Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA Margin, and Free Cash Flow alongside other financial performance measures, including gross margin, net loss, and our other GAAP results.

Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin

We define Adjusted EBITDA as our net loss excluding: (1) depreciation and amortization; (2) interest income, net; (3) stock-based compensation; (4) income tax expense; and (5) payroll tax expense related to stock-based activities. We define Adjusted EBITDA Margin as Adjusted EBITDA divided by revenue.



 

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The following table provides a reconciliation of net loss, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure, to Adjusted EBITDA.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
         2017             2018             2019             2020      
     (in thousands)  

Net loss

   $  (53,270   $  (43,601   $  (46,719   $ (66,815

Depreciation and amortization

     4,923       5,543       5,282       9,585  

Interest income, net

     (483     (1,299     (2,657     (1,163

Stock-based compensation

     11,069       17,685       16,317       16,807  

Income tax expense

     —         537       718       1,515  

Payroll tax expense related to stock-based activities

     202       147       130       258  

Adjusted EBITDA

   $ (37,559   $ (20,988   $ (26,929   $ (39,813

The following table provides a reconciliation of net loss margin, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure, to Adjusted EBITDA Margin.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2017     2018     2019     2020  
     (in thousands, except percentage)  

Revenue

   $ 95,630     $ 141,772     $ 184,411     $ 293,511  

Net loss

   $  (53,270   $ (43,601   $ (46,719   $ (66,815

GAAP net loss margin

     (56 )%      (31 )%      (25 )%      (23 )% 

Revenue

   $ 95,630     $ 141,772     $ 184,411     $ 293,511  

Adjusted EBITDA

   $ (37,559   $ (20,988   $ (26,929   $ (39,813

Adjusted EBITDA Margin

     (39 )%      (15 )%      (15 )%      (14 )% 

Free Cash Flow

Free Cash Flow is a non-GAAP financial measure that we calculate as net cash (used in) provided by operating activities, less cash used for purchases of property, equipment, and software, and capitalized internal-use software costs. We exclude purchases of property, equipment and software, and capitalized internal-use software costs as we consider these capital expenditures to be a necessary component of our ongoing operations. We consider Free Cash Flow to be a liquidity measure that provides useful information to management and investors in understanding and evaluating our liquidity and future ability to generate cash that can be used for strategic opportunities, including investing in our business and strengthening our balance sheet, but it is not intended to represent the residual cash flow available for discretionary expenditures.

The following table provides a reconciliation of cash flow (used in) provided by operating activities, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure, to Free Cash Flow.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2017     2018     2019     2020  
     (in thousands)  

Net cash (used in) provided by operating activities

   $ (29,694   $ 456     $ (21,334   $ (14,991

Less: Purchases of property, equipment, and software

     (785     (2,097     (4,410     (3,099

Less: Capitalized internal-use software costs

     (3,151     (4,578     (5,522     (8,819
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Free Cash Flow

   $ (33,630   $ (6,219   $ (31,266   $ (26,909
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net cash used in investing activities

   $ (23,802   $  (11,893   $ (64,886   $ (101,442
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net cash provided by financing activities

   $   71,084     $   9,538     $ 113,381     $ 139,014  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 


 

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Key Business Metrics

We monitor the key business metrics set forth below to help us evaluate our business and growth trends, establish budgets, measure the effectiveness of our sales and marketing efforts, and assess operational efficiencies. The calculation of the key metrics discussed below may differ from other similarly titled metrics used by other companies, securities analysts, or investors.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
         2017              2018              2019              2020      
     (in millions)  

Total Registered Learners

     30.1        37.3        46.4        76.6  

 

     2019      2020  
     Q1      Q2      Q3      Q4      Q1      Q2      Q3      Q4  

Number of Degrees Students

     2,762        4,255        5,986        6,217        7,184        8,079        11,504        11,900  

 

     As of December 31,  
     2019      2020  

Paid Enterprise Customers

     240        387  

 

     As of December 31,  
     2019     2020  

Net Retention Rate

     106     114

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2017      2018      2019      2020  
     (in thousands)  

Consumer Segment Revenue

   $ 85,667      $ 107,554      $ 121,011      $ 192,909  

Enterprise Segment Revenue

   $ 7,422      $ 26,812      $ 48,262      $ 70,784  

Degrees Segment Revenue

   $ 2,541      $ 7,406      $ 15,138      $ 29,818  

Consumer Segment Gross Profit

   $ 43,076      $ 57,607      $ 64,645      $ 106,509  

Enterprise Segment Gross Profit

   $ 4,717      $ 19,011      $ 34,184      $ 48,972  

Degrees Segment Gross Profit

   $ 2,541      $ 7,406      $ 15,138      $ 29,818  

See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Key Business Metrics and Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for a description of registered learners, number of Degrees students, Paid Enterprise Customers, Net Retention Rate, Segment Revenue and Segment Gross Profit.



 

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RISK FACTORS

Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all of the other information in this prospectus, including our audited consolidated financial statements and related notes and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” before investing in our common stock. If any of the following risks are realized, in whole or in part, our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects could be materially and adversely affected. In that event, the price of our common stock could decline, and you could lose part or all of your investment. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial also may impair our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

Our quarterly and annual revenue and operating results have fluctuated from period to period and may do so in the future, which could cause our stock price to fluctuate and the value of your investment to decline.

Our quarterly and annual revenue and operating results have historically fluctuated from period to period, and our future operating results may vary significantly from quarter to quarter due to a variety of factors, many of which are beyond our control. You should not rely on period-to-period comparisons of our operating results as an indication of our future performance. Factors that may cause fluctuations in our quarterly operating results include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

   

our ability to maintain existing customers and attract new customers, including businesses, governments, and educational institutions who subscribe to our Enterprise platform, as well as learners who access the content and credentialing programs available on our platform;

 

   

our ability to continue to offer compelling content and degrees or other credentialing programs created by our industry and university partners;

 

   

changes in, or trends affecting, subscriptions to our Enterprise platform from businesses, governments, and educational institutions;

 

   

changes in, or trends affecting, learner enrollment and retention levels, including with respect to learners electing to access our paid offerings;

 

   

our ability to increase and manage the growth of our international operations, including our international customer base, and our ability to manage the risks associated therewith;

 

   

the timing of our costs incurred in connection with the launch of new course content and offerings and new certification, degree, or other credentialing programs, and the timing and amount of revenue we generate from new offerings and programs;

 

   

trends and factors impacting the demand for, and acceptance of, online learning and credentialing programs, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and the prices consumers and businesses are willing to pay for such programs;

 

   

changes in, or trends affecting, the mix of partners, including educational institutions, offering open online courses only and those offering certification, degree, or other credentialing programs;

 

   

changes in the rate, volume, and demand for new content and credentialing programs created and offered by our partners on our platform;

 

   

changes in the terms of our existing partnership agreements;

 

   

the timing and terms of any new partnership agreements;

 

   

the timing and amount of our sales and marketing expenses;

 

   

costs necessary to improve and maintain our platform;

 

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changes in our key metrics or the methods used to calculate our key metrics;

 

   

seasonality, including seasonal engagement patterns of learners and Enterprise customers, which may vary from quarter to quarter or year to year;

 

   

changes in laws, regulations or accounting principles that impact our business; and

 

   

general political, economic, or market conditions and events affecting any of the above, including the outcome of political elections and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These and other factors may cause our revenue and operating results to fall below the expectations of market analysts and investors in future periods, which could cause the market price of our common stock to decline substantially. Any decline in the market price of our common would cause the value of your investment to decline.

Our recent, rapid growth may not be indicative of our future growth and we expect our revenue growth rate to decline compared to prior years.

We have experienced rapid revenue growth in recent periods, with revenue of $184.4 million and $293.5 million in 2019 and 2020, respectively. You should not rely on our revenue for any previous quarterly or annual period as any indication of our revenue or revenue growth in future periods. As we grow our business, we expect our revenue growth rates to decline compared to prior years for a number of reasons, which may include more challenging comparisons to prior periods as our revenue grows, slowing demand for our platform, increasing competition, a decrease in the growth of our overall market or market saturation, and our failure to capitalize on growth opportunities. In addition, our growth rates are likely to experience increased volatility, and may decline, as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves and societal and economic circumstances shift.

We have a limited operating history, which makes it difficult to predict our future financial and operating results.

We were founded in 2011; introduced our first open online course in 2012, our first certificates of completion in 2013, our first Specialization in 2014, our Enterprise platform for businesses in 2016, and our first MasterTrack certification in 2018; enrolled the first students in the Degrees programs offered through our platform in 2016; and introduced Guided Projects in 2019 and Coursera for Campus, our Enterprise platform offering for educational institutions, in late 2019. As a result of our limited operating history, our ability to estimate our future operating results is limited and subject to a number of uncertainties, including those discussed in this “Risk Factors” section and elsewhere in this prospectus. If we do not manage these risks successfully, our operating and financial results may differ materially from our expectations and our business and stock price may suffer.

We have incurred significant net losses since inception, and anticipate that we will continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future.

We incurred net losses of $46.7 million and $66.8 million in 2019 and 2020, respectively, and we had an accumulated deficit of $343.6 million as of December 31, 2020. We expect to incur significant losses in the future. We will need to generate and sustain increased revenue levels in future periods to achieve profitability, and even if we achieve profitability, we may not be able to maintain or increase our level of profitability. We anticipate that our operating expenses will increase substantially for the foreseeable future as we continue to, among other things:

 

   

expand our course offerings and the robustness of our platform;

 

   

expand our learner base and our sales and marketing efforts;

 

   

improve and scale our technology;

 

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address increased competition; and

 

   

incur significant accounting, legal, and other expenses as a public company that we did not incur as a private company.

These expenditures will make it more difficult for us to achieve and maintain profitability. Our efforts to grow our business may be more costly than we expect, and we may not be able to increase our revenue enough to offset our higher operating expenses. If we are forced to reduce our expenses, it could negatively impact our growth and growth strategy. As a result, we can provide no assurance as to whether or when we will achieve profitability. If we are not able to achieve and maintain profitability, the value of our company and our common stock could decline significantly, and you could lose some or all of your investment.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted, and may continue to impact, our business, key metrics, and results of operations in volatile and unpredictable ways.

The uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and worldwide will likely continue to adversely impact the national and global economy. The full extent of the impact of the pandemic on our business, key metrics, and results of operations depends on future developments that are uncertain and unpredictable, including the duration, severity, and spread of the pandemic, its impact on capital and financial markets, and any new information that may emerge concerning the virus or vaccines or other efforts to control the virus.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have transitioned to an almost fully remote work environment and we may continue to operate on a significantly remote and geographically (including internationally) dispersed basis for the foreseeable future. This remote and dispersed work environment could have a negative impact on the execution of our business plans and operations. For example, if a natural disaster, power outage, connectivity issue, or other event occurred that impacted our employees’ ability to work remotely, it may be difficult or, in certain cases, impossible, for us to continue our business for a substantial period of time. Further, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we may experience disruptions if our employees or our partners’ or third-party service providers’ employees become ill and are unable to perform their duties, and our operations, Internet, or mobile networks, or the operations of one or more of our third-party service providers, is impacted. The increase in remote working may also result in consumer privacy, IT security, and fraud vulnerabilities, which, if exploited, could result in significant recovery costs and harm to our reputation. Transitioning to a fully or predominantly remote work environment and providing and maintaining the operational and infrastructure necessary to support a remote work environment also present significant challenges to maintaining our corporate culture, including employee engagement and productivity, both during the immediate pandemic crisis and beyond.

We have also seen significant and rapid shifts in the traditional models of education and training as this pandemic has evolved. Although we believe our business has also been positively impacted to some extent by several trends related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the increased need or willingness of businesses, governments, and educational institutions to adopt remote, online, and asynchronous learning and training, we cannot predict whether these trends will continue if and when the pandemic begins to subside, restrictions ease, and the risk and barriers associated with in-person learning and training decrease. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic may negatively impact the financial resources available to learners or the operating budgets of our partners or customers, any of which could in turn negatively impact our business and operating results.

Market adoption of online learning solutions is relatively new and may not grow as we expect, which may harm our business and results of operation.

Our future success will depend in part on the growth, if any, in the demand for online learning solutions. While the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the market for online learning solutions, it is still less mature than the market for in-person learning and training, which many businesses currently utilize, and these businesses

 

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may be slow or unwilling to migrate from these legacy approaches. As such, it is difficult to predict learner or partner demand for our platform, learner or partner adoption and renewal, the rate at which existing learners and partners expand their engagement with our platform, the size and growth rate of the market for our platform, the entry of competitive offerings into the market, or the success of existing competitive offerings. Furthermore, even if educators and enterprises want to adopt an online learning solution, it may take them a substantial amount of time to fully transition to this type of learning solution or they could be delayed due to budget constraints, weakening economic conditions, or other factors. Even if market demand for online learning solutions generally increases, we cannot assure you that adoption of our platform will also increase. If the market for online learning solutions does not grow as we expect or our platform does not achieve widespread adoption, it could result in reduced customer spending, learner and partner attrition, and decreased revenue, any of which would adversely affect our business and results of operations.

We may need to change the contract terms, including our pricing model, for the course content and credentialing programs offered on our platform, which in turn would impact our operating results.

We have limited experience with respect to determining the optimal prices and contract length for the course content and certification, degree, and other credentialing programs offered on our platform, and as a result, we have in the past, and expect that we may in the future, need to change our pricing model or target contract length from time to time, which could impact our financial results. For example, in February 2020, we launched Coursera Plus, an annual subscription plan with unlimited access to a variety of our courses, Specializations, and professional certificates, at a fixed annual cost, and we may need to adjust our pricing model as we gain experience with this new offering. As the market for our learning platform grows (if ever), as new competitors introduce competitive applications or services, or as we enter into new international markets, we may be unable to attract new customers at the same price or based on the same pricing models we have historically used, or for contract lengths consistent with our historical averages. Pricing and contract length decisions may also impact the mix of adoption among our offerings and negatively impact our overall revenue. Moreover, competition may require us to make substantial price concessions or accept shorter contract durations. Our revenue and financial position may be adversely affected by any of the foregoing, and we may have increased difficulty achieving profitability.

If we fail to maintain and expand our partnerships with university and industry partners, our ability to grow our business and revenue will suffer.

The success of our business depends in large part on the continued and increased development and volume of compelling course content and credentialing programs by our university and industry partners, which we also refer to as our educator partners. We may face several challenges in establishing and expanding these relationships. For instance, our university and industry partners who use our platform are required to invest significant time and resources to adjust the manner in which they develop course content and degree programs for an online learning environment. The delivery of degree programs online at educational institutions has not yet achieved widespread acceptance, and many administrators and faculty members may have concerns regarding the perceived loss of control over the educational process that might result from offering courses and degrees online and the effectiveness of asynchronous learning, as well as concerns regarding the ability to provide high-quality education online that maintains the standards they set for their on-campus programs. There can be no assurance that online programs, such as those offered on our platform, will ever achieve significant market acceptance, and universities and organizations may therefore decline to engage with our platform. Further, if we were to lose a significant number of university and industry partners, our growth and revenue would be negatively impacted.

If we are required to change the contract terms with our educator partners, including with respect to pricing or contract length, it could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

We work with our educator partners to deliver a broad portfolio of content and credentials on our platform. For our Consumer and Enterprise offerings, we incur content costs in the form of fees paid to educator partners.

 

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In addition, our Degrees services revenue is based on a percentage of the total tuition collected from Degrees students by the university partner. As a result, our revenue, gross profit, and operating results generally could be significantly and negatively impacted if we are required to renegotiate or change the terms of our agreements with these partners. For example, if a significant number of university partners, or university partners whose courses or credentialing programs account for a significant volume of learner enrollment on our platform, were to seek to renegotiate the content fees payable by us or the percentage of tuition payable to us, it could have a material impact on our business and operating results. Further, we may be required to change the terms of these agreements, including the pricing terms or contract length, due to competitive, regulatory, or other reasons. Any significant change in our pricing or other contract terms with these partners could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Our financial performance depends heavily on our ability to attract and retain learners, and if we fail to do so, our business and operating results will suffer.

Building awareness and acceptance of the online course content and certification, degree, and other credentialing programs offered on our platform among learners is critical to our ability to attract prospective learners and generate revenue. We must also continue to successfully work with our partners to develop new and compelling course content as well as additional certification, degree, and other credentialing programs to maintain the relevancy of content and keep learners interested and engaged. A significant portion of our expenses is attributable to marketing efforts dedicated to attracting potential learners to our platform. Because we generate revenue based on fees from, or as a result of, learners enrolled in the online courses and certification, degree, and other credentialing programs offered on our platform, we must attract learners in a cost-effective manner and increase the rate at which learners enroll in and complete the courses and credentialing programs offered by our partners. We also must retain learners and convert learners from our freemium model to paying customers, which depends in part on our ability to offer engaging and frequently updated content as well as quality customer support and service. The following factors, many of which are largely outside of our control, may prevent us from increasing and maintaining learner enrollment in the online courses and credentialing programs offered on our platform in a cost-effective manner or at all:

 

   

Negative perceptions about online learning. Online education programs may not be successful or operate efficiently, which in turn could create the perception that online education in general is not effective. Learners may also be reluctant to enroll in online programs due to concerns that the learning experience may be substandard, that employers may be hesitant to hire learners who received their education or credentials online, or that organizations granting professional licenses or certifications may be reluctant to grant them based on credentials, including degrees, earned through online education or training.

 

   

Reduced support from partners. If partners cease to offer new and compelling course content or certification, degree, or other credentialing programs or limit our ability to promote their courses or programs, learners may reduce or terminate their use of our platform.

 

   

Harm to partner reputation. Many factors affecting our partners’ reputations are beyond our control and can change over time, including their academic performance and ranking among educational institutions, including with respect to a specific degree, certification, or other credentialing program.

 

   

Lack of interest in the certifications, degrees, or other credentials offered on our platform. We may encounter difficulties attracting learners to enroll in certification, degree, or other credentialing programs that are not in demand due to shifting employer or societal preferences and priorities or that are in emerging or unproven fields.

 

   

Learner dissatisfaction. Learner dissatisfaction with the quality of the course content and presentation or the course presenters, changing views of the value of our partners’ programs and certification, degree, or other credentialing programs offered, and perceptions of employment prospects following completion of a program on our platform may negatively impact learner retention.

 

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Ineffective marketing efforts. Our marketing efforts, which use search engine optimization, paid search, and custom website development and deployment, may prove unsuccessful or cost inefficient.

 

   

Lack of financial resources for learners. Any developments that reduce the availability of financial aid for higher education generally or that reduce the disposable income available to potential learners (including macro-economic developments such as continued or worsening recession or unemployment or the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic) could impair learners’ abilities to meet their financial obligations, which in turn could result in reduced enrollment and harm our ability to generate revenue.

 

   

General economic conditions. Enrollment in the courses and certification, degree, and other credentialing programs offered on our platform may be affected by changes in the U.S. economy and by global economic conditions. For example, an improvement in economic conditions may reduce demand for higher educational services as potential learners may find adequate employment without additional education. Conversely, a decline in employment opportunities or economic conditions may reduce employers’ willingness to sponsor higher educational opportunities for employees given a lack of employer need for enhanced skill sets or an inability to fund such programs, and could discourage learners from pursuing higher education due to an inability to afford our programs or a perception that the financial investment may not result in increased earning potential or improved employment opportunities.

Any of these factors could reduce enrollment and retention and could cause our costs associated with attracting and retaining learners to increase, which could materially harm our ability to increase our revenue or achieve profitability. These developments could also harm our reputation and make it more difficult for us to engage our partners for new course content or other offerings, which in turn may negatively impact our ability to expand our business and improve our financial performance.

If our learners do not expand beyond our freemium offerings and free trials available on our platform, our ability to grow our business and improve our results of operations may be adversely affected.

Many of our learners initially use the freemium version of our platform or free trials available on our platform, and many of our Enterprise customers engage with our platform only for a specific use case. Specifically, in March 2020, as part of our COVID-19 initiative, we began offering free unlimited access to Coursera for Campus to students and faculty at campuses around the world. Our ability to grow our business depends in part on our ability to persuade learners and other customers to expand their use of our platform to address additional use cases and to convert free subscriptions to paid subscriptions over time.

Further, to continue to grow our business, it is important that our customers renew their subscriptions when existing contracts expire and that we expand our relationships with our existing customers. Our customers have no obligation to renew their subscriptions, and our customers may decide not to renew their subscriptions with a similar contract period, at the same prices and terms, with the same or a greater number of learners, or at all.

If we pursue unsuccessful partner opportunities, we may forego more profitable opportunities and our operating results and growth would be harmed.

The process of identifying course content and certification, degree, and other credentialing programs that we believe will be a good fit for our platform and negotiating agreements with potential partners is complex and time-consuming. Because of the initial reluctance on the part of some educational institutions, businesses, and other organizations to embrace online delivery of education, training, and credentialing programs and the complicated approval process within some of these entities, our process to attract and engage a new partner can be lengthy. In addition, we may face resistance from university administrators or faculty members.

Developing and launching a new course offering or new certification, degree, or other credentialing program can take up to 500 hours and up to a year or more. We may spend substantial effort and management resources on securing a new partnership or working with our existing and new partners to develop and launch new course content

 

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and new degree, certification, or other credentialing programs without any assurance that our efforts will result in the successful launch of a new offering or the generation of revenue. If we invest substantial resources pursuing opportunities which do not attract sufficient interest from learners, we may forego other more successful content and program development efforts, and our operating results, revenue and growth would be harmed.

We must incur significant expense in technology and content development to launch a new offering or program, and we may not generate sufficient revenue from a new offering to offset our costs.

Our platform enables our partners to offer learners the opportunity to enroll in live, or synchronous, courses and programs and pre-produced, or asynchronous, educational content that can be accessed at any time. To launch a new course offering or new certification, degree, or other credentialing program, whether synchronous or asynchronous, we must integrate our platform with the various learner information and other operating systems our partners use to manage functions within their institutions. In addition, our content development team must work closely with that partner’s faculty members or staff to produce engaging online course content, and we must commence learner acquisition activities. During the term of our agreement with the partner, we are responsible for the costs associated with maintaining our technology platform and providing non-academic and other support for learners enrolled in the program. We invest significant resources in these new programs from the beginning of our relationship with a partner, including marketing and other learner acquisition costs to attract and fulfill enrollment cohorts for a program, and there is no guarantee that we will ever recoup these costs. In addition, delays in the implementation of a new program, including Specialization or Degrees programs, could negatively impact our revenue and operating results.

Because we receive fees from learners enrolling in, and, in some cases, completing, courses and certification, degree, or other credentialing programs on our platform, we only begin to recover these costs once learners are enrolled and begin paying fees. In addition, in some cases, learners may audit a course or courses toward a certification free of charge and elect not to pay for the certification itself. Further, our Degrees services revenue is determined based on a percentage of the total tuition collected from Degrees students by the university partner. As a result, the revenue we earn from the Degrees offerings on our platform is dependent on the number of learners enrolled in the Degrees program and the tuition charged by the university partner. The time that it takes for us to recover our investment in a new course or program depends on a variety of factors, primarily our learner acquisition costs, learner retention rate, and the rate of growth in learner enrollment in and, in some cases, completion of, the course or program. Because of the lengthy period required to recoup our investment in a program, unexpected developments beyond our control could occur that result in the partner ceasing or significantly curtailing a course offering or certification, degree, or other credentialing program before we generate any revenue therefrom. In addition, partners generally do not grant us exclusive rights to their content, and any such arrangements are of limited duration. As such, partners may choose to offer the same content on one of our competitors’ platforms, which could limit the number of learners enrolled in such partner’s courses or programs on our platform. In addition, if a partner were to terminate an existing program, learners enrolled in that program may stop using our platform, which in turn would negatively impact our learner enrollment generally. As a result of any of the foregoing, we may ultimately be unable to recover the full investment that we make in a new offering or achieve any level of profitability from such offering.

Failure to effectively expand our sales and marketing capabilities could harm our ability to increase our customer base and achieve broader market acceptance of our platform.

Our ability to broaden our customer base, particularly our Enterprise customer base, and achieve broader market acceptance of our platform, will depend to a significant extent on the ability of our sales and marketing organizations to work together to drive our sales pipeline and cultivate customer and partner relationships to drive revenue growth. Our marketing efforts include the use of search engine optimization, paid search, and custom website development and deployment.

We have invested in and plan to continue expanding our sales and marketing organizations, both domestically and internationally. Identifying, recruiting, and training sales personnel will require significant

 

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time, expense, and attention. If we are unable to hire, develop, and retain talented sales or marketing personnel, if our new sales or marketing personnel are unable to achieve desired productivity levels in a reasonable period of time (including as a result of working remotely in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic), or if our sales and marketing programs are not effective, our ability to broaden our customer base and achieve broader market acceptance of our platform could be harmed. In addition, the investments we make in our sales and marketing organization will occur in advance of experiencing benefits from such investments, making it difficult to determine in a timely manner if we are efficiently allocating our resources in these areas.

If we fail to quickly and efficiently scale our operations to support the needs of new and existing partners, our reputation and our revenue will suffer.

Our continued growth and potential profitability depends on our ability to successfully scale our operations to support newly launched course offerings or new certification, degree, or other credentialing programs with our partners. We plan to continue to hire new employees, particularly in our sales and marketing team and our technology and content development teams. If we cannot adequately train these new employees, we may not be successful in attracting potential learners to our platform, which would negatively impact our ability to generate revenue, and our partners and learners could lose confidence in our platform. If we cannot quickly and efficiently scale up our technology and operations to handle increases in the volume and rate of learner enrollment and of new course offerings or new certification, degree, or other credentialing programs, our partners’ and learners’ experiences with our platform may suffer, which in turn could damage our reputation. Our ability to effectively manage any significant increase in the volume of new offerings or programs or in the rate or volume of learner enrollment and retention will depend on a number of factors, including our ability to:

 

   

assist our partners in developing and producing an increased volume of engaging course content that is accessible to a wide variety of learners;

 

   

successfully introduce new features and enhancements on our platform;

 

   

maintain a high level of functionality and cross-functionality, and technological robustness of our platform; and

 

   

deliver high-quality professional services and support (including training, implementation, and consulting services) to our partners, their faculty and employees, and learners on our platform.

Establishing new course offerings and new certification, degree, or other credentialing programs or expanding existing ones will require us to make investments in management and key staff, increase capital expenditures, incur additional marketing expenses, and potentially reallocate other resources. If we are unable to scale our platform, maintain and increase its interoperability, develop an increasingly robust mix of engaging content or otherwise manage new offerings effectively, our ability to grow our business and achieve profitability would be impaired, and the quality of our solutions and the satisfaction of our partners and learners could suffer.

If we fail to adapt and respond effectively to rapidly changing technology, evolving industry standards and changing customer needs or requirements, our platform may become less competitive.

Our future success depends on our ability to adapt and enhance our platform. To attract new learners and partners and increase revenue from existing learners and partners, we will need to continuously enhance and improve our offerings to meet learner and partner needs at prices that our customers are willing to pay. Such efforts will require adding new functionality and responding to technological advancements, which will increase our research and development costs. If we are unable to develop content that addresses learners’ and partners’ needs, or enhance and improve our platform in a timely manner, we may not be able to maintain or increase market acceptance of our platform. Further, many of our competitors expend a considerably greater amount of funds on their research and development programs, and those that do not may be acquired by larger companies that would allocate greater resources to our competitors’ research and development programs. If we fail to maintain adequate research and development resources or compete effectively with the research and development

 

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programs of our competitors, our business could be harmed. Our ability to grow is also subject to the risk of future disruptive technologies. Access to and use of our platform is provided via the Internet, which, itself, was disruptive to the previous enterprise software model. If new technologies emerge that are able to deliver online learning programs at lower prices, more efficiently, more conveniently or more securely, and if we fail to adopt such technologies or do so in a timely manner, our ability to compete would be adversely affected.

If we fail to increase sales of our Enterprise offering, or if we need to change the contract terms associated therewith, including with respect to pricing or contract length, it could negatively affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

In addition to our offerings for individuals, we sell our Enterprise offering to businesses, academic institutions, and governments. These customers utilize our platform to provide relevant training, skills, and credentialing programs to current and potential employees and citizens through our online platform. To maintain and expand our relationships with these entities, we must demonstrate the value, benefits, and return on investment of providing education, training, and credentialing through our online platform and achieve acceptance from both employees and these entities of the merits and legitimacy of our business model.

Our growth strategy is dependent upon increasing sales of our Enterprise offering to these entities, which we offer on a subscription basis. We have a limited history with our subscription and pricing models and changes in our models could adversely affect our revenue and financial position. In addition, as the market for our learning platform grows (if ever), as new competitors introduce competitive applications or services, or as we enter into new international markets, we may be unable to attract new customers at the same price or based on the same pricing models we have historically used, or for contract lengths consistent with our historical averages. For example, we often enter into subscription arrangements with businesses, academic institutions, and governments in which we offer more favorable pricing terms in exchange for larger total contract values or longer contract terms. Changes to our pricing models or contract lengths could negatively impact our revenue and financial position, and we may have increased difficulty achieving profitability. As we drive a greater portion of our revenue through subscriptions to our Enterprise platform, this may also result in reduced margins in the future.

We recognize revenue from Enterprise customer subscriptions ratably over the subscription term of the underlying contract, which generally ranges from one to three years. Consequently, a decline in new or renewed subscriptions in any quarter will not be fully reflected in revenue or other results of operations in that quarter but will negatively affect our revenue and other results of operations across future quarters. Further, any increases in the average term of subscriptions would result in revenue for those contracts being recognized over longer periods of time with less positive impact on our results of operations in the near term. Accordingly, such changes could adversely affect our financial performance, cause us to miss industry or analyst expectations and cause our stock price to decline.

As we seek to increase sales of our Enterprise offering, we face upfront sales costs, higher customer acquisition costs, more complex customer requirements, and discount requirements. In addition, entities that subscribe to our Enterprise platform may elect to begin to use our platform on a limited basis, but nevertheless require education and interactions with our sales team, which increases our upfront investment in the sales effort with no guarantee that our platform will be used widely enough across their organization to justify our upfront investment. If we are unable to maintain or increase the number of subscriptions to our Enterprise platform while mitigating the risks associated with serving subscribers, our business, financial condition, and results of operations will suffer.

If we fail to maintain sufficient high-quality content from partners, we will be unable to attract and retain customers.

Our success depends on our ability to provide learners and partners with the information they seek, which in turn depends on the quantity and quality of the content provided by our partners. We may be unable to provide

 

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learners with the information they seek if our partners do not contribute content that is helpful and reliable, or if they remove content they previously submitted.

We believe that many of our new learners find us by word of mouth and other non-paid referrals from existing learners. If existing learners and partners are dissatisfied with their experience on our platform, they may stop accessing our content and may stop referring others to us. Likewise, if existing learners do not find our content appealing, whether because of a negative experience or declining interest in or relevancy of the content, they may stop referring others to us. In turn, if partners perceive that our platform lacks an adequate learner audience, partners may be less willing to provide content to offer on our platform, and the experience of learners could be further negatively impacted. If we are unable to retain existing learners and partners and attract new learners and partners who contribute to an active community, our growth prospects would be harmed and our business could be adversely affected.

If we fail to manage the growth of our business both in terms of scale and complexity, our operating results and financial condition could be adversely affected.

Our revenue increased from $184.4 million in 2019 to $293.5 million in 2020, and the number of our full-time employees increased from 512 as of December 31, 2019 to 779 as of December 31, 2020. Our growth has placed, and will continue to place, a significant strain on our administrative and operational infrastructure, facilities, and other resources, and we face challenges of integrating, developing, training, and motivating a rapidly growing employee base in our various offices around the world and maintaining our company culture across multiple offices and internationally. Our ability to manage our operations and growth will require us to continue to expand our sales and marketing and content development personnel, and technology, finance and administration teams, as well as our facilities and infrastructure. We will also be required to refine our operational, financial, and management controls and reporting systems and procedures. If we fail to efficiently manage this expansion of our business, our costs and expenses may increase more than anticipated and we may not successfully expand our partnerships with businesses, governments, educational institutions, and other organizations, enhance our platform and technology-enabled services, increase the volume of new course content and credentialing programs developed by our partners, attract a sufficient number of learners in a cost-effective manner, satisfy the requirements of our existing partners, increase the volume of subscriptions to our Enterprise platform, respond to competitive challenges, or otherwise execute our business plan. Although our business has experienced significant growth in the past, we cannot provide any assurance that our revenue will continue to grow at the same rate or at all in the future.

Our ability to effectively manage any significant growth of our business will depend on a number of factors, including our ability to:

 

   

effectively recruit, integrate, train, and motivate a large number of new employees while retaining existing employees and effectively executing our business plan;

 

   

continue to improve our operational, financial, and management controls;

 

   

protect and further develop our strategic assets, including our intellectual property rights; and

 

   

make sound business decisions in light of the scrutiny associated with operating as a public company.

These activities will require significant capital expenditures and allocation of valuable management and employee resources, and our growth will continue to place significant demands on our management and our operational and financial infrastructure. We may be unable to effectively manage any future growth in an efficient, cost-effective or timely manner, or at all. Any failure to successfully implement systems enhancements and improvements will likely negatively impact our ability to manage our expected growth, ensure uninterrupted operation of key business systems, and comply with the rules and regulations that are applicable to public reporting companies. Moreover, if we do not effectively manage the growth of our business and operations, the quality of our platform could suffer, which could negatively affect our reputation, results of operations, and overall business.

 

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We face competition from established companies as well as other emerging companies, which could divert partners to our competitors, result in pricing pressure, impact our market share, and significantly reduce our revenue.

The market for global adult online learning is highly fragmented and rapidly evolving. We expect alternative modes of learning to continue to accelerate as players in this industry introduce new and more competitive products, enhancements, and bundles.

Participants in the global adult online learning ecosystem include:

 

   

Direct-to-consumer, online education companies: edX Inc., FutureLearn Limited, and Udemy, Inc.;

 

   

Companies that provide technology solutions and services to universities offering online learning programs: 2U, Inc., Eruditus Learning Solutions Pte. Ltd., Noodle Partners, Inc., and upGrad Education Private Limited;

 

   

Corporate training companies: A Cloud Guru Ltd., Degreed, Inc., LinkedIn Corporation through its LinkedIn Learning services, Pluralsight, Inc., and Udacity, Inc.;

 

   

Providers of free educational resources: Khan Academy, Inc., The Wikipedia Foundation, Inc., and Google LLC (“Google”) through its YouTube services; and

 

   

Internal online degree platforms: Online degree programs developed in-house by universities.

We expect these and other existing competitors and new entrants to the online learning market to continually revise and improve their business models. If these or other market participants introduce new or improved delivery of online education and technology-enabled services that are more compelling or widely accepted than ours, our ability to grow our revenue and achieve profitability could suffer. Several new and existing companies in the online education industry provide or may provide offerings similar to what we offer on our platform, and these companies may pursue relationships with our partners that may reduce the content our partners produce for our platform. In addition, educational institutions, as well as businesses, governments, and other organizations, may choose to continue using or develop their own online learning or training solutions in-house, rather than pay for our solutions.

Some of our competitors and potential competitors have significantly greater resources than we do. Increased competition may result in pricing pressure for us in terms of the percentage of tuition we are able to negotiate to receive from a partner. The competitive landscape may also result in a longer and more complex process of recruiting and maintaining current and prospective partners or a decrease in our market share, any of which could negatively affect our revenue and future operating results and our ability to grow our business.

A number of factors could impact our ability to compete, including:

 

   

the availability or development of alternative online education services that are more compelling than ours;

 

   

changes in pricing policies and terms offered by our competitors or by us;

 

   

the ability to adapt to new technologies and changes in requirements of our partners and learners;

 

   

learner acquisition and retention costs;

 

   

the ability of our current and future competitors to establish relationships with businesses, governments, educational institutions, and other organizations to enhance their services and expand their markets; and

 

   

industry consolidation and the number and rate of new entrants.

We may not be able to compete successfully against current and future competitors. In addition, competition may intensify as our competitors raise additional capital and as established companies in other market segments or geographic markets expand into our market segments or geographic markets. If we cannot compete successfully against our competitors, our ability to grow our business and achieve profitability could be impaired.

 

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If for-profit postsecondary institutions, which offer online education alternatives different from ours, perform poorly, it could nonetheless tarnish the reputation of online education as a whole, which could impair our ability to grow our business.

For-profit postsecondary institutions, many of which provide course offerings predominantly online, are under intense regulatory and other scrutiny, which has led to media attention that has sometimes portrayed that sector in an unflattering light. Some for-profit online school operators have been subject to governmental investigations alleging the misuse of public funds, financial irregularities, and failure to achieve positive outcomes for learners, including the inability to obtain employment in their fields. These allegations have attracted significant adverse media coverage and have prompted legislative hearings and regulatory responses. These investigations have focused on specific companies and individuals, as well as entire industries in the case of recruiting practices by for-profit higher education companies. Even though we do not market our solutions to these institutions, this negative media attention may nevertheless add to the skepticism about online higher education generally, including our solutions.

The impact of these negative public perceptions on our current and future business is difficult to predict. If these few situations, or any additional misconduct, cause all online learning programs to be viewed by the public or policymakers unfavorably, we may find it difficult to enter into or renew agreements with our partners or attract additional learners for our partners’ programs. In addition, this perception or any further governmental investigation could serve as the impetus for more restrictive legislation, which could limit our future business opportunities. Moreover, allegations of abuse of federal financial aid funds and other statutory violations against for-profit higher education companies could negatively impact our ability to succeed due to increased regulation and decreased demand. Any of these factors could negatively impact our ability to increase our partner base and grow our partners’ programs, which would make it difficult to continue to grow our business and could negatively affect our stock price.

We may acquire other companies or technologies which could divert our management’s attention, result in additional dilution to our stockholders, and otherwise disrupt our operations and harm our results of operations.

We may choose to expand by making acquisitions that could be material to our business. To date, we have only completed one acquisition, and our ability as an organization to successfully acquire and integrate technologies or businesses is unproven and limited. Acquisitions involve many risks, including the following:

 

   

an acquisition may negatively affect our results of operations and financial condition because it may require us to incur charges or assume substantial debt or other liabilities, may cause adverse tax consequences or unfavorable accounting treatment, may expose us to claims and disputes by third parties, including intellectual property claims and disputes, or may not generate sufficient financial return to offset additional costs and expenses related to the acquisition;

 

   

we may encounter difficulties or unforeseen expenditures in integrating the business, technologies, products, personnel or operations of any company that we acquire, particularly if key personnel of the acquired company decide not to work for us;

 

   

an acquisition may disrupt our ongoing business and distract our management;

 

   

an acquisition may result in a delay or reduction of customer purchases for both us and the company we acquired due to customer uncertainty about continuity and effectiveness of service from either company;

 

   

an acquisition may involve the entry into geographic or business markets in which we have little or no prior experience or where competitors have stronger market positions;

 

   

we may face challenges inherent in effectively managing an increased number of employees in diverse locations;

 

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we may experience strain on our financial and managerial controls and reporting systems and procedures;

 

   

our use of cash to pay for acquisitions would limit other potential uses for our cash;

 

   

if we incur debt to fund such acquisitions, such debt may subject us to material restrictions on our ability to conduct our business;

 

   

we may incur impairment charges related to potential write-downs of acquired assets or goodwill; and

 

   

to the extent that we issue a significant amount of equity or equity-linked securities in connection with an acquisition, existing stockholders may be diluted.

We may not succeed in addressing these or other risks, which could harm our business and operating results.

We may invest in private companies and if the value of any such equity investments were to decline, it could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

We may from time to time evaluate or make equity investments in private companies where we do not have the ability to exercise significant influence over results. Investments in private companies are inherently risky. The companies in which we may invest include early-stage companies that may still be developing products and services with limited cash to support the development, marketing, and sales of their products, and whose financial statements are often unaudited. Further, our ability to liquidate such investments will typically be dependent on a liquidity event, such as a public offering or acquisition, as no public market currently exists for the securities held in the investees. Valuations of privately-held companies are inherently complex and uncertain due to the lack of a liquid market for the securities of such companies. If we determine that any of our investments in such companies have experienced a decline in value, we will recognize an expense to adjust the carrying value to its estimated fair value. Negative changes in the estimated fair value of private companies in which we invest could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

Our directors may encounter conflicts of interest involving us and other entities with which they may be affiliated, including matters that involve corporate opportunities.

Most of our directors are, and any future directors may be, affiliated with other entities, including venture capital or private equity funds or businesses that may be complementary, competitive, or potentially competitive to our company. They may also in the future become affiliated with entities that are engaged in business or other activities similar to our business. Additionally, all of our officers and directors, in the course of their other business activities, may become aware of investments, business opportunities, or information which may be appropriate for presentation to us as well as to other entities to which they owe a fiduciary duty. As a result, directors and officers may encounter perceived or actual conflicts of interest involving us and other entities with which they are or become affiliated, including matters that involve corporate opportunities. For example, a portfolio company of a director-affiliated venture fund may become a competitor of ours or a potential strategic partner. In addition, as our growth strategy includes considering potential acquisitions, it is possible an entity affiliated with one of our directors could be an acquisition target or a competitive acquiror. Further, to the extent we engage in transactions with any director-affiliated entity, it could create actual, or the perception of, additional conflicts of interest, including with respect to our ability to negotiate terms equivalent to those that could be obtained in an arms’-length negotiation with an unaffiliated third party. For instance, Dr. Ng, one of our co-founders and Chairman of our board of directors, owns DeepLearning.AI Corp., a developer of educational content relating to artificial intelligence that offers courses through our platform. Although we view DeepLearning.AI Corp. as a valued business partner and believe our agreement is on commercially reasonable terms, there may nonetheless be a perception of a conflict of interest. As a result of the foregoing, our directors and officers may have conflicts of interest in determining to which entity particular opportunities or information should be presented. If, as a result of such potential conflicts, we are deprived of investment, business, or information, the execution of our business plan and our ability to effectively compete may be adversely affected. Our directors are also not obligated to commit their time and attention exclusively to our business and accordingly, they may encounter conflicts of interest in allocating their time and resources between us and other entities with which they are affiliated.

 

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If we do not retain our senior management team and key employees, we may not be able to sustain our growth or achieve our business objectives.

Our future success is substantially dependent on the continued service of our senior management team, and in particular of our Chief Executive Officer. The expertise of our senior management in negotiating with businesses, governments, educational institutions, and other organizations is critical in navigating the complex approval processes of these entities. We do not maintain key-person insurance on any of our employees, including our senior management team, and our management and other employees are generally employed on an at-will basis. The loss of the services of any individual on our senior management team would make it more difficult to successfully operate our business and pursue our business goals.

Our future success also depends heavily on the retention of our sales and marketing, data science, technology and content development, and support teams to continue to attract and retain qualified learners in our partners’ programs, thereby generating revenue for us. In particular, our technology and content development employees provide the technical expertise underlying our technology-enabled services that support our online course offerings and the certification, degree and other credentialing programs offered on our platform, as well as the learners enrolled in these programs. Competition for these employees is intense. We may be unable to attract or retain these key personnel that are critical to our success, resulting in harm to our relationships with partners, loss of expertise or know-how, and unanticipated recruitment and training costs.

We may need additional capital in the future to pursue our business objectives. Additional capital may not be available on favorable terms, or at all, which could compromise our ability to grow our business.

We believe that our existing cash balances, in addition to the proceeds we receive from this offering will be sufficient to meet our minimum anticipated cash requirements for at least the next twelve months. We may, however, need to raise additional funds to respond to business challenges or opportunities, accelerate our growth, develop new offerings, or enhance our platform. If we seek to raise additional capital, it may not be available on favorable terms or may not be available at all. In addition, if we seek debt financing, we may be subject to onerous terms and restrictive covenants. Lack of sufficient capital resources could significantly limit our ability to manage our business and to take advantage of business and strategic opportunities. Further, any additional capital raised through the sale of equity or issuance of debt securities with an equity component would dilute our stock ownership. If adequate additional funds are not available if and when needed, we may be required to delay, reduce the scope of, or eliminate material parts of our business strategy.

We believe our long-term value as a company will be greater if we focus on growth, which may negatively impact our results of operations in the near term.

We believe our long-term value as a company will be greater if we focus on longer-term growth over short-term results. As a result, our results of operations may be negatively impacted in the near term relative to a strategy focused on maximizing short-term profitability. Significant expenditures on sales and marketing efforts, developing and enhancing our platform, and expanding our research and development efforts may not ultimately grow our business or lead to expected long-term results. If our strategy does not lead to expected growth or if we are ultimately unable to achieve results of operations at the levels expected by securities analysts and investors, the market price of our common stock could decline.

Our current operations are international in scope and we plan to expand our international operations, which exposes us to risks inherent in international operations.

Operating in international markets requires significant resources and management attention and subjects us to regulatory, economic, and political risks that are different from those in the United States. We have employees in Bulgaria, Canada, India, and the United Kingdom in several functional areas, including product and software development, sales and marketing, talent recruitment, and general facilities management. Our international

 

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operations subject us to the compensation and benefits regulations of those jurisdictions, as well as other employer duties and obligations, that differ from the compensation and benefits regulations and duties and obligations in the United States. Further, enrollments of learners from other countries requires us to comply with international data privacy regulations of those countries. As of December 31, 2020, we had approximately 77 million registered learners, including approximately 62 million registered learners from over 190 foreign countries, and had partnerships with over 100 international entities. Failure to comply with international regulations or to adequately adapt to international markets could harm our ability to successfully operate our business and pursue our business goals.

We intend to expand our international operations and continue to establish a worldwide partner and learner base. Our expansion efforts into international markets may not be successful. In addition, we face risks in doing business internationally, including risks associated with sales to international governments and entities, that could constrain our operations, increase our cost structure, and compromise our growth prospects, including:

 

   

the need to localize and adapt online certification, degree, and other credentialing programs for specific countries, including translation into foreign languages and ensuring that these programs enable our partners to comply with local education laws and regulations;

 

   

local laws restricting learners from pursuing certifications, degrees, or other credentials through online education platforms such as ours or limiting the availability of financial aid to finance online education;

 

   

data privacy laws that may require data to be handled in a specific manner, including storing and processing data solely on local servers, which is a capability we currently do not have;

 

   

difficulties in staffing and managing foreign operations, including in countries in which foreign employees may become part of labor unions, employee representative bodies, workers’ councils or collective bargaining agreements, and challenges relating to work stoppages or slowdowns;

 

   

different pricing environments, longer sales cycles, longer accounts receivable payment cycles, and collections issues;

 

   

new and different sources of competition and practices which may favor local competitors;

 

   

weaker protection for intellectual property and other legal rights than in the United States and practical difficulties in enforcing intellectual property and other rights outside of the United States;

 

   

compliance challenges related to the complexity of multiple, conflicting and changing governmental laws and regulations, including employment, tax, privacy and data protection, and anti-bribery laws and regulations such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act;

 

   

increased financial accounting and reporting burdens and complexities;

 

   

risks associated with foreign tax regimes, trade tariffs, or similar issues, which could negatively impact international adoption of our offerings;

 

   

adverse tax consequences, including the potential for required withholding taxes for our overseas employees; and

 

   

regional and economic political conditions.

Further, as we continue to expand internationally, we will become more exposed to fluctuations in currency exchange rates. Future agreements with international partners may provide for payments to us to be denominated in local currencies, and in such cases, fluctuations in the value of the U.S. dollar and foreign currencies could impact our operating results when translated into U.S. dollars. Further, the strengthening of the U.S. dollar relative to foreign currencies could increase the real cost of our platform for our learners and partners outside of the United States, which could lead to the lengthening of our sales cycle or reduced demand for our platform. If we are not able to successfully hedge against the risks associated with currency fluctuations, our financial

 

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condition and results of operations would be adversely affected. To date, we have not entered into any hedging transactions in an effort to reduce our exposure to foreign currency exchange risk. While we may decide to enter into hedging transactions in the future, the availability and effectiveness of these hedging transactions may be limited and we may not be able to successfully hedge our exposure, which would adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

Our results of operations could be adversely affected by natural disasters, public health crises, political crises, or other catastrophic events.

Our business and operations could be materially and adversely affected in the event of earthquakes, floods, fires, telecommunications failures, blackouts or other power losses, break-ins, acts of terrorism, political crises, inclement weather, public health crises, pandemics or endemics, or other catastrophic events. In particular, our executive offices are located in the San Francisco Bay Area, an earthquake-sensitive area and one that has been increasingly vulnerable to wildfires, and, damage to or total destruction of our executive offices resulting from earthquakes may not be covered in whole or in part by any insurance we may have. If floods, fire, inclement weather including extreme rain, wind, heat, or cold, or accidents due to human error were to occur and cause damage to our properties, or if our operations were interrupted by telecommunications failures, blackouts, acts of terrorism, political or geopolitical crises or public health crises, our results of operations would suffer, especially if such events were to occur during peak periods. We may not be able to effectively shift our operations due to disruptions arising from the occurrence of such events, and our business could be affected adversely as a result.

Our metrics and market estimates used to evaluate our performance are subject to inherent challenges in measurement, and real or perceived inaccuracies in those estimates may harm our reputation and negatively affect our business.

The metrics we use to evaluate our growth, measure our performance and make strategic decisions are calculated using internal company data and have not been validated by a third party. Our metrics and market estimates may differ from estimates published by third parties or from similarly titled metrics of our competitors or peers due to differences in methodology or the assumptions on which we rely. Additionally, the metrics and forecasts in this prospectus relating to the size and expected growth of our addressable market may prove to be inaccurate. Even if the markets in which we compete meet the size estimates and growth forecasted in this prospectus, our business could fail to grow at similar rates, if at all. If securities analysts or investors do not consider our or market metrics to be accurate representations of our business, or if we discover material inaccuracies in such estimates, then the market price of our common stock could decline, our reputation and brand could be harmed, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected.

Risks Related to Regulatory Matters and Litigation

If our partners fail to comply with international, federal and state education laws and regulations, including any applicable state authorizations for their programs, it could harm our business and reputation.

Higher education is heavily regulated in the United States and most international jurisdictions. For example, numerous states require education providers to be licensed or authorized in such state simply to enroll persons located in that state into an online education program or to conduct related activities such as marketing. If any of our partners were found to be in non-compliance with any of the laws, regulations, standards or policies related to state authorization, the partner could lose their ability to operate in certain states, and if such non-compliance extended to a material contingent of our partners and such partners lost the ability to operate in certain states, our revenue could decline.

Additionally, the vast majority of our U.S.-based college and university partners participate in the federal student financial assistance programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (“HEA”),

 

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and are subject to extensive regulation by the U.S. Department of Education (“DOE”), as well as various state agencies, licensing boards and accrediting agencies. To participate in the Title IV programs, an institution must receive and maintain authorization by the appropriate state education agencies, be accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the DOE, and be certified by the DOE as an eligible institution.

The regulations, standards, and policies of our college and university partners’ regulators are complex, change frequently and are often subject to differing interpretation. Changes in, or new interpretations of, applicable laws, regulations or standards could compromise our college and university partners’ accreditation, authorization to offer online learning in various states or countries, permissible activities, or access to federal funds under the Title IV programs. We cannot predict with certainty how the requirements applicable to our college and university partners will be interpreted, including in the case of new laws or regulations for which no, or insufficient, interpretative guidance exists, or whether our college and university partners will be able to comply with these requirements in the future. Some regulations were designed to regulate in-person, correspondence or other types of learning experiences not offered online and may be difficult to interpret or apply to the types of programs offered by our partners on our platform. In addition, there is no assurance that degrees or certifications earned through an institution in one jurisdiction will be recognized as valid or sufficient in other jurisdictions, including internationally, for employment, to satisfy prerequisites for advanced degrees, or other opportunities. Our international college and university partners are subject to similarly extensive legislation, regulation, and oversight.

Our future growth could be impaired if we or our partners fail to obtain timely approval from applicable regulatory agencies to offer new programs, make substantive changes to existing programs or expand their programs into or within certain states.

Our U.S. partners are required to obtain the appropriate approvals from the DOE and applicable state and accrediting regulatory agencies for new programs, which may be conditioned, delayed, or denied in a manner that could impair our future growth. Similar approvals and reviews may be required for programs from our partners based outside the United States, and for our partners to offer programs in other countries. Education regulatory agencies may experience increases in the volume of requests for approvals as a result of new distance learning programs and adjustments to new regulations. Any such increases in volume could result in delays to various approvals our partner institutions request, and any such delays could in turn delay the timing of our ability to generate revenue from our partners’ programs.

Our partners, both U.S. and international, may be required to be authorized in certain states to offer online programs, engage in advertising or recruiting and operate externships, internships, technical training, or other forms of field experience, depending on state law. Although many of our programs are offered by U.S.-based higher education institutions that hold such authorizations or participate in an appropriate state reciprocity agreement such as the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (“SARA”), other partners are not traditional education institutions or operate outside the United States and do not hold such state authorizations. Further, even U.S.-based higher education institutions could lose a necessary authorization either because it lapses or is revoked by a state agency. Such partners could also lack, or lose, the ability to participate in a reciprocity agreement that provides the basis for their authorization in multiple states. For example, California higher education institutions currently do not participate in SARA. Unless we choose to seek authorization in our own name, which we have not done to date, the loss of or failure by a partner to obtain a necessary state authorization would, among other things, limit our ability to deliver content to learners in that state, either for degree or nondegree programs, render the partner and its learners in that state ineligible to participate in Title IV or other financial aid programs, diminish the attractiveness of the partner’s programs, and ultimately compromise our ability to generate revenue. For example, in Iowa, while the state’s regulations and their application to our business are subject to differing interpretations, we may need to limit or prevent enrollments in certain programs offered by partners based outside the United States because they do not meet the requirement that institutions be accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the DOE. In addition, if we or any of our partners fail to comply with any state agency’s rules, regulations, or standards beyond authorizations, the state agency could

 

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limit the ability of the partner to offer programs in that state or limit our ability to perform our contractual obligations to our partner in that state.

We or our partners may also be required to obtain appropriate approvals under international education laws and regulations. For example, a recent Indian regulation relating to online higher education requires, among other things, that learning platforms utilized by Indian universities to offer online degrees be approved by a technical committee of the Indian regulator. Seeking such approval could be a complex and time-consuming process, since the requirement is new, and as such there is no certainty as to the timing and standard of review for international platforms, or even whether international platforms are permitted to apply for approval. In addition, we may lack the knowledge and resources to successfully pursue an application without the support of one or more of our Indian university partners.

If we or our partners fail to obtain or maintain necessary authorizations, or we or our partners violate applicable laws and regulations, learners in relevant programs could be adversely affected and we could lose our ability to operate in that state, and our ability to generate revenue would be adversely affected.

If our partners fail to maintain institutional accreditation for their programs, our revenue could be materially adversely affected.

The loss or suspension of a partner’s accreditation or other adverse action by the partner’s institutional accreditor would render the institution or its program ineligible to participate in Title IV programs or similar government funding programs that may be in place and available to students enrolled at our Degrees partners based outside of the United States, could prevent the partner from offering certain educational programs, and could make it impossible for the graduates of the partner’s program to practice the profession for which they trained. If any of these results occurs, it could hurt our ability to generate revenue from that program.

Our activities are subject to international, federal and state education accessibility, and consumer protection laws and regulations and other requirements.

As a service provider to higher education institutions both in the United States and internationally, either directly or indirectly through our arrangements with partners, we are required to comply with certain education laws and regulations. See “Business—Regulatory Matters.”

Our platform is also subject to various requirements relating to accessibility for learners with disabilities. Certain requirements of Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act apply to us and to our public and private university partners, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974 (the “Rehabilitation Act”) applies to our partners that receive federal funding, and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which sets accessibility standards for websites of federal departments and agencies, applies to certain of our government customers. Further, in the absence of definitive federal rulemaking, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1, a set of recommendations and technical standards for making websites accessible to individuals with disabilities published by the World Wide Web Consortium, have become the effective standard for learner-facing aspects of our platform. We may not be successful in ensuring that our offerings and services meet these changing statutory and regulatory requirements, which could make our solutions less attractive to our partners and customers, and we expect to incur ongoing costs of compliance. In addition, we have structured our learner subscription plans to charge learners on a recurring basis, and as a result we must comply with complex federal and state laws and regulations related to automatic renewal, unfair competition, and false advertising. These laws, among other things, require us to make specific disclosures in specific ways at the time a learner purchases a subscription, and obtain the learner’s express consent to the recurring charges. The penalties for failing to comply with these requirements can be severe, including rendering the subscription contract null and void, and allowing the consumer to treat any services provided under such a contract as a gift, and any failure to comply with these requirements may constitute violations of more general consumer protection laws.

 

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Failure to comply with any of these laws and regulations could result in breach of contract and indemnification claims and could cause damage to our reputation and impair our ability to grow our business and achieve profitability.

Activities of the U.S. Congress, such as changes in spending policies or budget priorities for government funding of colleges, universities, schools and other education providers, could result in adverse legislation or regulatory action.

Our partners include colleges, universities, and other education providers, many of which depend substantially on government funding. Accordingly, any general decrease, delay, or change in federal, state, or local funding for colleges, universities, and other education providers could cause our current and potential partners to reduce their use of our platform, or delay development of content for our platform, any of which could cause us to lose learners and revenue.

In addition, the increased scrutiny and results-based accountability initiatives in the education sector, as well as ongoing policy differences in Congress regarding spending levels, could lead to significant changes in connection with the upcoming reauthorization of the HEA or otherwise. These changes may place additional regulatory burdens on postsecondary schools participating in the Title IV programs generally, and specific changes may be targeted at companies like us that serve higher education within the United States. The adoption of any laws or regulations that limit our ability to provide our bundled services to our partners could compromise our ability to offer their programs or make our solutions less attractive to them. Congress could also enact laws or regulations that require us to modify our practices in ways that could increase our costs.

Regulatory activities and initiatives of the DOE may have similar consequences for our business even in the absence of Congressional action. No assurances can be given as to how any new rules may affect our business.

Our business model has been validated by a DOE “dear colleague letter”, but such validation is not codified by statute or regulation and may be subject to change.

Each institution that participates in Title IV programs agrees, as a condition of its eligibility to participate in those programs, that it will not “provide any commission, bonus, or other incentive payment based in any part, directly or indirectly, upon success in securing enrollments or the award of financial aid, to any person or entity who is engaged in any student recruitment or admission activity, or in making decisions regarding the award of Title IV HEA program funds.” The vast majority of our U.S.-based partners participate in the Title IV programs. Although this rule, referred to as the incentive compensation rule, generally prohibits entities or individuals from receiving incentive-based compensation payments for the successful recruitment, admission, or enrollment of learners, the DOE provided clarifying guidance in March 2011 interpreting the incentive compensation rule as permitting tuition revenue-sharing arrangements known as the “bundled services exception.” Our current business model relies heavily on the bundled services exception to enter into tuition revenue-sharing agreements with partner colleges and universities. See “Business—Regulatory Matters.”

The “dear colleague letter” (“DCL”) issued by the DOE on March 17, 2011 sets forth the official guidance of the DOE regarding various regulations that were implemented around that time. The DCL affirms that “[t]he Department generally views payment based on the amount of tuition generated as an indirect payment of incentive compensation based on success in recruitment and therefore a prohibited basis upon which to measure the value of the services provided.” The DCL, however, in Example 2-B, clarified an important exception to this prohibition for a business model that complies with the bundled services exception: “A third party that is not affiliated with the institution it serves and is not affiliated with any other institution that provides educational services, which third party provides bundled services to the institution including marketing, enrollment application assistance, recruitment services, course support for online delivery of courses, the provision of technology, placement services for internships, or student career counseling, may receive from an institution an amount based on tuition generated for the institution by the third-party’s activities for all bundled services that

 

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are offered and provided collectively, as long as the third party does not make prohibited compensation payments to its employees, and the institution does not pay the third party separately for student recruitment services provided by the entity.”

The DCL guidance indicates that an arrangement that complies with Example 2-B will be deemed to be in compliance with the incentive compensation provisions of the HEA and the DOE’s regulations. Our business model and contractual arrangements with our U.S.-based partners are designed to follow Example 2-B in the DCL. However, the inherent ambiguity in the DCL and the incentive compensation rule creates the risk that DOE or a court, including, notably, in the context of a “whistleblower” claim under the federal False Claims Act, could disagree with that interpretation. If the DOE or a court determined that our business model or even the practices of a subcontractor did not meet the bundled services exception, we could have contractual obligations to our U.S.-based partners such as indemnifying a partner from private claims or government investigations or demands for repayment of Title IV program funds. Even if such claims are without merit, they could cause reputational harm, cause us to incur significant defense costs, result in the termination of our U.S.-based partner agreements, and negatively impact our ability to enter into new agreements.

Further, because the bundled services rule was promulgated by agency guidance through the DCL and is not codified by statute or regulation, there is risk that the exception could be altered or removed without prior notice, public comment period, or other administrative procedural requirements that accompany formal agency rulemaking. Although the DCL represents the current interpretation of the DOE, the bundled services exception could be reviewed, altered, or vacated in the future. In addition, the legal weight the DCL would carry in litigation over the propriety of any specific compensation arrangements under the HEA or the incentive compensation rule is uncertain. We can offer no assurances as to whether the exception in the DCL would be upheld by a court or how it would be interpreted. The revision, removal, or invalidation of the bundled services exception by Congress, the DOE, or a court, whether in an action involving our company or our partners, or in action that does not involve us, could require us to change our business model and renegotiate the terms of our college and university partner agreements and could compromise our ability to generate revenue.

If we violate the misrepresentation rule, or similar federal and state regulatory requirements, we could face fines, sanctions and other liabilities.

Under our contracts with U.S.-based partners, we are required to comply with other regulations promulgated by the DOE and comparable state laws that affect our marketing activities, including the misrepresentation rule. The misrepresentation rule is broad in scope and applies to statements our employees or agents may make about the nature of a partner’s program, a partner’s financial charges or the employability of a partner’s program graduates. A violation of this rule or other federal or state regulations applicable to our marketing activities by an employee or agent performing services for partners could damage our reputation, result in the termination of partner agreements, require us to pay fines or other monetary penalties, and require us to pay the fees associated with indemnifying a partner from private claims or government investigations.

We are required to comply with The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), and failure to do so could harm our reputation and negatively affect our business.

FERPA generally prohibits an institution of higher education from disclosing personally identifiable information from a learner’s education records without the learner’s consent. Our U.S.-based university degree and certificate partners and Coursera for Campus customers and their learners disclose to us certain information that originates from or composes a learner education record under FERPA. Through our contracts to provide services to institutions, we are indirectly subject to FERPA, and we may not transfer or otherwise disclose any personally identifiable information from a learner record to another party other than in a manner permitted under the statute and any applicable contract. If we violate FERPA, it could result in a material breach of agreement with one or more of our partners and could harm our reputation. Further, in the event that we disclose learner information in violation of FERPA, the DOE could require a partner to suspend our access to their learner information for at least five years.

 

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We could face liability, or our reputation might be harmed, as a result of the activities of our customers and educators for content on or accessible through our platform.

In some instances, various articles or other third-party content may be posted to our platform by customers and educators for use in class discussions or within asynchronous lessons. The laws governing the fair use of these third-party materials are imprecise and adjudicated on a case-by-case basis, which makes it challenging to adopt and implement appropriately balanced institutional policies governing these practices. As a result, we could incur liability to third parties for the unauthorized duplication, distribution or other use of this material. In addition, third parties may allege misappropriation, plagiarism, or similar claims related to content appearing on our platform. Any such claims, including claims of defamation, disparagement, negligence, warranty, misappropriation, or personal harm, could subject us to costly litigation and impose a significant strain on our financial resources and management personnel, regardless of whether the claims have merit. Our various liability insurance coverages may not cover potential claims of this type adequately or at all, and we may be required to alter or cease our uses of such material, which may include changing or removing content from courses or altering the functionality of our platform, or be required to pay monetary damages.

While we rely on a variety of statutory and common-law frameworks and defenses, including those provided by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (“DMCA”), the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”), the fair-use doctrine in the United States and the E-Commerce Directive in the European Union, differences between statutes, limitations on immunity, requirements to maintain immunity, and moderation efforts in the many jurisdictions in which we operate may affect our ability to rely on these frameworks and defenses, or create uncertainty regarding liability for information or content uploaded by partners or learners or otherwise contributed by third-parties to our platform. Moreover, regulators in the United States and in other countries in which we operate may introduce new regulatory regimes that increase potential liability for information or content available on our platform, or which impose additional obligations to monitor such information or content, which could increase our costs.

We are subject to governmental export and import controls and anti-corruption laws and regulations that could impair our ability to compete in international markets and subject us to liability if we are not in full compliance with applicable laws.

Our business activities are subject to various restrictions under U.S. export and similar laws and regulations, including the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Administration Regulations and various economic and trade sanctions regulations administered by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Controls. The U.S. export control laws and U.S. economic sanctions laws include restrictions or prohibitions on the sale of certain services to U.S. embargoed or sanctioned countries, governments, persons, and entities. In addition, various countries regulate the import of certain technology and have enacted or could enact laws that could limit our ability to provide learners access to our platform or could limit our learners’ ability to access or use our services in those countries.

Although we take precautions to prevent our platform from being provided in violation of such laws, our platform could be provided inadvertently in violation of such laws, despite the precautions we take. If we fail to comply with these laws and regulations, we and certain of our employees could be subject to civil or criminal penalties, including the possible loss of export privileges and fines. We may also be adversely affected through penalties, reputational harm, loss of access to certain markets, or otherwise. In addition, various countries regulate the import and export of certain encryption and other technology, including import and export permitting and licensing requirements, and have enacted laws that could limit our ability to distribute our platform or could limit our learners’ ability to access our platform in those countries. Changes in our platform, or future changes in export and import regulations, may prevent our international learners from utilizing our platform or, in some cases, prevent the export or import of our platform to certain countries, governments, or persons altogether. Any change in export or import regulations, economic sanctions, or related legislation or changes in the countries, governments, persons, or technologies targeted by such regulations, could result in decreased use of our platform

 

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by, or in our decreased ability to export or sell subscriptions to our platform to, existing or potential learners internationally. Any decreased use of our platform or limitation on our ability to export or sell our platform would adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial results.

We are also subject to various domestic and international anti-corruption laws, such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the U.K. Bribery Act, as well as other similar anti-bribery and anti-kickback laws and regulations. These laws and regulations generally prohibit companies and their employees and intermediaries from authorizing, offering, providing, and accepting improper payments or benefits for improper purposes. These laws also require that we keep accurate books and records and maintain compliance procedures designed to prevent any such actions. Although we take precautions to prevent violations of these laws, our exposure for violating these laws increases as our international presence expands and as we increase sales and operations in foreign jurisdictions.

We may become involved in claims, lawsuits, government investigations, and other proceedings that could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

From time to time, we may become involved in litigation matters, such as matters incidental to the ordinary course of our business, including intellectual property, commercial, employment, class action, whistleblower, accessibility, and other litigation and claims, and governmental and other regulatory investigations and proceedings. Such matters can be time-consuming, divert management’s attention and resources, cause us to incur significant expenses or liability, or require us to change our business practices. In addition, the expense of litigation and the timing of these expenses from period to period are difficult to estimate, subject to change, and could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. Because of the potential risks, expenses, and uncertainties of litigation, we may, from time to time, settle disputes, even where we have meritorious claims or defenses, by agreeing to settlement agreements. Any of the foregoing could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Risks Related to Privacy, Cybersecurity, and Infrastructure

If sensitive information about our partners, their employees, or our learners is disclosed, or if we or our third-party providers are subject to cyber-attacks, use of our platform could be curtailed, we may be exposed to liability and our reputation would suffer.

Although we do not directly collect, transmit, and store financial information such as credit cards and other payment information, we utilize third-party payment processors who provide these services on our behalf. We also collect and store certain personally identifiable information provided by our partners and learners, such as names and email addresses. The collection, transmission and storage of such information is subject to stringent legal and regulatory obligations. Some of our third-party service providers, such as identity verification and payment processing providers, also regularly have access to personal data. In an effort to protect sensitive information, we rely on a variety of security measures, including encryption and authentication technology licensed from third parties. However, advances in computer capabilities, increasingly sophisticated tools and methods used by hackers and cyber terrorists, new discoveries in the field of cryptography, or other developments may result in our failure or inability to adequately protect sensitive information.

Our platform is vulnerable to power outages, telecommunications failures, and catastrophic events, as well as computer viruses, worms, malicious code, break-ins, phishing attacks, denial-of-service attacks, and other cyber-attacks. Any of these incidents could lead to interruptions or shutdowns of our platform, loss of data, or unauthorized disclosure of personally identifiable or other sensitive information. Cyber-attacks could also result in the theft of our intellectual property. If we gain greater visibility, we may face a higher risk of being targeted by cyber-attacks. Advances in computer capabilities, new technological discoveries, or other developments may result in cyber-attacks becoming more sophisticated and more difficult to detect.

 

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Any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with our privacy policies, our privacy or data protection obligations to learners or other third parties, or our privacy or data protection legal obligations, or any compromise of security that results in the unauthorized release or transfer of sensitive information, which may include personally identifiable information or other data, may result in governmental enforcement actions, litigation or public statements against us by consumer advocacy groups or others and could cause learners to lose trust in us, which could have an adverse effect on our business.

Further, if we or our third-party service providers experience security breaches that result in platform performance or availability problems or the loss or unauthorized disclosure of sensitive information, our reputation and ability to maintain existing, or attract new, partners and learners could be materially adversely affected, and our existing partners could scale back their programs or elect to not renew their agreements, prospective learners could decline to enroll or stay enrolled in our partners’ programs, and we could be subject to third-party lawsuits, regulatory fines, or other action or liability. Further, any reputational damage resulting from breach of our security measures could create distrust of our company by prospective partners or learners.

We and our third-party service providers may not have the resources or technical sophistication to anticipate or prevent all such cyber-attacks. Moreover, techniques used to obtain unauthorized access to systems change frequently and may not be known until launched against us or our third-party service providers. Security breaches can also occur as a result of non-technical issues, including intentional or inadvertent breaches by our employees or employees of our third-party service providers.

We expect to incur ongoing costs associated with the detection and prevention of security breaches and other security-related incidents. We may incur additional costs in the event of a security breach or other security-related incident. Any actual or perceived compromise of our systems or data security measures or those of third parties with whom we do business, or any failure to prevent or mitigate the loss of personal or other confidential information and delays in detecting or providing notice of any such compromise or loss could disrupt our operations, harm the perception of our security measures, damage our reputation, cause some learners or partners to decrease or stop their use of our platform or relationships with us, and could subject us to litigation, government action, increased transaction fees, regulatory fines or penalties, or other additional costs and liabilities that could harm our business, financial condition, and operating results.

We cannot be certain that our insurance coverage will cover or be adequate for data handling or data security liabilities, that insurance will continue to be available to us on economically reasonable terms, or at all, or that any insurer will not deny coverage as to any future claim. The successful assertion of one or more large claims against us that exceed available insurance coverage or the occurrence of changes in our insurance policies, including premium increases or the imposition of large deductible or co-insurance requirements, could have a material and adverse effect on our business, including our financial condition, operating results, and reputation.

If the personally identifiable information we collect from our partners, customers, and learners is unlawfully acquired, accessed, or obtained, we could be required to pay substantial fines and bear the cost of investigating the data breach and providing notice to individuals whose personally identifiable information was unlawfully accessed.

In providing services to our partners and customers, we may directly or indirectly have access to personally identifiable information from learners and prospective learners, such as names and email addresses. In the event that the personally identifiable information is unlawfully accessed or acquired, the majority of states and many international jurisdictions have laws that require institutions to investigate and promptly disclose the data breach to learners, usually in writing. Under the terms of our agreements with partners and customers, we may be responsible for the costs of investigating and disclosing data breaches to learners and, in many cases, to partners and customers as well. In addition to costs associated with investigating and fully disclosing a data breach in such instances, we could be subject to substantial monetary fines or private claims by affected parties and our reputation would likely be harmed.

 

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Disruption to or failures of our platform could result in our partners and learners becoming unsatisfied with our platform and could harm our reputation.

The performance and reliability of our platform and the underlying technology are critical to our operations, reputation, and ability to attract and retain partners and learners. Our partners rely on our platform to offer their courses and programs online, and learners must access our platform on a frequent and reliable basis. Our platform is complex and relies on infrastructure provided by third parties, and may contain defects, errors, or vulnerabilities, or may not perform as contemplated. These errors, defects, disruptions, breaches, or other performance problems with our platform could damage our or our partners’ reputations, decrease partner and learner satisfaction and retention, negatively impact our ability to attract new learners and partners, and could result in large indemnity payments to learners and partners for losses suffered or incurred in connection with any such defects or errors on our platform, or other liabilities relating to or arising from our platform. In addition, sustained or recurring disruptions in our platform or its underlying technology could adversely affect our and our partners’ compliance with applicable regulations and accrediting body standards.

Further, if we fail to accurately predict the rate or timing of the growth of our platform, we may be required to incur significant additional costs to maintain reliability. We also depend on the development and maintenance of the Internet infrastructure, including maintenance of reliable Internet networks with the necessary speed, data capacity and security. If we experience failures in our technology infrastructure or do not expand our technology infrastructure successfully, then our ability to attract and retain partners and learners, our growth prospects, and our business would suffer.

We have experienced, and expect that in the future we will experience, interruptions, delays, and outages in service and availability from time to time due to a variety of factors, including infrastructure changes, human or software errors, website hosting disruptions, and capacity constraints, which could affect the availability of services on our platform and prevent or inhibit the ability of learners to access or complete courses and programs on our platform. In particular, our technology infrastructure is currently hosted by third-party data center facilities operated by Amazon Web Services (“AWS”). Any disruption in its services, or any failure of AWS or any future third-party provider to handle the demands of our platform, could significantly harm our business and damage our reputation. We do not have control over the operations of the facilities of the third-party providers that we use, and these facilities may be vulnerable to damage or interruption from natural disasters, cybersecurity attacks, terrorist attacks, power outages, and similar events or acts of misconduct.

If we do not maintain the compatibility of our learning management platform with third-party applications that our customers use, our revenue will decline.

A number of our customers integrate our learning management platform with certain learning management systems or learning experience platforms using application programming interfaces (“APIs”) for user management, usage reporting, and content listings and we expect this number of customers to grow. The functionality and popularity of our platform depends, in part, on our ability to integrate our platform with third-party applications and software. Third-party providers of applications may change the features of their applications and software, restrict our access to their applications and software or alter the terms governing use of their applications and access to those applications and software in an adverse manner. Such changes could functionally limit or terminate our ability to use these third-party applications and software in conjunction with our platform, which could negatively impact our offerings and harm our business. If we fail to integrate our platform with new third-party applications and software that our learners and partners can utilize, we may not be able to offer the functionality that our learners and partners need, which would negatively impact our ability to generate revenue and adversely impact our business.

Our payments system depends on third-party providers and is subject to evolving laws and regulations.

We rely on third-party payment processors to process payments made by learners on our platform. We have engaged third-party service providers to perform underlying card processing, currency exchange, identity

 

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verification, and fraud analysis services. If these service providers do not perform adequately or if they terminate their relationships with us or refuse to renew their agreements with us on commercially reasonable terms, we will need to find an alternate payment processor and may not be able to secure similar terms or replace such payment processors in an acceptable timeframe. Further, the software and services provided by our third-party payment processors may not meet our expectations, contain errors or vulnerabilities, be compromised or experience outages. Any of these risks could cause us to lose our ability to accept online payments, make payments to our partners, or conduct other payment transactions, any of which could make our platform less convenient and attractive and harm our ability to attract and retain partners and learners. In addition, if these providers increase the fees they charge us, our operating expenses could increase.

The laws and regulations related to payments are complex and vary across different jurisdictions in the United States and globally. As a result, we are required to spend significant time and effort to comply with those laws and regulations. Any failure or claim of our failure to comply, or any failure by our third-party service providers to comply, could cost us substantial resources, could result in liabilities, or could force us to stop offering certain third-party payment services. In addition, as we expand our international operations, we will need to accommodate international payment method alternatives. As we expand the availability of new payment methods in the future, including internationally, we may become subject to additional regulations and compliance requirements.

Further, through our agreement with our third-party credit card processors, we are indirectly subject to payment card association operating rules and certification requirements, including the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. We are also subject to rules governing electronic funds transfers. Any change in these rules and requirements could make it difficult or impossible for us to comply. If we fail to comply with these rules or requirements, we may be subject to additional fines and higher transaction fees and lose our ability to accept credit and debit card payments from our learners, process electronic funds transfers or facilitate other types of online payments, and our business and operating results could be adversely affected.

Our business depends to a significant degree on continued access to the Internet and mobile networks.

Our partners and learners rely on access to the Internet and mobile networks to access our platform. Internet service providers may choose to disrupt or degrade our access to our platform or increase the cost of such access. Internet service providers or mobile network operators could also attempt to charge us for providing access to our platform. Although the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) recently approved new rules that would prohibit Internet service providers from charging content providers higher rates in order to deliver their content over certain “fast traffic” lanes, these rules will not go into effect until later this year and could be subject to legal challenge or statutory preemption, which could delay or prevent implementation. If the FCC’s rules are not implemented, our business could be adversely impacted. Outside of the United States, government regulation of the Internet, including the idea of network neutrality, may be developing or non-existent. As a result, we could face discriminatory or anti-competitive practices that could impede our growth prospects, increase our costs, and harm our business.

If the mobile solutions available to our learners and partners are not effective, the use of our platform could decline.

Learners have been increasingly accessing our platform on mobile devices through our app in recent years. The smaller screen size and reduced functionality associated with some mobile devices may make the use of our platform more difficult or our partners may believe that online learning through such mobile devices is not effective. Learners accessing our network primarily on mobile devices may not enroll in the courses or the certification, degree, or other credentialing programs offered on our platform as often as those accessing our platform through personal computers, which could result in less revenue for us. If we are not able to provide our partners with the functionality to deliver a rewarding experience on mobile devices, their ability to attract learners to their programs may be harmed and, consequently, our business may suffer.

 

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As new mobile devices and mobile features are released, we may encounter problems in developing or supporting apps for them. In addition, supporting new devices and mobile device operating systems may require substantial time and resources.

The success of our mobile apps could also be harmed by factors outside our control, such as:

 

   

actions taken by mobile app distributors;

 

   

unfavorable treatment received by our mobile apps, especially as compared to competing apps, such as the placement of our mobile apps in a mobile app download store;

 

   

increased costs in the distribution and use our mobile app; or

 

   

changes in mobile operating systems, such as iOS and Android, that degrade the functionality of our mobile website or mobile apps or that give preferential treatment to competitive offerings.

If our partners or customers, including learners, encounter difficulty accessing or using, or if they choose not to use, our mobile platform, our growth prospects and our business may be adversely affected.

Our use and processing of personal information and other data is subject to laws and obligations relating to privacy and data protection, and our failure to comply with such laws and obligations could harm our business.

In the ordinary course of business, and in particular in connection with merchandising our service to our learners, we collect, process, store and use personal information and data supplied by learners. Numerous federal, state, and foreign laws, rules and regulations govern privacy, data protection, and the collection, use and protection of personal information and other types of data we collect, use, disclose, and otherwise process. These laws, rules, and regulations are constantly evolving, and we expect that there will continue to be new proposed laws, regulations, and industry standards concerning privacy, data protection and information security in the United States, the EU and other jurisdictions.

For example, California has adopted the California Consumer Privacy Act (the “CCPA”), which provides new data privacy rights for California consumers and new operational requirements for covered companies. The CCPA provides that covered companies must provide new disclosures to California consumers and afford such consumers new data privacy rights that include the right to request a copy from a covered company of the personal information collected about them, the right to request deletion of such personal information, and the right to request to opt-out of certain sales of such personal information. The CCPA became operative in January 2020, and its implementing regulations took effect in August 2020. The California Attorney General can enforce the CCPA, including seeking an injunction and civil penalties for violations. The CCPA provides a private right of action for certain data breaches that is expected to increase data breach litigation. The CCPA may require us to modify our data practices and policies and to incur substantial costs and expenses in an effort to comply. California voters also passed a new privacy law, the California Privacy Rights Act (the “CPRA”), in the November 2020 election. The CPRA significantly modifies the CCPA, including by imposing additional obligations on covered companies and expanding consumers’ rights with respect to certain sensitive personal information, potentially resulting in further uncertainty and requiring us to incur additional costs and expenses in an effort to comply. The CPRA also creates a new state agency that will be vested with authority to implement and enforce the CCPA and the CPRA. In addition, all 50 states have laws including obligations to provide notification of security breaches of computer databases that contain personal information to affected individuals, state officers and others. Aspects of the CCPA, the CPRA, and other laws and regulations relating to data protection, privacy, and information security, as well as their enforcement, remain unclear, and we may be required to modify our practices in an effort to comply with them.

Similarly, the European Commission adopted a General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”) that became fully effective on May 25, 2018, imposing stringent EU data protection requirements. The GDPR is

 

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wide-ranging in scope and imposes numerous additional requirements on companies that process personal data, including imposing special requirements in respect of the processing of personal data, requiring that consent of individuals to whom the personal data relates is obtained in certain circumstances, requiring additional disclosures to individuals regarding data processing activities, requiring that safeguards are implemented to protect the security and confidentiality of personal data, creating mandatory data breach notification requirements in certain circumstances, and requiring that certain measures (including contractual requirements) are put in place when engaging third-party processors. The GDPR also provides individuals with various rights in respect of their personal data, including rights of access, erasure, portability, rectification, restriction, and objection.

Further, the United Kingdom’s vote in favor of exiting the European Union, often referred to as Brexit, and ongoing developments in the United Kingdom, have created uncertainty with regard to data protection regulation in the United Kingdom. As of January 1, 2021, and the expiry of transitional arrangements agreed to between the United Kingdom and the European Union, data processing in the United Kingdom is governed by a United Kingdom version of the GDPR (combining the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018), exposing us to two parallel regimes, each of which potentially authorizes similar fines and other potentially divergent enforcement actions for certain violations. Pursuant to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which went into effect on January 1, 2021, the United Kingdom and the European Union agreed to a specified period during which the United Kingdom will be treated like a European Union member state in relation to transfers of personal data to the United Kingdom for four months from January 1, 2021. This period may be extended by two further months. Unless the European Commission makes an adequacy finding in respect of the United Kingdom before the expiration of such specified period, the United Kingdom will become an inadequate third country under the GDPR and transfers of data from the European Economic Area to the United Kingdom will require a transfer mechanism, such as the standard contractual clauses. Furthermore, following the expiration of the specified period, there will be increasing scope for divergence in application, interpretation, and enforcement of the data protection law as between the United Kingdom and the European Union. Other jurisdictions outside the European Union are similarly introducing or enhancing privacy and data security laws, rules, and regulations, which could increase our compliance costs and the risks associated with noncompliance.

We cannot yet fully determine the impact these or future laws, rules, and regulations may have on our business or operations. These laws, rules and regulations may be inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another, subject to differing interpretations and may be interpreted to conflict with our practices. The CCPA and CPRA could mark the beginning of a trend toward more stringent privacy legislation in the United States. The CCPA has prompted a number of proposals for federal and state privacy legislation that, if passed, could increase our potential liability, add layers of complexity to compliance in the U.S. market, increase our compliance costs and adversely affect our business.

Additionally, we may be bound by contractual requirements applicable to our collection, use, processing and disclosure of various types of data, including personal information, and may be bound by, or voluntarily comply with, self-regulatory or other industry standards relating to these matters.

Any failure or perceived failure by us or any third parties with which we do business to comply with these laws, rules and regulations, or with other obligations to which we or such third parties are or may become subject, may result in actions against us by governmental entities or private claims and litigation. Any such action would be expensive to defend, may require the expenditure of substantial legal and other costs and substantial time and resources, may result in fines, penalties or other liabilities, and likely would damage our reputation and adversely affect our business and operating results. In many jurisdictions, enforcement actions and consequences for non-compliance with protection, privacy, and information security laws and regulations are rising. In the United States, possible consequences for non-compliance include enforcement actions in response to rules and regulations promulgated under the authority of federal agencies and state attorneys general and legislatures and consumer protection agencies. In the EU, data protection authorities may impose large penalties for violations of the data protection laws, including potential fines of up to €20 million or 4% of annual global revenue, whichever is greater. The authorities have shown a willingness to impose significant fines and issue

 

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orders preventing the processing of personal data on non-compliant businesses. Data participants also have a private right of action, as do consumer associations, to lodge complaints with supervisory authorities, seek judicial remedies, and obtain compensation for damages resulting from violations of applicable data protection laws. In addition, privacy advocates and industry groups have regularly proposed, and may propose in the future, self-regulatory standards that may legally or contractually apply to us. If we fail to follow these security standards, even if no customer information is compromised, we may incur significant fines or experience a significant increase in costs.

Further, in view of new or modified federal, state, or foreign laws and regulations, industry standards, contractual obligations, and other legal obligations, or any changes in their interpretation, we may find it necessary or desirable to fundamentally change our business activities and practices or to expend significant resources to modify our services, and otherwise adapt to these changes. We may be unable to make such changes and modifications in a commercially reasonable manner or at all, and our ability to develop new features could be limited. Privacy, data protection, and information security concerns, whether valid or invalid, may inhibit the use and growth of our platform, particularly in certain foreign countries.

Use of social media, emails, push notifications, and text messages in ways that do not comply with applicable laws and regulations, lead to the loss or infringement of intellectual property, or result in unintended disclosure may harm our reputation or subject us to fines or other penalties.

We use social media, emails, push notifications and text messages as part of our omni-channel approach to marketing. As laws and regulations evolve to govern the use of these channels, the failure by us, our employees, or third parties acting at our direction to comply with applicable laws and regulations in the use of these channels could adversely affect our reputation or subject us to fines or other penalties. In addition, our employees or third parties acting at our direction may knowingly or inadvertently make use of social media in ways that could lead to the loss or infringement of intellectual property, as well as the public disclosure of proprietary, confidential, or sensitive personal information of our business, employees, learners, partners or others. Information concerning us or our partners and learners, whether accurate or not, may be posted on social media platforms at any time and may have an adverse impact on our brand, reputation, or business. The harm may be immediate without affording us an opportunity for redress or correction and could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, operating results, financial condition, and prospects.

Risks Related to Intellectual Property

Any failure to obtain, maintain, protect or enforce our intellectual property and proprietary rights could impair our ability to protect our proprietary technology and our brand and could materially harm our business.

We rely on a combination of intellectual property rights, contractual protections, and other practices to protect our brand, proprietary information, technologies and processes. We primarily rely on copyright and trade secret laws to protect our proprietary technologies and processes, including the algorithms we use throughout our business. Others may independently develop the same or similar technologies and processes, or may improperly acquire and use information about our technologies and processes, which may allow them to provide a service similar to ours, which could harm our competitive position. Our principal trademark assets include the registered trademark “Coursera” and our logos and taglines. We also hold the rights to the “Coursera.org” Internet domain name and various related domain names, which are subject to Internet regulatory bodies and trademark and other related laws of each applicable jurisdiction. If we are unable to protect our trademarks or domain names, our brand recognition and reputation would suffer, we would incur significant expense establishing new brands and our operating results would be adversely impacted. As of December 31, 2020, we had 14 issued patents relating to technology features of our platform, including identity verification, content delivery and navigation, and automation, which patents expire between 2034 and 2038, and two U.S. pending patent applications also relating to certain technology features of our platform. We cannot predict whether any pending patent application will result in an issued patent that will

 

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effectively protect our intellectual property. Even if a patent issues, the patent may be circumvented or its validity may be challenged in proceedings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In addition, we cannot assure you that every significant feature of technology and services will be protected by any patent or patent application. Further, to the extent we pursue patent protection for our innovations, patents we may apply for may not issue, and patents that do issue or that we acquire may not provide us with any competitive advantages or may be challenged by third parties. There can be no assurance that any patents we obtain will adequately protect our inventions or survive a legal challenge, as the legal standards relating to the validity, enforceability, and scope of protection of patent and other intellectual property rights are uncertain.

Third parties may challenge any patents, copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property and proprietary rights owned or held by us or may knowingly or unknowingly infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate our patents, copyrights, trademarks, and other proprietary rights. We may be required to spend significant resources to monitor and protect our intellectual property rights, and the efforts we take to protect our proprietary rights may not be sufficient. Even if we do detect violations, we may need to engage in litigation to enforce our intellectual property rights. Any enforcement efforts we undertake, including litigation, could be time-consuming and expensive and could divert our management’s attention. In addition, our efforts may be met with defenses and counterclaims challenging the validity and enforceability of our intellectual property rights or may result in a court determining that our intellectual property rights are unenforceable. If we are unable to cost-effectively protect our intellectual property rights, then our business could be harmed. An adverse decision in any of these legal actions could limit our ability to assert our intellectual property or proprietary rights, limit the value of our intellectual property or proprietary rights or otherwise negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations. If the protection of our intellectual property and proprietary rights is inadequate to prevent use or misappropriation by third parties, the value of our brand and other intangible assets may be diminished, competitors may be able to more effectively mimic our service and methods of operations, the perception of our business and service to customers and potential customers may become confused in the marketplace and our ability to attract customers may be adversely affected.

We may be subject to intellectual property claims, which are extremely costly to defend, could require us to pay significant damages and could limit our ability to use certain technologies in the future.

Companies in the technology industry are frequently subject to litigation based on allegations of infringement or other violations of intellectual property rights. We periodically receive notices that claim we have infringed, misappropriated, or misused other parties’ intellectual property rights. To the extent we gain greater public recognition, we may face a higher risk of being the subject of intellectual property claims. Any intellectual property claims against us, with or without merit, could be time consuming and expensive to settle or litigate and could divert the attention of our management. Litigation regarding intellectual property rights is inherently uncertain due to the complex issues involved, and we may not be successful in defending ourselves in such matters.

In addition, some of our competitors have extensive portfolios of issued patents. Many potential litigants, including some of our competitors and patent holding companies, have the ability to dedicate substantial resources to enforcing their intellectual property rights. Any claims successfully brought against us could subject us to significant liability for damages and we may be required to stop using technology or other intellectual property alleged to be in violation of a third party’s rights. We also might be required to seek a license for third-party intellectual property. Even if a license is available, we could be required to pay significant royalties or submit to unreasonable terms, which would increase our operating expenses. We may also be required to develop alternative non-infringing technology, which could require significant time and expense. If we cannot license or develop technology for any allegedly infringing aspect of our business, we would be forced to limit our service and may be unable to compete effectively. Any of these results could harm our business.

 

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Confidentiality agreements with employees and others may not adequately prevent disclosure of trade secrets and proprietary information.

We have devoted substantial resources to the development of our intellectual property and proprietary rights. In order to protect our intellectual property and proprietary rights, we rely in part on confidentiality agreements with our employees, licensees, independent contractors and other advisors. These agreements may not effectively prevent disclosure of confidential information and may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized disclosure of confidential information. In addition, others may independently discover trade secrets and proprietary information, and in such cases we could not assert any trade secret rights against such parties. Costly and time-consuming litigation could be necessary to enforce and determine the scope of our proprietary rights, and failure to obtain or maintain trade secret protection could adversely affect our competitive business position.

Our use of “open source” software could negatively affect our ability to offer our solutions and subject us to possible litigation.

A substantial portion of our platform and our solutions incorporates so-called “open source” software, and we may incorporate additional open source software in the future. Open source software is generally freely accessible, usable and modifiable. Certain open source licenses may, in certain circumstances, require us: (i) to offer our solutions that incorporate the open source software for no cost; (ii) to make available source code for modifications or derivative works we create based upon, incorporating or using the open source software; and (iii) to license such modifications or derivative works under the terms of the particular open source license. If an author or other third party that distributes open source software we use were to allege that we had not complied with the conditions of one or more of these licenses, we could be required to incur significant legal expenses defending against such allegations, could be required to disclose our proprietary code and could be subject to significant damages, including being enjoined from the offering of our solutions that contained the open source software and being required to comply with the foregoing conditions, which could disrupt our ability to offer the affected solutions. We could also be subject to suits by parties claiming ownership of what we believe to be open source software. Litigation could be costly for us to defend, and have a negative effect on our operating results and financial condition.

Individuals that appear in content hosted on our platform may claim violation of their rights.

Faculty and learners that appear in video segments hosted on our platform may claim that proper assignments, licenses, consents, and releases were not obtained for use of their likenesses, images or other contributed content. Our partners are contractually required to ensure that proper assignments, licenses, consents, and releases are obtained for their course material, but we do not know with certainty that they have obtained all necessary rights. Moreover, the laws governing rights of publicity and privacy, and the laws governing faculty ownership of course content, are imprecise and adjudicated on a case-by-case basis, such that the enforcement of agreements to transfer the necessary rights is unclear. As a result, we could incur liability to third parties for the unauthorized duplication, display, distribution, or other use of this material. Any such claims could subject us to costly litigation and impose a significant strain on our financial resources and management personnel, regardless of whether the claims have merit. Our various liability insurance coverages may not cover potential claims of this type adequately or at all, and we may be required to alter or cease our use of such material, which may include changing or removing content from courses, or to pay monetary damages. Moreover, claims by faculty and learners could damage our reputation, regardless of whether such claims have merit.

Risks Relating to Our Existence as a Public Benefit Corporation

Although we operate as a Delaware public benefit corporation, we cannot provide any assurance that we will achieve our public benefit purpose.

As a Delaware public benefit corporation (“PBC”), we are required to produce a public benefit and to operate in a responsible and sustainable manner, balancing our stockholders’ pecuniary interests, the best

 

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interests of those materially affected by our conduct, and the public benefit identified by our certificate of incorporation. There is no assurance that we will achieve our public benefit purpose or that the expected positive impact from being a PBC will be realized, which could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, which in turn may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. See “Description of Capital Stock— Public Benefit Corporation Status.”

As a PBC, we are required to publicly disclose at least biennially on our overall public benefit performance and on our assessment of our success in achieving our specific public benefit purpose. If we are not timely or are unable to provide this report, or if the report is not viewed favorably by parties doing business with us or by regulators or others reviewing our credentials, our reputation and status as a PBC may be harmed.

If our publicly reported B Corp score declines, our reputation could be harmed and our business could suffer.

We have been certified as a B Corp through B Lab. Our business model and brand could be harmed if we are unable to maintain certification as a B Corp. B Corp status is a certification that requires us to consider the impact of our decisions on our employees, partners, learners, community, and the environment. We believe that our B Corp status enables us to strengthen our credibility and trust among our customers and partners. Whether due to our choice or our failure to meet B Lab’s certification requirements, any change in our status could create a perception that we are more focused on financial performance and no longer as committed to the values shared by B Corps. Likewise, our reputation could be harmed if our publicly reported B Corp score declines and there is a perception that we are no longer committed to the B Corp standards. Similarly, our reputation could be harmed if we take actions that are perceived to be misaligned with B Corp values. See “Description of Capital Stock—Certified B Corporation Status.”

As a PBC, our focus on a specific public benefit purpose and producing a positive effect for society may negatively impact our financial performance.

Unlike traditional corporations, which have a fiduciary duty to focus exclusively on maximizing stockholder value, our directors have a fiduciary duty to consider not only the stockholders’ interests, but also the company’s specific public benefit and the interests of other stakeholders affected by our actions. See “Description of Capital Stock—Public Benefit Corporation Status.” Therefore, we may take actions that we believe will be in the best interests of those stakeholders materially affected by our specific benefit purpose, even if those actions do not maximize our financial results. While we intend for this public benefit designation and obligation to provide an overall net benefit to us and our partners and learners, it could instead cause us to make decisions and take actions without seeking to maximize the income generated from our business, and hence available for distribution to our stockholders. Our pursuit of longer-term or non-pecuniary benefits may not materialize within the timeframe we expect or at all and may have an immediate negative effect on any amounts available for distribution to our stockholders. Accordingly, being a PBC and complying with our related obligations could harm our business, results of operations, and financial condition, which in turn could cause our stock price to decline.

Additionally, as a PBC, we may be less attractive as a takeover target than a traditional company and, therefore, your ability to realize your investment through an acquisition may be limited. PBCs may also not be attractive targets for activists or hedge fund investors because new directors would still have to consider and give appropriate weight to the public benefit along with stockholder value, and stockholders can enforce this through derivative suits. Further, by requiring the boards of directors of PBCs consider additional constituencies other than maximizing stockholder value, Delaware public benefit corporation law could potentially make it easier for a board to reject a hostile bid, even where the takeover would provide the greatest short-term financial yield to investors.

 

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Our directors have a fiduciary duty to consider not only our shareholders’ interests, but also our specific public benefit and the interests of other stakeholders affected by our actions. If a conflict between such interests arises, there is no guarantee such a conflict would be resolved in favor of our shareholders.

While directors of traditional corporations are required to make decisions they believe to be in the best interests of their shareholders, directors of a PBC have a fiduciary duty to consider not only the shareholders’ interests, but also the company’s specific public benefit and the interests of other stakeholders affected by the company’s actions. Under Delaware law, directors are shielded from liability for breach of these obligations if they make informed and disinterested decisions that serve a rational purpose. Thus, unlike traditional corporations which must focus exclusively on shareholder value, our directors are not merely permitted, but obligated, to consider our specific public benefit and the interests of other stakeholders. See “Description of Capital Stock—Public Benefit Corporation Status.” In the event of a conflict between the interests of our shareholders and the interests of our specific public benefit or our other stakeholders, our directors must only make informed and disinterested decisions that serve a rational purpose; thus, there is no guarantee such a conflict would be resolved in favor of our shareholders, which could harm our business, results of operations, and financial condition, which in turn could cause our stock price to decline.

Our focus on the long-term best interests of our company as a PBC and our consideration of all of our stakeholders, including our shareholders, learners, partners, employees, the communities in which we operate, and other stakeholders that we may identify from time to time, may conflict with short- or medium-term financial interests and business performance, which may negatively impact the value of our common stock.

We believe that focusing on the long-term best interests of our company as a public benefit corporation and our consideration of all of our stakeholders, including our shareholders, learners, partners, employees, the communities in which we operate, and other stakeholders we may identify from time to time, is essential to the long-term success of our company and to long-term shareholder value. Therefore, we have, and may in the future, make decisions that we believe are in the long-term best interests of our company and our shareholders, even if such decisions may negatively impact the short- or medium-term performance of our business, results of operations, and financial condition or the short- or medium-term performance of our common stock. Our commitment to pursuing long-term value for the company and its shareholders, potentially at the expense of short- or medium-term performance, may materially adversely affect the trading price of our common stock, including by making owning our common stock less appealing to investors who are focused on returns over a shorter time horizon. Our decisions and actions in pursuit of long-term success and long-term shareholder value, which may include changes to our platform to enhance the experience of our learners, partners, and the communities in which we operate, including by improving the trust and safety of our platform, changes in the manner in which we deliver community support, investing in our relationships with our learners, partners, and employees, investing in and introducing new offerings and services, investing in social impact initiatives consistent with our public benefit objectives, or changes in our approach to working with local or national jurisdictions on laws and regulations governing our business, may not result in the long-term benefits that we expect, in which case our business, results of operations, and financial condition, as well as the trading price of our common stock, could be materially adversely affected.

As a Delaware PBC, we may be subject to increased derivative litigation concerning our duty to balance stockholder and public benefit interest, the occurrence of which may have an adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.

Stockholders of a Delaware PBC (if they, individually or collectively, own the lesser of (i) two percent of the company’s outstanding shares, or (ii) shares with a market value of $2 million or more on the date the lawsuit is instituted) are entitled to file a derivative lawsuit claiming the directors failed to balance stockholder and public benefit interests. Such derivative suits would be subject to the exclusive forum provision in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, requiring them to be heard in the Delaware Chancery Court (or, if that court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, another federal or state court situated in the State of Delaware). This

 

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potential liability does not exist for traditional corporations. Therefore, we may be subject to the possibility of increased derivative litigation, which would require the attention of our management, and, as a result, may adversely impact our management’s ability to effectively execute our strategy. Additionally, any such derivative litigation may be costly, which may harm our financial condition and results of operations.

If we cannot maintain our company culture and public benefit commitment, our business could be harmed.

We believe that our company culture has been critical to our success. In addition, we believe that our status as a Delaware PBC and our commitment to providing global access to flexible and affordable world-class learning that supports personal development, career advancement, and economic opportunity distinguish us from our competitors and promote a relationship among our partners, learners, and employees founded on trust. However, we face a number of challenges that may affect our ability to sustain our corporate culture, including:

 

   

a need to identify, attract, reward and retain people in leadership positions in our organization who share and further our culture, values, mission, and public benefit objectives;

 

   

the increasing size and geographic diversity of our workforce, and our ability to promote a uniform and consistent culture across all our offices and employees, including in a remote work environment;

 

   

the market perception about our public benefit objectives;

 

   

competitive pressures that may divert us from our mission, vision, and values;

 

   

the continued challenges of a rapidly evolving industry; and

 

   

the increasing need to develop expertise in new areas of business that affect us.

If we are unable to maintain our company culture and demonstrate our commitment to our mission as a PBC, it could harm our business and reputation.

Risks Related to Tax, Accounting, and Operations as a Public Company

Our business may be subject to sales and other taxes.

The application of indirect taxes, such as sales and use tax, value-added tax (“VAT”), provincial taxes, goods and services tax, business tax and gross receipt tax to businesses like ours is a complex and evolving issue. For example, as of January 1, 2015, the European Union imposed an obligation on platforms to collect and remit VAT on sales of automatically downloaded digital items, and we are in the process of implementing such collection and remittance procedures. Significant judgment is required to evaluate applicable tax obligations and as a result amounts recorded are estimates and could change. In many cases, the ultimate tax determination is uncertain because it is not clear how existing statutes apply to our business. One or more states, the federal government or other countries may seek to impose additional reporting, record-keeping, or indirect tax collection obligations on businesses like ours that facilitate online commerce. For example, the U.S. Congress is currently considering the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” which would grant states the authority to require online merchants to collect sales tax on online sales at the time a transaction is completed. New taxes could also require us to incur substantial costs to capture data and collect and remit taxes. If such obligations were imposed, the additional costs associated with tax collection, remittance, and audit requirements could make accessing offerings through our platform less attractive and more costly, which could harm our business.

Amendments to existing tax laws, rules or regulations or enactment of new unfavorable tax laws, rules or regulations could have an adverse effect on our business and operating results.

Many of the underlying laws, rules and regulations imposing taxes and other obligations were established before the growth of the Internet and ecommerce. U.S. federal, state and local taxing authorities are currently reviewing the appropriate treatment of companies engaged in Internet commerce and considering changes to

 

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existing tax or other laws that could levy sales, income, consumption, use, or other taxes relating to our activities, and/or impose obligations on us to collect such taxes. If such tax or other laws, rules or regulations are amended, or if new unfavorable laws, rules or regulations are enacted, the results could increase our tax payments or other obligations, prospectively or retrospectively, subject us to interest and penalties, decrease the demand for our services if we pass on such costs to our partners or learners, result in increased costs to update or expand our technical or administrative infrastructure, or effectively limit the scope of our business activities if we decided not to conduct business in particular jurisdictions. As a result, these changes may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, and prospects.

Our ability to use our net operating loss carryforwards and certain other tax attributes may be limited.

We have incurred substantial net operating losses (“NOLs”) during our history. Unused NOLs may carry forward to offset future taxable income if we achieve profitability in the future, unless such NOLs expire under applicable tax laws. However, under the rules of Sections 382 and 383 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, if a corporation undergoes an “ownership change,” generally defined as a greater than 50% change (by value) in its equity ownership over a three-year period, the corporation’s ability to use its NOLs and other pre-change tax attributes to offset its post-change taxable income or taxes may be limited. The applicable rules generally operate by focusing on changes in ownership among stockholders considered by the rules as owning, directly or indirectly, 5% or more of the stock of a company, as well as changes in ownership arising from new issuances of stock by the company. As a result of these rules, in the event that we experience one or more ownership changes as a result of this offering or future transactions in our stock, then we may be limited in our ability to use our NOL carryforwards to offset our future taxable income, if any. In addition, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act imposes certain limitations on the deduction of NOLs generated in tax years that began on or after January 1, 2018, including a limitation on use of NOLs to offset only 80% of taxable income and the disallowance of NOL carrybacks. Although NOLs generated in tax years before 2018 may still be used to offset future income without limitation, the recent legislation may limit our ability to use our NOLs to offset any future taxable income.

Our reported results of operations may be adversely affected by changes in generally accepted accounting principles.

Generally accepted accounting principles are subject to interpretation by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the SEC and various bodies formed to promulgate and interpret appropriate accounting principles. A change in these principles or interpretations could have a significant effect on our reported results of operations and could affect the reporting of transactions completed before the announcement of a change. It is difficult to predict the impact of future changes to accounting principles or our accounting policies, any of which could negatively affect our reported results of operations.

If our internal control over financial reporting or our disclosure controls and procedures are not effective, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results, prevent fraud or file our periodic reports in a timely manner, which may cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information and may lead to a decline in our stock price.

We have been a private company and, as such, we have not been subject to the internal control and financial reporting requirements applicable to a publicly traded company. We are required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act following the later of the date we are deemed to be an “accelerated filer” or a “large accelerated filer,” each as defined in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as amended (the “Exchange Act”), or the date we are no longer an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the JOBS Act. In addition, as a public company, we will be subject to Section 404(a), which requires us to include a report on our internal controls, including an assessment of the effectiveness of our internal controls and financial reporting procedures. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“Section 404”) requires that we maintain effective internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures. In particular, we must perform system and process evaluations, document our controls and perform testing of our

 

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key controls over financial reporting to allow management and our independent public accounting firm to report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Our testing, or the subsequent testing by our independent public accounting firm, may reveal deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting that are deemed to be material weaknesses. If we are not able to comply with the requirements of Section 404 in a timely manner, or if we or our accounting firm identify deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting that are deemed to be material weaknesses, the market price of our stock would likely decline and we could be subject to lawsuits, sanctions or investigations by regulatory authorities, which would require additional financial and management resources.

We may encounter difficulties in the timely and accurate reporting of our financial results, which would impact our ability to provide our investors with information in a timely manner. As a result, our investors could lose confidence in our reported financial information, and our stock price could decline.

We are an emerging growth company, and any decision on our part to comply only with certain reduced reporting and disclosure requirements applicable to emerging growth companies could make our common stock less attractive to investors.

We are an “emerging growth company” as defined in the JOBS Act. We intend to take advantage of certain exemptions under the JOBS Act from various public company reporting requirements, including not being required to have our internal control over financial reporting audited by our independent registered public accounting firm pursuant to Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and any golden parachute payments not previously approved. We may take advantage of these exemptions for up to five years or until we are no longer an “emerging growth company,” whichever is earlier.

In addition, Section 107 of the JOBS Act provides that an “emerging growth company” can take advantage of an extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards. This provision allows an emerging growth company to delay the adoption of some accounting standards until those standards would otherwise apply to private companies. We have elected to use the extended transition period under the JOBS Act. Accordingly, our consolidated financial statements may not be comparable to the financial statements of public companies that comply with such new or revised accounting standards

We cannot predict if investors will find our common stock less attractive if we choose to rely on any of the exemptions afforded to emerging growth companies. If some investors find our common stock less attractive because we rely on any of these exemptions, there may be a less active trading market for our common stock and the market price of our common stock may be more volatile.

We will remain an emerging growth company until the earlier of (1) the last day of the fiscal year (a) in which the fifth anniversary of the completion of this offering occurs, (b) in which we have total annual gross revenue of at least $1.07 billion or (c) in which we become a large accelerated filer, which means that we have been public for at least 12 months, have filed at least one annual report and the market value of our common stock that is held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million as of the last day of our then-most recently completed second fiscal quarter, and (2) the date on which we have issued more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt during the prior three-year period.

We have not operated as a public company, which will require us to incur substantial costs and will require substantial management attention, and we may not be able to manage our transition into a public company effectively or efficiently.

We have never operated as a public company and will incur significant legal, accounting, and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. Our management team and other personnel will need to

 

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devote a substantial amount of time to, and we may not effectively or efficiently manage, our transition into a public company. For example, we will be subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, the applicable requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the rules and regulations of the SEC. The rules and regulations of the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) will also apply to us following this offering. To comply with the various requirements applicable to public companies, we will need to establish and maintain effective disclosure and financial controls and make changes to our corporate governance practices. If, notwithstanding our efforts to comply with these laws, regulations and standards, we fail to comply, regulatory authorities may initiate legal proceedings against us and our business may be harmed. Further, failure to comply with these rules might make it more difficult for us to obtain some types of insurance, including director and officer liability insurance, and we might be forced to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. The impact of these events could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our board of directors, on committees of our board of directors or as members of senior management. As such, we intend to invest resources to comply with evolving laws, regulations and standards, and this investment may result in increased general and administrative expenses and a diversion of management’s time and attention from revenue-generating activities to compliance activities.

We also expect that our management and other personnel will need to divert attention from other business matters to devote substantial time to the reporting and other requirements applicable to a public company. In particular, we expect to incur significant expense and devote substantial management effort to complying with the requirements of Section 404. We intend to hire additional accounting and finance personnel with system implementation experience and expertise regarding compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We may be unable to locate and hire qualified professionals with requisite technical and public company experience when and as needed. In addition, new employees will require time and training to learn our business and operating processes and procedures. If we are unable to recruit and retain additional finance personnel or if our finance and accounting team is unable for any reason to respond adequately to the increased demands that will result from being a public company, the quality and timeliness of our financial reporting may suffer, which could result in the identification of material weaknesses in our internal controls. Any consequences resulting from inaccuracies or delays in our reported consolidated financial statements could cause our stock price to decline and could harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Risks Related to This Offering and Our Common Stock

An active trading market for our common stock may not develop or be sustained and you may not be able to sell your shares at or above the initial public offering price, or at all.

There has been no public market for our common stock prior to this offering. The initial public offering price for our common stock will be determined through negotiations between the underwriters and us and may vary from the market price of our common stock following this offering. If you purchase our common stock in this offering, you may not be able to resell those shares at or above the initial public offering price, or at all. An active market in our common stock may not develop upon completion of this offering or, if it does develop, it may not be sustainable or liquid enough for you to sell your shares.

The price of our common stock could be volatile and you may not be able to resell your shares at or above our initial public offering price. Declines in the price of common stock could subject us to litigation.

Our stock price may be volatile and may decline, resulting in a loss of some or all of your investment. The trading price and volume of our common stock could fluctuate significantly in response to numerous factors, many of which are beyond our control, including:

 

   

variations in our operating results and other financial and operational metrics, including the key financial and operating metrics disclosed in this prospectus, as well as how those results and metrics compare to analyst and investor expectations;

 

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speculation in the market about our operating results;

 

   

the financial projections we may provide to the public, any changes in these projections or our failure to meet these projections;

 

   

failure of securities analysts to initiate or maintain coverage of us, changes in financial estimates or ratings by any securities analysts who follow us, or our failure to meet these estimates or the expectations of investors;

 

   

events or factors resulting from global health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, war, incidents of terrorism, or responses to these events;

 

   

announcements of new services or enhancements, strategic alliances or significant agreements, or other developments by us or our competitors;

 

   

announcements by us or our competitors of mergers or acquisitions or rumors of such transactions involving us or our competitors;

 

   

changes in management, other key personnel, or our board of directors;

 

   

disruptions in our platform due to hardware, software or network problems, security breaches, or other issues;

 

   

the strength of the global economy or the economy in the jurisdictions in which we operate, and market conditions in our industry and those affecting our partners and learners;

 

   

trading activity by our principal stockholders, including upon the expiration of contractual lock-up agreements, and other market participants, in whom ownership of our common stock may be concentrated following this offering;

 

   

price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market;

 

   

the performance of the equity markets in general and in our industry;

 

   

the operating performance of other similar companies;

 

   

actual or anticipated developments in our business or our competitors’ businesses or the competitive landscape generally;

 

   

new laws or regulations or new interpretations of existing laws, or regulations applicable to our business;

 

   

litigation or other claims against us;

 

   

the number of shares of our common stock that are available for public trading; and

 

   

any other factors discussed in this prospectus.

In addition, if the market for technology stocks or the stock market in general experiences a loss of investor confidence, the price of our common stock could decline for reasons unrelated to our business, results of operations, or financial condition. The price of our common stock might also decline in reaction to events that affect other companies, even if those events do not directly affect us. Some companies that have experienced volatility in the trading price of their stock have been the subject of securities class action litigation. If we are the subject of such litigation, it could result in substantial costs and could divert our management’s attention and resources, which could adversely affect our business.

If you purchase our common stock in this offering, you will incur immediate and substantial dilution.

The initial public offering price is substantially higher than the pro forma net tangible book value per share of our common stock immediately following this offering based on the total value of our tangible assets less our

 

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total liabilities. Therefore, if you purchased our common stock in this offering, at the initial public offering price of $31.50 per share, you would experience an immediate dilution of $26.61 per share, the difference between the price per share you pay for our common stock and our pro forma net tangible book value per share as of December 31, 2020, after giving effect to the issuance by us of 14,664,776 shares of our common stock in this offering. See “Dilution.”

Future sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market following this offering, or the perception that such sales could occur, could cause the price of our common stock to decline.

The market price of our common stock could decline as a result of substantial sales of our common stock, particularly sales by our directors, executive officers, and significant stockholders, a large number of shares of our common stock becoming available for sale, or the perception in the market that such sales could occur. Upon the closing of this offering, we will have approximately 130,271,466 shares of common stock outstanding, assuming no exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares. All of the shares of common stock sold in this offering will be freely transferable without restriction or additional registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”).

Substantially all of the remaining shares of our common stock, including all shares held by our executive officers, directors and the holders of substantially all of our equity securities, will be subject to the lock-up agreements with the underwriters of this offering described in “Underwriters.”

As a result of the lock-up agreements described in “Underwriters,” subject to the provisions of Rule 144 and Rule 701, shares of our common stock will be available for sale in the public market following this offering as follows:

 

Earliest Date Available for Sale in the Public Market

  

Number of Shares of Common Stock

The date of this prospectus.    The 15,730,000 shares of common stock sold in this offering.
The opening of trading on the fifth trading day immediately following our public release of earnings for the first quarter following the most recent period for which financial statements are included in this prospectus.    Up to an additional 5,218,788 shares of our outstanding common stock, shares of our common stock issuable on the exercise of vested stock options, and shares of our common stock underlying vested RSUs.
The opening of trading on the fifth trading day immediately following our public release of earnings for the first quarter following the most recent period for which financial statements are included in this prospectus, provided that the last reported closing price of our common stock on the NYSE was at least 33% greater than the initial public offering price per share set forth on the cover page of this prospectus for any 10 trading days out of the 15 consecutive full trading day period ending on the closing of the second full trading day immediately following such earnings release.    Up to an additional 28,748,613 shares of our outstanding common stock, shares of our common stock issuable on the exercise of vested stock options and shares of our common stock underlying vested RSUs.
The earlier of the 181st day following the date of this prospectus and the opening of trading on the third trading day immediately following our public release of earnings for the second quarter following the most recent period for which financial statements are included in this prospectus.    All remaining shares held by our equityholders.

 

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In addition, at any time with or without public notice, Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC may in their sole discretion release shares subject to such lock-up agreements prior to the expiration of the lock-up period. See “Shares Eligible for Future Sale” for additional information. As these resale restrictions end, the market price of our common stock could decline if the holders of those shares sell them or are perceived by the market as intending to sell them.

In addition, as of December 31, 2020, 35,735,008 shares were issuable upon exercise of outstanding stock options or the vesting of outstanding RSUs (including the vested stock options and vested RSUs subject to early release pursuant to the lock-up agreements described above). We intend to register all of the shares underlying outstanding options and RSUs and any shares underlying other equity incentives we may grant in the future for public resale under the Securities Act. Accordingly, after the lock-up period, these shares will be able to be freely sold in the public market upon issuance to the extent permitted by any applicable vesting requirements. Sales of stock by these equityholders or the perception that such sales could occur could adversely affect the trading price of our common stock.

Following this offering, assuming the sale of 1,065,224 shares of common stock in this offering by the selling stockholders, the holders of 72,868,846 shares of our common stock will have registration rights. See “Description of Capital Stock—Registration Rights.” Registration of these shares under the Securities Act would result in the shares becoming freely tradable without restriction under the Securities Act, except for shares held by our affiliates as defined in Rule 144 under the Securities Act, which are subject to the limitations of Rule 144. Sales of securities by any of these stockholders or the perception that such sales could occur could adversely affect the trading price of our common stock.

Future sales and issuances of our common stock or rights to purchase common stock could result in additional dilution to our stockholders and could cause the price of our common stock to decline.

We may issue additional common stock, convertible securities or other equity following the completion of this offering. We also expect to issue common stock to our employees, directors and other service providers pursuant to our equity incentive plans. Such issuances will be dilutive to investors and could cause the price of our common stock to decline. New investors in such issuances could also receive rights senior to those of holders of our common stock.

Our actual operating results may not meet our guidance or analyst or investor expectations, which would likely cause our stock price to decline.

From time to time, we may release guidance in our earnings releases, earnings conference calls, or otherwise, regarding our future performance that represent our management’s estimates as of the date of release. If given, this guidance, which will include forward-looking statements, will be based on projections prepared by our management. Projections are based upon a number of assumptions and estimates that, while presented with numerical specificity, are inherently subject to significant business, economic, and competitive uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond our control. The principal reason that we expect to release guidance is to provide a basis for our management to discuss our business outlook with analysts and investors. With or without our guidance, analysts and investors may publish or otherwise have expectations regarding our business, financial condition, and results of operations, for which we do not accept any responsibility. Guidance is necessarily speculative in nature, and it can be expected that some or all of the assumptions of the guidance furnished by us or analysts will not materialize or will vary significantly from actual results. If our actual performance does not meet or exceed our guidance or analyst or investor expectations, the trading price of our common stock is likely to decline.

If securities analysts or industry analysts downgrade our common stock, publish negative research or reports, or fail to publish reports about our business, our stock price and trading volume could decline.

The market price and trading market for our common stock will be influenced by the research and reports that industry or securities analysts publish about us, our business and our market. If one or more analysts

 

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adversely change their recommendation regarding our stock or change their recommendation about our competitors’ stock, our stock price could decline. If one or more analysts cease coverage of us or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline or become volatile.

We will have broad discretion in the use of the net proceeds to us from this offering and may not apply the proceeds in ways that increase our market value or improve our operating results.

Our management will have considerable discretion in the application of the net proceeds to us of this offering, and you will not have the opportunity, as part of your investment decision, to assess whether the proceeds are being used appropriately. The net proceeds to us may be used for corporate purposes that do not increase the value of our business, which could cause our stock price to decline.

We do not intend to pay dividends on our common stock, so any returns on your investment will be limited to changes in the value of our common stock.

We have never declared or paid any dividends on our common stock. We currently anticipate that we will retain future earnings for the development, operation, and expansion of our business and do not anticipate declaring or paying any dividends for the foreseeable future. In addition, if we were to enter into loan or similar agreements in the future, these agreements may contain restrictions on our ability to pay dividends or make distributions. Any return to stockholders will therefore be limited to the increase, if any, in our stock price, which may never occur.

Our directors, executive officers and principal stockholders beneficially own a substantial percentage of our stock and will be able to exert significant control over matters subject to stockholder approval.

Upon completion of this offering, our existing directors, executive officers, greater than 5% stockholders and their respective affiliates will beneficially own in the aggregate approximately 56.3% of our outstanding common stock, assuming no exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares of our common stock. Therefore, these stockholders will continue to have the ability to influence us through their ownership position, even after this offering. If these stockholders act together, they may be able to determine all matters requiring majority stockholder approval. For example, these stockholders will be able to control elections of directors, amendments of our charter documents or approval of any merger, sale of assets or other major corporate transaction. This may prevent or discourage unsolicited acquisition proposals or offers for our capital stock that other stockholders may feel are in their best interests.

Anti-takeover provisions in our charter documents and under Delaware law could make an acquisition of our company more difficult, limit attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management, and limit the market price of our common stock.

Provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, as amended and restated in connection with this offering, may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control or changes in our management. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and bylaws include provisions that:

 

   

authorize our board of directors to issue, without further action by the stockholders, shares of undesignated preferred stock with terms, rights, and preferences determined by our board of directors that may be senior to our common stock;

 

   

require that any action to be taken by our stockholders be effected at a duly called annual or special meeting and not by written consent;

 

   

specify that special meetings of our stockholders can be called only by our board of directors, the Chairman of our board of directors, our President, or our Chief Executive Officer;

 

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establish an advance notice procedure for stockholder proposals to be brought before an annual meeting, including proposed nominations of persons for election to our board of directors;

 

   

establish that our board of directors is divided into three classes, with each class serving three-year staggered terms;

 

   

prohibit cumulative voting in the election of directors;

 

   

provide that our directors may be removed only for cause;

 

   

provide that vacancies on our board of directors may be filled by a majority of directors then in office, even if less than a quorum; and

 

   

require the approval of our board of directors or the holders of at least 66 2/3% of our outstanding shares of capital stock to amend our bylaws and certain provisions of our certificate of incorporation.

These provisions may frustrate or prevent any attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management by making it more difficult for stockholders to replace members of our board of directors, which is responsible for appointing the members of our management. In addition, because we are incorporated in Delaware, we are governed by the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which generally prohibits a Delaware corporation from engaging in a broad range of business combinations with any interested stockholder for a period of three years following the date on which such stockholder became an interested stockholder. See “Description of Capital Stock—Anti-Takeover Effects of Provisions of Our Certificate of Incorporation, Our Bylaws and Delaware Law” for additional information. Further, as a PBC, we may be less attractive as a takeover target than a traditional company and, therefore, your ability to realize your investment through an acquisition may be limited. Any delay or prevention of a change of control transaction or changes in our management could cause our stock price to decline or could prevent or deter a transaction that you might support.

Our amended and restated charter and bylaws that will be in effect upon the closing of this offering will designate the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by our stockholders, and provides that federal district courts will be the sole and exclusive forum for Securities Act claims, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain what they believe to be a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, or other employees.

Our charter and bylaws that will be in effect upon the closing of this offering provide that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, to the fullest extent permitted by law, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (or, if that court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, another federal or state court situated in the State of Delaware) shall be the sole and exclusive forum for (a) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (b) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers, or other employees to us or our stockholders, (c) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law, our certificate of incorporation or our bylaws, or (d) any action asserting a claim against us governed by the internal affairs doctrine. Our charter and bylaws that will be in effect upon the closing of this offering further provide that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the federal district courts are the sole and exclusive forum for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act.

Section 27 of the Exchange Act creates exclusive federal jurisdiction over all suits brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Exchange Act or the rules and regulations thereunder. As a result, the exclusive forum provision will not apply to suits brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Exchange Act or any other claim for which the federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction. Accordingly, the exclusive forum provision does not designate the Court of Chancery as the exclusive forum for any derivative action arising under the Exchange Act, as there is exclusive federal jurisdiction in that instance, and instead designates the federal district court for the District of Delaware for such an action.

 

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Section 22 of the Securities Act creates concurrent jurisdiction for federal and state courts over all suits brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Securities Act or the rules and regulations thereunder. As a result, the enforceability of our exclusive forum provision is uncertain, and a court may determine that such provision will not apply to suits brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Securities Act or any other claim for which the federal and state courts have concurrent jurisdiction. Further, compliance with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder cannot be waived by investors in our common stock.

Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in our capital stock shall be deemed to have notice of and consented to the provisions of our certificate of incorporation described above. This choice of forum provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers, or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and our directors, officers, or other employees. Alternatively, if a court were to find these provisions of our bylaws inapplicable to, or unenforceable in respect of, one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations and result in a diversion of the time and resources of our management and board of directors.

 

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SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This prospectus contains forward-looking statements that involve substantial risks and uncertainties. Any statements contained in this prospectus that are not statements of historical facts may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements are contained principally in “Prospectus Summary,” “Risk Factors,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Business,” but are also contained elsewhere in this prospectus. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the words “may,” “might,” “will,” “can,” “could,” “would,” “should,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “objective,” “target,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “project,” “potential,” “continue,” and “ongoing,” or the negative of these terms, or other comparable terminology intended to identify statements about the future. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to be materially different from the information expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include statements about:

 

   

trends in the higher education market and the market for online education, and expectations for growth in those markets;

 

   

the acceptance, adoption, and growth of online learning and credentialing by businesses, governments, educational institutions, faculty, learners, employers, accreditors, and state and federal licensing bodies;

 

   

the demand for, and market acceptance of, our platform;

 

   

the potential benefits of our solutions to partners and learners;

 

   

anticipated launch dates of new partner programs;

 

   

our business model;

 

   

our future financial performance, including our expectations regarding our revenue and expenses, and our ability to achieve and maintain future profitability;

 

   

our ability to expand the content and credentialing programs available on our platform and our ability to develop new platform features;

 

   

our ability to manage or sustain our growth and to effectively expand our customer base and operations, including internationally;

 

   

our ability to acquire new partners and expand program offerings with existing partners;

 

   

our ability to acquire prospective learners and to affect or increase learner enrollment and retention;

 

   

our growth strategies, plans, objectives, and goals;

 

   

our ability to compete and the future competitive landscape;

 

   

our ability to attract and retain key employees;

 

   

the scalability of our platform and operations;

 

   

our ability to develop and protect our brand;

 

   

the increased expenses associated with being a public company;

 

   

our anticipated uses of net proceeds from this offering;

 

   

the size of our addressable markets, market share, and market trends;

 

   

the affordability and convenience of our platform;

 

   

the effect of COVID-19 on our business and operations, including the demand for online learning following the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

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our ability to obtain, maintain, protect, and enforce our intellectual property and proprietary rights and successfully defend against claims of infringement, misappropriation, or other violations of third-party intellectual property;

 

   

the availability of capital to grow our business;

 

   

our ability to successfully defend any future litigation brought against us;

 

   

our ability to implement, maintain, and improve effective internal controls;

 

   

potential changes in laws and regulations applicable to us or our partners and our partners’ ability to comply therewith; and

 

   

the amount of time for which we expect our cash balances and other available financial resources to be sufficient to fund our operations.

These forward-looking statements reflect our management’s beliefs and views with respect to future events and are based on estimates and assumptions as of the date of this prospectus and are subject to risks and uncertainties. You should refer to the “Risk Factors” section of this prospectus for a discussion of important factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by our forward-looking statements. As a result of these factors, we cannot assure you that the forward-looking statements in this prospectus will prove to be accurate. Furthermore, if our forward-looking statements prove to be inaccurate, the inaccuracy may be material. In light of the significant uncertainties in these forward-looking statements, you should not regard these statements as a representation or warranty by us or any other person that we will achieve our objectives and plans in any specified timeframe, or at all. Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment. New risks emerge from time to time. It is not possible for our management to predict all risks, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements we may make. Given these uncertainties, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.

In addition, statements that “we believe” and similar statements reflect our beliefs and opinions on the relevant subject. These statements are based on information available to us as of the date of this prospectus. While we believe that such information provides a reasonable basis for these statements, such information may be limited or incomplete. Our statements should not be read to indicate that we have conducted an exhaustive inquiry into, or review of, all relevant information. These statements are inherently uncertain, and investors are cautioned not to unduly rely on them.

You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee that the future results, levels of activity, performance, or events and circumstances reflected in the forward-looking statements will be achieved or occur. Moreover, neither we nor any other person assumes responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of the forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements relate only to events as of the date of this prospectus. We undertake no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements for any reason after the date of this prospectus to conform these statements to actual results or to changes in our expectations, except as required by law.

You should read this prospectus and the documents that we reference in this prospectus and have filed as exhibits to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect. We qualify all of the forward-looking statements in this prospectus by these cautionary statements.

 

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INDUSTRY AND MARKET DATA

This prospectus includes statistical and other industry and market data that we obtained from industry publications and research, surveys, studies and other similar third-party sources, as well as our estimates based on such data. All of the market data and estimates used in this prospectus involve a number of assumptions and limitations, and you are cautioned not to give undue weight to such data and estimates. We believe that the information from these third-party sources is reliable; however, we have not independently verified them, and our business and the industry in which we operate is subject to a high degree of risk and uncertainty. See “Risk Factors” for additional information regarding risks that could cause results to differ materially from those expressed in the estimates made by the third-party sources and by us.

Certain information in this prospectus is based on independent or third-party sources, including:

 

1.

The Future of Jobs Report, World Economic Forum, October 2020.*

 

2.

Policy Brief: Education during COVID-19 and beyond, United Nations, August 2020.

 

3.

2020 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, Deloitte Insights.

 

4.

Federal Reserve, Bank of New York, Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit 2020:Q3, November 2020.

 

5.

Higher Education, World Bank, 2017.

 

6.

Wittgenstein Centre Human Capital Data Explorer, Lutz, Goujon, KC, Stonawski, and Stilianakis (Eds.) (2018).

 

7.

International Labour Organization Database, ILO modelled estimates—Labour force by sex and age, July 2019.

 

8.

HolonIQ, May 2020.

 

9.

The Education Commission, 2016, The Learning Generation: Investing in education for a changing world. New York: The International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity.

 

10.

World Population Prospects, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2019.

The content of the foregoing sources, except to these extent specifically set forth in this prospectus, does not constitute a portion of this prospectus and is not incorporated herein.

 

 

*

Coursera provided certain data utilized and cited in the report, including with respect to learner reskilling and upskilling efforts on personal development and self-management skills.

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

We estimate that we will receive net proceeds of approximately $426.3 million (or approximately $495.8 million if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full) from the sale of the shares of common stock offered by us in this offering, based on an assumed initial public offering price of $31.50 per share (the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus), and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. We will not receive any proceeds from the sale of shares of common stock by the selling stockholders.

A $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $31.50 per share would increase (decrease) the net proceeds to us from this offering by approximately $13.7 million, assuming that the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

Similarly, a 1.0 million share increase (decrease) in the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover of this prospectus, would increase (decrease) the net proceeds to us by approximately $29.5 million, assuming no change in the assumed initial public offering price per share, and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

The principal purposes of this offering are to increase our capitalization and financial flexibility, establish a public market for our common stock, facilitate future access to the public equity markets by us, our employees, and our stockholders, obtain additional capital to support our operations, and increase our visibility in the marketplace. Our expected use of the net proceeds to us from this offering represents our current intentions based upon our present plans and business condition. As of the date of this prospectus, we cannot predict with certainty all of the particular uses for the net proceeds to be received by us upon completion of this offering, or the amounts that we will actually spend on the uses set forth below. However, we currently intend to use the net proceeds to us from this offering primarily for general corporate purposes, including working capital, sales and marketing activities, research and development, general and administrative matters, and capital expenditures, although we do not currently have any specific or preliminary plans with respect to the use of proceeds for such purposes. We also may use a portion of the net proceeds to acquire complementary businesses, products, services, or technologies. However, we do not have agreements, commitments, or plans for any specific acquisitions at this time.

Pending the uses described above, we intend to invest the net proceeds to us from this offering in interest-bearing securities such as money market accounts, certificates of deposit, commercial paper, and guaranteed obligations of the U.S. government.

The amounts and timing of our actual use of the net proceeds to us will vary depending on numerous factors, including our ability to gain access to additional financing, the pace of our operational expansion relative to revenue growth, and the relative success and cost of our research and development programs. As a result, our management will have broad discretion in the application of the net proceeds to us, and investors will be relying on our judgment regarding the application of our net proceeds from this offering. In addition, we might decide to slow, postpone, or not pursue certain operational expansion and development activities if the net proceeds to us from this offering and any other sources of cash are less than expected.

 

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DIVIDEND POLICY

We have never declared or paid cash dividends on our common stock. We do not anticipate declaring or paying, in the foreseeable future, any cash dividends on our common stock. We currently intend to retain all available funds and any future earnings to support our operations and finance the growth and development of our business. Any future determination related to our dividend policy will be made at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon, among other factors, our results of operations, financial condition, capital requirements, contractual restrictions, business prospects, and other factors our board of directors may deem relevant.

 

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CAPITALIZATION

The following table sets forth our cash and cash equivalents and our capitalization as of December 31, 2020:

 

   

on an actual basis;

 

   

on a pro forma basis, giving effect to: (1) the automatic conversion of all of our outstanding redeemable convertible preferred stock into 75,305,400 shares of our common stock immediately prior to the closing of this offering and (2) the filing and effectiveness of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation upon completion of this offering; and

 

   

on a pro forma as adjusted basis, giving effect to the pro forma adjustments described above, and giving further effect to the sale of 14,664,776 shares of our common stock by us in this offering at an assumed initial public offering price of $31.50 per share (the midpoint of the range set forth on the cover of this prospectus), after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

The pro forma and pro forma as adjusted data below are illustrative only, and our capitalization following the completion of this offering will be adjusted based on the actual initial public offering price and other terms of this offering determined at pricing. You should read this table together with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes appearing elsewhere in this prospectus.

 

     As of December 31, 2020  
     Actual     Pro Forma     Pro Forma
As
Adjusted(1)
 
             (in thousands, except share and per share data)      

Cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities

   $ 285,280     $ 285,280     $ 711,626  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Redeemable convertible preferred stock, $0.00001 par value: 76,420,805 shares authorized and 75,305,400 shares issued and outstanding, actual; no shares authorized, issued or outstanding, pro forma and pro forma as adjusted

     462,293              

Stockholders’ (deficit) equity:

      

Preferred stock, $0.00001 par value: no shares authorized, issued or outstanding, actual; and 10,000,000 shares authorized and no shares issued or outstanding, pro forma and pro forma as adjusted

                  

Common stock, $0.00001 par value: 162,000,000 shares authorized, actual; 300,000,000 shares authorized, pro forma and pro forma as adjusted; 40,301,290 shares issued and outstanding, actual; 115,606,690 shares issued and outstanding pro forma; and 130,271,466 shares issued and outstanding, pro forma as adjusted

           1       1  

Additional paid-in capital

     126,408       588,700       1,015,014  

Treasury stock

     (4,701     (4,701     (4,701

Accumulated other comprehensive income

     20       20       20  

Accumulated deficit

     (343,551     (343,551     (343,551

Total stockholders’ (deficit) equity

     (221,824     240,469       666,783  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total capitalization

   $ 240,469     $ 240,469     $ 666,783  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(1)

Each $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $31.50 per share (the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus) would increase (decrease) each of the amount of cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities, additional paid-in capital, total stockholders’ deficit, and total capitalization by approximately $13.7 million, assuming the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering costs payable by us. Each 1.0 million increase (decrease) in the number

 

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  of shares offered by us as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase (decrease) each of our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities, additional paid-in capital, total stockholders’ deficit, and total capitalization by approximately $29.5 million, assuming no change in the assumed initial public offering price per share, and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. The pro forma as adjusted information set forth in the table above is illustrative only and will be adjusted based on the actual initial public offering price and other terms of this offering determined at pricing.

The number of shares of our common stock set forth in the table above is based on 115,606,690 shares of common stock outstanding as of December 31, 2020 and excludes:

 

   

32,458,408 shares of our common stock issuable upon the exercise of stock options outstanding as of December 31, 2020 granted under the Predecessor Stock Incentive Plans, at a weighted-average exercise price of $4.60 per share;

 

   

3,276,600 shares of our common stock subject to RSUs outstanding as of December 31, 2020 granted under the Predecessor Stock Incentive Plans;

 

   

8,098,484 shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under the Predecessor Stock Incentive Plans as of December 31, 2020, which shares (to the extent not subject to outstanding equity awards prior to the date the registration statement for this offering is declared effective) will no longer be available for future issuance upon completion of this offering;

 

   

15,400,000 shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under the 2021 Plan, which will become effective on the date the registration statement for this offering is declared effective, as well as any automatic increases in the number of shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under the 2021 Plan, and any shares subject to outstanding awards under the Predecessor Stock Incentive Plans after the effective date of the 2021 Plan that are subsequently (i) forfeited or terminated, (ii) not issued because such award is settled in cash, or (iii) withheld or reacquired to satisfy the applicable exercise, strike, or purchase price, or a tax withholding obligation, all of which shares shall become available for issuance under the 2021 Plan; and

 

   

2,800,000 shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under the ESPP, which will become effective on the date the registration statement for this offering is declared effective, as well as any automatic increases in the number of shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under the ESPP.

The foregoing discussion and table assumes or gives effect to:

 

   

the automatic conversion of all of our redeemable convertible preferred stock outstanding as of December 31, 2020 into an aggregate of 75,305,400 shares of our common stock immediately prior to the closing of this offering;

 

   

the filing and effectiveness of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and the adoption of our amended and restated bylaws immediately prior to the completion of this offering; and

 

   

no exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase up to 2,359,500 additional shares of our common stock from us.

 

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DILUTION

If you invest in our common stock in this offering, your ownership interest will be immediately diluted to the extent of the difference between the initial public offering price per share of our common stock and the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share of our common stock after this offering.

Our historical net tangible book value (deficit) as of December 31, 2020 was approximately $(252.3) million, or $(6.26) per share of our common stock. Our historical net tangible book value (deficit) represents our total tangible assets less our total liabilities and redeemable convertible preferred stock (which is not included within stockholders’ deficit). Historical net tangible book value (deficit) per share is our historical net tangible book value (deficit) divided by the number of shares of common stock outstanding as of December 31, 2020.

Our pro forma net tangible book value as of December 31, 2020, which gives effect to: (1) the automatic conversion of all of our outstanding redeemable convertible preferred stock into 75,305,400 shares of our common stock immediately prior to the closing of this offering and (2) the filing and effectiveness of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation upon completion of this offering, was approximately $210.0 million, or $1.82 per share of common stock.

Pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value is our pro forma net tangible book value (deficit), plus the effect of the sale of 14,664,776 shares of our common stock by us in this offering at an assumed initial public offering price of $31.50 per share (the midpoint of the range set forth on the cover of this prospectus), after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. Our pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value as of December 31, 2020 would have been approximately $637.6 million, or $4.89 per share. This amount represents an immediate increase in pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value of $3.07 per share to our existing stockholders, and an immediate dilution of $26.61 per share to new investors participating in this offering. We determine this dilution by subtracting the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering from the amount of cash that an investor participating in this offering paid for a share of common stock.

The following table illustrates this dilution on a per share basis:

 

Assumed initial public offering price per share

     $ 31.50  

Historical net tangible book value (deficit) per share as of December 31, 2020

   $ (6.26  

Pro forma increase in net tangible book value (deficit) per share as of December 31, 2020 before giving effect to this offering

   $ 8.08    
  

 

 

   

Pro forma net tangible book value per share as of December 31, 2020

   $ 1.82    

Increase in pro forma net tangible book value per share attributable to investors participating in this offering

     3.07                     
  

 

 

   

Pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share after giving effect to this offering

                        4.89  
    

 

 

 

Pro forma as adjusted dilution per share to investors participating in this offering

     $ 26.61  
    

 

 

 

A $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $31.50 per share (the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus) would increase (decrease) the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering by approximately $0.11 per share and the dilution to investors participating in this offering by approximately $0.89 per share, assuming that the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

Similarly, a 1.0 million share increase (decrease) in the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover of this prospectus, would increase (decrease) the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share

 

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after this offering by approximately $0.19 and decrease (increase) the dilution to investors participating in this offering by approximately $0.19, assuming that the assumed initial public offering price of $31.50 per share (the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover of this prospectus) remains the same, and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

If the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full, the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value will increase to $5.33 per share, representing an immediate increase in pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value to our existing stockholders of $0.44 per share, and an immediate decrease in dilution of $0.44 per share to new investors participating in this offering, in each case assuming an initial public offering price of $31.50 per share (the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover of this prospectus).

The following table summarizes, on a pro forma as adjusted basis as of December 31, 2020, the number of shares of common stock purchased or to be purchased from us, the total consideration paid or to be paid to us, and the average price per share paid to us by our existing stockholders and paid to us by investors participating in this offering at an assumed initial public offering price of $31.50 per share (the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover of this prospectus), before deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. The table below shows the average price per share investors participating in this offering will pay compared to our existing stockholders.

 

     Shares Purchased     Total Consideration     Average
Price
Per
Share
 
     Number      Percent     Amount      Percent  

Existing stockholders

     115,606,690        88.7   $ 502,767,295        52.1   $ 4.35  

New investors participating in this offering

     14,664,776        11.3       461,940,444        47.9     $ 31.50  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

Total

     130,271,466        100     964,707,739        100   $ 7.41  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

The table above assumes no exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase up to an additional 2,359,500 shares in this offering. If the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares is exercised in full, the number of shares of our common stock held by the existing stockholders would be reduced to 87.2% of the total number of shares of our common stock outstanding after this offering, and the number of shares of common stock held by new investors participating in the offering would be increased to 12.8% of the total number of shares outstanding after this offering.

A $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $31.50 per share (the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus) would increase (decrease) the total consideration paid to us by investors participating in this offering, total consideration paid to us by all stockholders, and the average price per share paid to us by all stockholders by approximately $14.7 million, $14.7 million, and $0.11, respectively, assuming that the number of shares offered, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and before deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

Similarly, a 1.0 million share increase (decrease) in the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover of this prospectus, would increase (decrease) the total consideration paid to us by investors participating in this offering, total consideration paid to us by all stockholders, and the average price per share paid to us by all stockholders by approximately $31.5 million, $31.5 million, and $0.18, respectively, assuming the assumed initial public offering price of $31.50 per share (the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover of this prospectus) remains the same, and before deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

The dilution information set forth above is illustrative only. The pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value following this offering is subject to adjustment based on the actual initial public offering price and other

 

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terms of this offering determined at pricing. We will not receive any proceeds from the sale of shares of our common stock by the selling stockholders in this offering. Accordingly, there will be no dilutive impact as a result of such sales.

The number of shares of our common stock to be outstanding after this offering is based on 115,606,690 shares of common stock outstanding as of December 31, 2020 and excludes:

 

   

32,458,408 shares of our common stock issuable upon the exercise of stock options outstanding as of December 31, 2020 granted under the Predecessor Stock Incentive Plans, at a weighted-average exercise price of $4.60 per share;

 

   

3,276,600 shares of our common stock subject to RSUs outstanding as of December 31, 2020 granted under the Predecessor Stock Incentive Plans;

 

   

8,098,484 shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under the Predecessor Stock Incentive Plans as of December 31, 2020, which shares (to the extent not subject to outstanding equity awards prior to the date the registration statement for this offering is declared effective) will no longer be available for future issuance upon completion of this offering;

 

   

15,400,000 shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under the 2021 Plan, which will become effective on the date the registration statement for this offering is declared effective, as well as any automatic increases in the number of shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under the 2021 Plan, and any shares subject to outstanding awards under the Predecessor Stock Incentive Plans after the effective date of the 2021 Plan that are subsequently (i) forfeited or terminated, (ii) not issued because such award is settled in cash, or (iii) withheld or reacquired to satisfy the applicable exercise, strike, or purchase price, or a tax withholding obligation, all of which shares shall become available for issuance under the 2021 Plan; and

 

   

2,800,000 shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under the ESPP, which will become effective on the date the registration statement for this offering is declared effective, as well as any automatic increases in the number of shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under the ESPP.

The foregoing discussion and table assumes or gives effect to:

 

   

the automatic conversion of all of our redeemable convertible preferred stock outstanding as of December 31, 2020 into an aggregate of 75,305,400 shares of our common stock immediately prior to the closing of this offering;

 

   

the filing and effectiveness of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and the adoption of our amended and restated bylaws immediately prior to the completion of this offering; and

 

   

no exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase up to 2,359,500 additional shares of our common stock from us.

To the extent that additional options or other securities are issued under our equity incentive plans, or we issue additional shares of common stock in the future, there will be further dilution to investors participating in this offering. In addition, we may choose to raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities due to market conditions or strategic considerations even if we believe we have sufficient funds for our current or future operating plans. To the extent we issue additional shares of common stock or other equity or convertible debt securities in the future, there will be further dilution to investors participating in this offering.

 

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MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with the audited consolidated financial statements and related notes and other financial information included elsewhere in this prospectus. This discussion contains forward-looking statements based upon our current plans, expectations and beliefs, which involve risks and uncertainties. See “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.” Our actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including those set forth under “Risk Factors” and in other parts of this prospectus.

Overview

Coursera is one of the largest online learning destinations in the world, connecting an ecosystem of learners, educators, and institutions with a platform of high-quality content and credentials, data, and technology.

As shifts to the digital economy are increasing the need for new skills, Coursera’s online learning offerings can meet this global demand and provide access to world-class learning to learners and institutions worldwide. We partner with over 200 leading global university and industry partners to create and distribute content that is modular, stackable, flexible, and affordable. As of December 31, 2020, more than 77 million learners had registered on our platform to engage with a wide range of offerings from Guided Projects to bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. As of December 31, 2020, over 2,000 organizations were paying Coursera for Business customers, and in 2020 more than 4,000 colleges and universities launched free online learning programs through Coursera for Campus during the COVID-19 pandemic, and over 300 governments and governmental agencies around the world used Coursera for Government to upskill and reskill their civil servants and citizens.

Our goal is to bring world-class learning from leading educators to learners and institutions worldwide. We began with free online courses, and over time, expanded to provide a range of learning offerings including Guided Projects, courses, Specializations, certificates, and degrees. We source this content by partnering with leading universities and companies and utilizing our technology platform to deliver high-quality content and credentials that are affordable, accessible, and flexible. We announced the first Degrees program to be hosted on our platform in 2015, partnering with universities to fully deliver online bachelor’s and master’s degrees to a global learner audience. In 2016, we launched our Enterprise offering with Coursera for Business, helping businesses upskill and reskill their employees. We followed that with Coursera for Government, an offering to help governments upskill their public servants and reskill their citizens to be job-ready in a digital economy. In 2019, we launched Coursera for Campus, an offering to help academic institutions deliver ready-made, high-quality online courses to their students.

Our go-to-market strategy centers on leveraging the Coursera brand and our partners’ brands along with our large catalog of high-quality, free content to attract learners to Coursera efficiently. Our learners have the opportunity to engage with many of our offerings on both a freemium basis (using an audit option that allows unlimited time access but with fewer features) and a free trial basis (which allows for limited time access but with nearly full functionality). Once we attract learners to Coursera, our data-driven learner experience connects learners to courses, certificates, and degree programs tailored to them through a personalized discovery and nurture system and identifies whether they are a potential Enterprise prospect. In 2020, approximately 50% of our new Degrees students were previously registered Coursera learners and over 30% of our Coursera for Enterprise leads were sourced from our Consumer platform. Our enterprise sales and account management teams identify and engage with potential business, academic, and government customers around the world with the goal of landing and expanding these customers. We have experienced rapid growth in recent periods. Our revenue was $184.4 million and $293.5 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, respectively, representing annual growth of approximately 59%.

 

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We generated a net loss for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020 of $46.7 million and $66.8 million, respectively, which included $16.3 million and $16.8 million, respectively, of stock-based compensation, and a net loss margin for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020 of (25)% and (23)%, respectively. Our adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin as a percentage of revenue were $(26.9) million and (15)%, and $(39.8) million and (14)%, for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, respectively. See “Summary Consolidated Financial Data—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for more information and for a reconciliation of net loss and net loss margin, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures, to adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin.

Our History

Since our launch in 2012, we have built one of the largest platforms for adult online learning worldwide.

 

 

LOGO

Our History Fall 2011 Aug 2016 Free open online May 2015 Coursera Jan 2017 Mar 2018 courses launched Jan 2013 First Master’s for Coursera for First Bachelor’s Oct 2019 Feb 2020 May 2020 out of Stanford First paid certificate Degree Business Governments Degree Coursera Coursera Coursera University (before offering (with announced (iMBA (Enterprise & Nonprofit announced for Plus launched Coursera was financial aid from the University offering) Organizations (ULondon, Campus unlimited Guided officially founded) available from day 1) of Illinois) launched launched BSCS) launched subscription Projects April 2012 Jan 2014 Dec 2016 Jan 2018 Aug 2019 Mar 2020 Apr 2020 Coursera First Industry Google IT Coursera Coursera for Helping launched Specializations Partners Support Labs Campus made governments launched started Professional launched, free as part of respond to the creating Certificate incl. Rhyme Coronavirus unemployment content launched acquisition response crisis caused by initiatives the Coronavirus 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

Our Business Model

Coursera is a platform that enables a global ecosystem of educators, learners, and institutions. Coursera serves learners in their homes, through their employers, through their colleges and universities, and through government-sponsored programs. We provide a broad range of learning offerings: Guided Projects, courses, Specializations, certificates, and degrees. Our go-to-market strategy centers on efficiently attracting learners to our platform and connecting them to content and degree programs tailored to them, after which our data-driven learner experience identifies potential Enterprise prospects, complemented by our direct sales team which finds and engages with potential business, academic, and government customers.

Our freemium offerings, large registered learner base, and stackable model enable favorable customer acquisition economics. Our sales and marketing expenses as a percentage of annual revenue were 31% in 2019 and 37% in 2020, as we grew total revenue 59% from 2019 to 2020. Our participation in numerous channels (Consumer, Enterprise, and Degrees) allows us to leverage technology, data, content, and know-how at scale.

Consumer

Coursera’s Consumer offerings target individuals seeking to obtain hands-on learning, gain valuable job skills, receive professional-level certifications, and otherwise increase their knowledge and advance their careers. We built our broader business model from our original Consumer offering. Our large learner base attracts top educator partners, allows us to source Enterprise and Degrees leads, provides data and insights, increases operating scale, improves search engine optimization performance, and produces favorable economics.

 

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Our Consumer learners come to the Coursera platform through direct marketing channels such as email, affiliate marketing, and online advertising, and indirect marketing channels such as search engine optimization, public relations, television advertising, and word-of-mouth. They often begin to engage with the platform via our freemium offering by taking one of over 4,500 courses for free. Learners who become paying customers can gain access to graded assignments and assessments and can receive a certificate of completion after finishing a course. With our stackable model, completion of a stand-alone course can count as progress towards a broader program of study, such as a Specialization, Professional Certificate, or university degree. Our flexible model allows learners to complete certain courses in less than a week. We attempt to upsell and retain our learners by delivering timely, personalized suggestions—both on-platform and via off-platform channels, including email—of content that might be most relevant to them. We source our educational content by partnering with leading universities and companies. We pay these partners a percentage of revenue that we earn from our learners’ use of their educational content.

Learners on our Consumer platform pay either one time for a single Course or Project or on a subscription basis for multi-course offerings. A summary of our Consumer offerings and pricing as of December 31, 2020 is below:

 

Learning Offering

   Payment Basis    Duration*    Price

Guided Projects

   One-time    Less than 2 hours    $10

Courses

   One-time    4-6 weeks    Free - $99

Specializations

   Upfront, Subscription    3-6 months    $39 - $99 / month

Professional Certificates

   Upfront, Subscription    3-9 months    $39 - $99 / month

Coursera Plus

   Subscription    Monthly, Annually    $399 / year

 

*

Learning offerings are designed for completion within the periods listed; actual time to completion varies by learner. Learners may also access certain courses, Specializations, and Professional Certificates through a Coursera Plus subscription.

Our Consumer learners also represent an important “top-of-the-funnel” source of potential customers for our Enterprise and Degrees offerings. The ability to source these customers from our total Consumer pool materially decreases our overall customer acquisition costs—in 2020, approximately 50% of our new Degrees students were previously registered Coursera learners and over 30% of our Coursera for Enterprise leads were sourced from the Consumer platform. Additionally, the data from our Consumer ecosystem helps drive Enterprise marketing efficiency. Related insights, especially on how a company’s skill proficiencies stack up relative to peers based on the aggregated learning behaviors of learners working at a given company, help us reach prospects with targeted skill development solutions.

In the year ended December 31, 2020, over 30.2 million new learners registered on Coursera, representing a 65% year-on-year increase from the approximately 46.4 million learners who were registered as of December 31, 2019.

For the year ended December 31, 2020, our revenue from Consumer learners totaled $192.9 million, representing a 59% year-on-year increase from December 31, 2019.

Enterprise

We derive substantially all of our Enterprise revenue from the sale of subscriptions to institutional customers. Subscription terms typically range from one to three years and include a fixed number of seat licenses, each of which provides one learner access to all or a portion of our catalog for one year. Nearly all of our subscriptions to Enterprise services are billed in quarterly or annual installments.

Our team identifies and engages with potential Enterprise customers. Once an Enterprise customer has adopted our platform, we focus on expanding our relationships with existing customers and on driving continued use of our offerings. We source our Enterprise leads through a combination of field marketing and leveraging our existing registered learner base. We expand our relationships with existing Enterprise customers through

 

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increasing the number of license seats. We sell subscriptions to our platform to Enterprise customers primarily through our direct sales team, though as discussed in the Consumer section, our Consumer learner base provides substantial customer acquisition efficiency and insights.

We generate Enterprise revenue through three main offerings: Coursera for Business, Coursera for Campus, and Coursera for Government.

Coursera for Business. We generate most of our Coursera for Business revenue on a seat license subscription basis through our Enterprise Plan. Smaller businesses or larger businesses seeking to retrain a subset of their workforce can also access our Coursera for Business Teams Plan directly through our website and pay via debit or credit card or bank transfer.

Coursera for Campus. We offer subscriptions to our college and university customers with either a fixed number of licenses or enrollments per campus or a fixed contract with unlimited learners. Coursera for Campus enables customers to begin with a freemium offering, such as Coursera for Campus Basic, which gives universities and students unlimited access to Guided Project enrollments and one course enrollment per student per year for up to 20,000 students to enable trial before purchase.

Coursera for Government. We offer Government customers a fixed subscription per licensed user per year. We have developed a large Government pipeline from the COVID-19-related free trial offered in 2020, and expect to continue to help governments educate and reskill their populations.

For the year ended December 31, 2020, revenue from our Enterprise channel totaled $70.8 million, representing a 47% year-on-year increase from December 31, 2019.

Degrees

Coursera partners with universities worldwide to develop and deliver fully online bachelor’s and master’s degrees to a global learner audience. After a Degrees program is live on our platform, universities admit students and pay us a percentage fee based on the online student tuition in a given period. Our Degrees partner contracts generally have initial terms between two to ten years in length. We continue to offer all of the degrees we have launched since inception. The primary driver of our Degrees revenue is the number of students enrolled in online Degrees programs on Coursera. Enrollments in online Degrees programs are driven by:

 

   

Our ability to increase the number of degrees offered by our partners, either by adding new degree partners or by expanding the number of degree programs offered by existing partners;

 

   

Our ability to identify and acquire prospective students for degree programs; and

 

   

Our ability, and that of our partners, to retain the students who enroll in their degree programs through high-quality content and optimal learner experiences.

As of December 31, 2020, we partnered with 13 universities to offer 26 bachelor’s and master’s programs with over 11,000 enrolled Degrees students across institutions, including Arizona State University, the University of Illinois, The University of London (the “University of London”), University of Michigan, and University of Pennsylvania (“UPenn”). Approximately 8,000 new Degrees students matriculated in 2020, as compared to approximately 4,800 new Degrees students in 2019. We calculate our average acquisition cost for Degrees students by aggregating directly attributable marketing costs and dividing by the total number of new students. Our average Degrees student acquisition cost was under $2,000 over the two years ended December 31, 2020.

For the year ended December 31, 2020, our revenue from Degrees totaled $29.8 million, representing a 97% year-on-year increase from December 31, 2019.

 

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Our Attractive Cohort Characteristics

Consumer

We define a Coursera registrant cohort as all Coursera learners who registered for the first time in a given calendar year. For example, the 2018 cohort includes all learners who registered on Coursera for the first time between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018. The chart below reflects the cash receipts generated from Consumer offerings for the years ended December 31, 2016 through 2020 by Coursera registrant cohort. We encourage learners to remain on our platform by continuing to suggest new and relevant courses as well as expanding our offerings.

Annual Consumer Cash Receipts by Coursera Registrant Cohort $M

 

 

LOGO

$220 $200 $180 $160 $140 $120 $100 $80 $60 $40 $20 $0 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 s 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

Our cohorts usually experience a drop in cash receipts from Consumer offerings after the first year, typical of a new Coursera registrant cohort exploring a new offering. However, many of our learners across cohorts remain customers for a number of years and continue to make purchases in subsequent years. These cohorts also provide value to our other revenue lines. For the year ended December 31, 2020, more than 50% of our Consumer offering cash receipts came from individual learners who were registered on our platform as of December 31, 2019.

Enterprise

We have a history of attracting new Enterprise customers and expanding their use of the platform over time. We calculate annual recurring revenue (“ARR”) by annualizing each customer’s monthly recurring revenue (“MRR”) for the most recent month at period end. We define an Enterprise cohort as Enterprise customers that purchase Coursera via our direct sales force and who purchased their first subscription with us in a given year. For example, the year 2018 cohort represents all Enterprise customers that purchased their first subscription from us via our direct sales force between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018. These customers represented approximately 85% of our Enterprise ARR for the year ended December 31, 2020. We exclude from these cohorts our Enterprise customers who do not purchase Coursera via our direct sales force such as organizations engaging on our platform through our Coursera for Teams offering or through our channel partners. We track cohort behavior for customers served by our direct sales force because we are able to directly manage those customer relationships.

 

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The chart below illustrates the total ARR for our 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 Enterprise cohorts. Our 2017 Enterprise cohort combines all customer cohorts that purchased their first subscription from us on or prior to December 31, 2017.

Enterprise ARR by Enterprise Cohort $M

 

 

LOGO

$80M $60M $40M $20M $0M 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2017 & Earlier 2018 2019 2020

Our Enterprise cohorts have expanded over time as the number of license seats increased. Our Enterprise revenue is also predictable, given its subscription business model. For the year ended December 31, 2020, 79% of our Enterprise revenue came from Enterprise customers who were on our platform as of December 31, 2019.

Degrees

We define a Degrees program cohort as the Degrees programs that generate revenue for the first time in a given calendar year. For example, the 2018 Degrees cohort includes all programs that generated Coursera revenue for the first time between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018. As a Degrees program continues, we focus on adding an increasing number of new students to each degree in successive years and as a result, each cohort of Degrees programs typically generates higher revenue over time. We began recognizing revenue for Degrees in 2017.

 

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The chart below illustrates the total revenue of each Degrees cohort for each calendar year through 2020.

Degrees Annual Revenue by Degrees Program Cohort $M

 

 

LOGO

Degrees Annual Revenue by Degrees Program Cohort $M $30 $25 $20 $15 $10 $5 $0 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2017 & Prior 2018 2019 2020

A significant portion of Degrees students entering our university partners’ programs are existing registered Coursera learners. For the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, approximately 59% and 50% of new Degrees students were previously registered Coursera learners, respectively. New Degrees students coming from our registered learner base spanned cohorts originating over many years, as illustrated in the following chart.

New Degrees Students from Registered Learner Cohort

 

 

LOGO

Total New Degrees Students 1.7K 4.8K 8.1K New Degrees Students from registered learners 1.0k Degree Students from registered learner base 2.8k Degree Students from registered learner base 4.1k Degree Students from registered learner base Year of Registered Learner Cohort 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012

Our Degrees cohorts expand over time as new students join each degree program in subsequent years. Full run-rate revenue for a degree is typically reached after the program has been active for a few years. Our Degrees revenue is highly predictable; for the year ended December 31, 2020, 98% of our Degrees revenue came from Degrees programs that were live on our platform as of December 31, 2019.

Factors Affecting Our Performance

We believe that the growth of our business and our future success are dependent upon many factors. While each of these factors presents significant opportunities for us, these factors also pose challenges that we must successfully address in order to sustain the growth of our business and enhance our results of operations.

 

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Ability to attract and engage new learners, Enterprise customers, and Degrees students

In order to grow our business, we must attract new learners, Enterprise customers and Degrees students efficiently and increase engagement on our platform over time. Our Consumer learners are the most important source of our overall learner base, as they contribute to our Enterprise and Degrees revenue. As of December 31, 2020, more than 77 million learners from more than 190 countries had registered on Coursera, and we had attracted over 2,000 Enterprise customers to our platform. We added approximately 30.2 million learners during the year ended December 31, 2020, representing annual growth of our total learner base of 65%.

We acquire a substantial portion of our learners via organic channels and also use paid marketing to further enhance the growth of our learner base. Of the 30.6 million learners who joined the platform during the year ended December 31, 2020, approximately 84% originated from organic channels. Once we bring new learners onto our platform, we work to create a best-in-class experience to encourage engagement and drive learning and career outcomes.

Ability to source in-demand content from our educator partners

We believe that learners and enterprises are attracted to Coursera largely because of the high quality and wide selection of content our educator partners offer, and that continuing to source in-demand content and credentials from our educator partners—from Courses to Degrees—will be an important factor in attracting free and paid customers and increasing our revenue over time.

We believe that our reach, scale, and reputation provide an attractive value proposition for leading institutions to partner with Coursera to develop and distribute content and credentials. To be the platform of choice for educator partners, we continue to invest in increasing the size and engagement of our learner base, improving recommendation and personalization features, developing marketing capabilities that drive higher conversion into paid offerings, and improving the analytics tools available for learners, educators, and institutions. We experienced minimal turnover among university and industry partners in 2019 and 2020.

Impact of mix shift over time

Our mix of business amongst our Consumer, Enterprise, and Degrees channels is shifting, and this shift will affect our financial performance.

We incur content costs in the form of a fee paid to our university and industry partners, determined as a percentage of total revenue generated from their content. These costs totaled $70.4 million in 2019 and $108.2 million in 2020, or 38.2% and 36.9% of total annual revenue, respectively. These costs, which are included in our cost of revenue, vary significantly for our different offerings. For the year ended December 31, 2020, content costs as a percentage of revenue averaged 44.8% for our Consumer offerings and 30.8% for our Enterprise offerings. We incur no content costs for our Degrees offerings since our university partners pay us a percentage of learner tuition.

If either our Degrees or Enterprise revenue grow faster than our Consumer revenue, which we presently expect, our overall margins will benefit from this shift in revenue mix.

Ability to convert free learners to paid learners

New learners to our platform typically begin to engage with our free courses, which serve as a funnel to grow our total learner base and drive referrals to our other offerings, including our paid offerings. Through both our on-platform and off-platform marketing efforts, we engage our free learners by highlighting key features that encourage conversion to our paid offerings. These efforts include campaigns targeting existing learners, personalized recommendations, and performance marketing across leading social media platforms. Of the approximately 46 million registered learners on our platform as of December 31, 2019, approximately 2.3 million had paid for a course or offering. As of December 31, 2020, of the approximately 77 million registered learners on our platform, approximately 3.6 million had paid for a course or offering.

 

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Ability to expand our international footprint

We generated 51% of our revenue outside the United States during both of the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020. We see a significant opportunity to expand our offerings into other regions, particularly in regions with large underserved adult learning populations. We have invested, and plan to continue to invest, in personnel and marketing efforts to support our international growth and expand our international operations as part of our strategy to grow our customer and learner base, particularly among our Enterprise customers.

Ability to retain and expand our Enterprise customer relationships

Our efforts to grow our Enterprise business are focused primarily on business, academic and government customers. We believe a significant opportunity exists for us to expand our existing customers’ use of our platform by identifying new use cases in additional departments and divisions and increasing the size of deployments. Our business and results of operations will depend in part on our ability to retain and expand usage of our platform within our existing customer base.

Our investment in growth

We are actively investing in our business. In order to support our future growth and expanding set of offerings, we expect this investment to continue. We anticipate that our operating expenses will increase as we continue to build our sales and marketing efforts, expand our employee base, and invest in our technology development. The investments we make in our platform are designed to grow our revenue opportunity and to improve our operating results in the long term.

Impact of COVID-19

In December 2019, an outbreak of the COVID-19 virus was first identified and began to spread across the globe. In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, impacting many countries around the world. Governments have instituted lockdown or other similar measures to slow infection rates. Many organizations have resorted to mandating employees to work from home, and schools, colleges, and universities globally have also closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is severe, widespread, and continues to evolve, it has accelerated the need for online-delivered education. Both individuals and institutions have relied and are continuing to rely on online learning to navigate change and disruption. As a result, our revenue significantly increased due primarily to an increase in the number of enrollments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Likewise, we have experienced a significant increase in our operating costs associated with our services, primarily driven by our freemium offerings and marketing efforts. As the pandemic made remote work and online learning more widespread, it is uncertain what impact the tapering of the COVID-19 pandemic could have on our operating results. Once COVID-19 wanes, our growth rates may increase or decrease. The full extent of the impact of the pandemic and its aftermath on our operations, key metrics, and financial performance depends on future developments that are uncertain and unpredictable, including the duration and spread of the pandemic, its impact on capital and financial markets, and any new information that may emerge concerning the severity of the COVID-19 virus.

Components of Results of Operations

Revenue

We derive revenue from contracts with customers for access to the learning content hosted on our platform and related services. We derive our revenue from three sources: Consumer, Enterprise, and Degrees.

Consumer and Enterprise revenue both consist primarily of subscriptions with terms varying from 30 days for Consumer subscriptions to one to three years for Enterprise license subscription contracts. Consumer

 

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subscriptions are paid in advance, generally after a 7-day free trial period. Enterprise subscriptions are generally invoiced in quarterly or annual installments. Access to our platform represents a series of distinct services, as we continually provide access to, and fulfill our obligation to, the customer over the contract term. As a result, revenue is recognized ratably over the contract term.

We are the principal with respect to revenue generated from sales to Consumer and Enterprise customers as we control the performance obligation and are the primary obligor with respect to delivering access to content.

Degrees revenue is generated from contracts with university partners for the delivery of online bachelor’s and master’s degrees awarded by the university. We earn a Degrees service fee that is determined as a percentage of the total tuition collected from Degrees students, net of refunds, by the university partner. We have a stand ready obligation to perform degree services continually throughout the period that the degree content is hosted on our platform. Degrees revenue is received and paid by the university partner for each university term. As a result, revenue generated from each term is recognized ratably from the start of a term through the start of the following term.

There is no direct contractual arrangement between Coursera and Degrees students, who contract directly with the university partners. University partners typically have additional performance obligations to the Degrees students in the form of real-time teaching, financial aid, and academic or career counseling. For these reasons, we have determined that the university partners control the delivery of degrees hosted on our platform. As a result, we recognize Degrees revenue as the service fee we receive from the university partner.

We have not observed significant fluctuations from period to period in our pricing or service fee percentage for our Enterprise and Degrees offerings, respectively, or in our course, Specialization, and certificate offerings over the periods presented.

Cost of Revenue

Cost of revenue consists of content costs in the form of fees paid to educator partners and expenses associated with the operation of our platform. These expenses include the cost of servicing both paid learner and educator partner support requests, hosting and bandwidth costs, amortization of acquired technology and internal-use software, customer payment processing fees, and allocated depreciation and facilities costs.

Content costs only apply to Consumer and Enterprise offerings; there is no content cost attributable to our Degrees offering. Content costs as a percentage of revenue are lower for our Enterprise offerings, due to a lower effective percentage payable to educator partners compared with sales to Consumer customers. We expect Enterprise and Degrees to become a larger portion of the overall business and as our mix changes the content cost will decrease as a percentage of total revenue.

Operating Expenses

Operating expenses consist of research and development, sales and marketing, and general and administrative expenses. Personnel costs are the most significant component of our operating expenses and consist of salaries, benefits, bonuses, stock-based compensation, and commissions. Our operating expenses also include allocated costs of facilities, information technology, depreciation, and amortization. Although our operating expenses may fluctuate from period to period, we currently expect our operating expenses to increase in absolute dollars over time.

Research and development. Our research and development expenses consist primarily of personnel and personnel-related costs, including stock-based compensation and costs related to the ongoing management, maintenance, and expansion of content, features, and services offered on our platform. We believe that continued investment in our platform is important to our future growth and to maintain and attract partners and learners to our platform. As a result, we expect research and development expenses to increase in absolute dollars. In addition, we expect research and development expenses as a percentage of revenue to vary from period to period but generally decrease over the long term.

 

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Sales and marketing. Our sales and marketing expenses consist primarily of personnel and personnel-related costs, including stock-based compensation and costs related to learner and partner acquisition, support efforts, and brand marketing. Sales and marketing expenses also consist of hosting and bandwidth costs and learner support costs related to the provisioning of services to free learners. We expect sales and marketing expenses to increase in absolute dollars as our business grows. In addition, we expect sales and marketing expenses as a percentage of revenue to vary from period to period but generally decrease over the long term.

General and administrative. Our general and administrative expenses consist primarily of personnel and personnel-related costs, including stock-based compensation and costs related to our legal, finance, and human resources departments, as well as indirect taxes, professional fees, and other corporate expenses.

Following the closing of this offering, we expect to incur additional expenses as a result of operating as a public company, including costs to comply with the rules and regulations applicable to companies listed on a national securities exchange, costs related to compliance and reporting obligations, and increased expenses for insurance, investor relations, and professional services. We expect general and administrative expenses to increase in absolute dollars as our business grows. In addition, we expect general and administrative expenses as a percentage of revenue to vary from period to period but generally decrease over the long term. Further, we currently expect stock-based compensation expense to increase significantly in the near term in connection with the anticipated attainment of a performance-based vesting condition of RSUs during the second quarter of 2021, and to generally increase over the longer term, as we expect equity compensation to continue to be an integral part of our overall compensation program.

Interest Income

Interest income consists primarily of interest income earned on our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities. It also includes amortization of premiums and accretion of discounts related to our marketable securities. Interest income varies each reporting period based on our average balance of cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities during the period and market interest rates.

Interest Expense

Interest expense consists primarily of interest expense recorded related to certain indirect tax liabilities and operating lease cease-use liabilities.

Other Income (Expense), Net

Other income (expense), net consists primarily of foreign exchange gains and losses.

Income Tax Expense

Our income tax provision consists primarily of income taxes in certain foreign jurisdictions in which we conduct business. We have a full valuation allowance against our U.S. federal and state deferred tax assets as the realization of the full amount of these deferred tax assets is uncertain, including net operating loss carryforwards and tax credits related primarily to research and development. We expect to maintain this full valuation allowance until it becomes more likely than not that the deferred tax assets will be realized.

 

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Results of Operations

The following table summarizes our results of operations for the periods presented. The results below are not necessarily indicative of results to be expected for future periods.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
           2019                 2020        
     (in thousands)  

Revenue

   $ 184,411     $ 293,511  

Cost of revenue(1)

     89,589       138,846  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Gross profit

     94,822       154,665  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating expenses:

    

Research and development(1)

     56,364       76,784  

Sales and marketing(1)

     57,042       107,249  

General and administrative(1)

     29,810       37,215  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

     143,216       221,248  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Loss from operations

     (48,394     (66,583

Other income (expense):

    

Interest income

     3,282       1,175  

Interest expense

     (625     (12

Other income (expense), net

     (264     120  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Loss before income taxes

     (46,001     (65,300
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income tax expense

     718       1,515  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss

   $ (46,719   $ (66,815
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(1)

Includes stock-based compensation expense as follows:

 

     Years Ended December 31,  
         2019              2020      
     (in thousands)  

Cost of revenue:

   $ 491      $ 516  

Research and development

     7,038        6,960  

Sales and marketing

     3,189        4,097  

General and administrative

     5,599        5,234  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total stock-based compensation expense

   $ 16,317      $ 16,807  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

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The following table summarizes our results of operations as a percentage of revenue for each of the periods indicated:

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
         2019             2020      

Revenue

     100     100

Cost of revenue

     49       47  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Gross profit

     51       53  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating expenses:

    

Research and development

     30       26  

Sales and marketing

     31       37  

General and administrative

     16       13  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

     77       76  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Loss from operations

     (26     (23

Other income (expense):

    

Interest income

     2       1  

Interest expense

     (1      

Other income (expense), net

            
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Loss before income taxes

     (25     (22
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income tax expense

           1  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss

     (25 )%      (23 )% 
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Comparison of the Years Ended December 31, 2019 and 2020

Revenue

 

     Year Ended December 31,      Change  
           2019                  2020            $      %  
     (dollars in thousands)  

Revenue:

           

Consumer

   $ 121,011      $ 192,909      $ 71,898        59

Enterprise

     48,262        70,784        22,522        47

Degrees

     15,138        29,818        14,680        97
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total revenue

   $ 184,411      $ 293,511      $ 109,100        59
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Revenue for the year ended December 31, 2019 was $184.4 million, compared to $293.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. Revenue increased by $109.1 million, or 59% compared to the year ended December 31, 2019. For the year ended December 31, 2019, Consumer, Enterprise, and Degrees revenue was $121.0 million, $48.3 million, and $15.1 million, or approximately 66%, 26%, and 8% of total revenue, respectively, compared to $192.9 million, $70.8 million, and $29.8 million, or approximately 66%, 24%, and 10% of total revenue, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase in revenue in 2020 was primarily driven by the 65% increase in registered learners, which resulted in a substantial number of additional paying customers, the addition of 147 Paid Enterprise Customers, and the increase in the number of Degrees students in 2020 compared to 2019. These trends accelerated in part due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the year ended December 31, 2020, total Consumer revenue increased by $71.9 million, or 59%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2019. The new learners that registered in 2020 added $80.9 million in revenue to the total revenue of $192.9 million. The remaining $112.0 million in 2020 Consumer revenue was

 

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attributable to retaining 93% of the 2019 revenue from 2019 and prior cohorts. We have not experienced significant price changes for our course, Specialization, or certificate offerings from period to period.

For the year ended December 31, 2020, total Enterprise revenue increased by $22.5 million, or 47%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2019. Approximately $14.6 million of the increase in revenue was attributable to new customers, and the remaining increase of $7.9 million was attributable to growth from existing customers. We have not made significant changes to pricing for our Enterprise offerings from period to period.

For the year ended December 31, 2020, total Degrees revenue increased by $14.7 million, or 97%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2019. The increase in average number of Degrees students per quarter added $15.0 million in revenue; this was partially offset by $0.3 million attributable to a decrease in average revenue per student per quarter. We have not experienced significant changes to our service fee percentage from period to period.

Cost of Revenue, Gross Profit and Gross Margin

 

     Year Ended December 31,     Change  
           2019                 2020           $      %  
     (dollars in thousands)  

Cost of revenue

   $ 89,589     $ 138,846     $ 49,257        55

Gross profit

   $ 94,822     $ 154,665     $ 59,843        63

Gross margin

     51     53     

Cost of revenue for the year ended December 31, 2019 was $89.6 million, compared to $138.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase in revenue resulted in an increase of $37.8 million in costs related to partner fees. Content costs for the Consumer and Enterprise segments were $56.4 million and $14.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, respectively, compared to $86.4 million and $21.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, respectively. Content costs as a percentage of revenue for Consumer and Enterprise segments were 47% and 29% for the year ended December 31, 2019, respectively, compared to 45% and 31% for the year ended December 31, 2020, respectively. We experienced a significant increase in usage by paid learners on our platform. This increase in usage resulted in an increase of $3.7 million in credit card processing fees, $3.1 million in professional services fees, and $1.0 million in third-party cloud hosting costs. Additionally, there was an increase of $3.5 million in amortization expense of internal-use software and developed technology.

Gross margin was 51% for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to 53% for the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase in gross margin was due to a shift in mix of revenue toward Enterprise and Degrees and economies of scale within our operations.

Operating Expenses

 

     Year Ended December 31,      Change  
           2019                  2020            $      %  
     (dollars in thousands)  

Operating expenses:

           

Research and development

   $ 56,364      $ 76,784      $ 20,420        36

Sales and marketing

     57,042        107,249        50,207        88

General and administrative

     29,810        37,215        7,405        25
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total operating expenses

   $ 143,216      $ 221,248      $ 78,032        54
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Research and development expenses for the year ended December 31, 2019 were $56.4 million, compared to $76.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase was primarily due to higher personnel-

 

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related expenses of $12.6 million, mainly driven by additional headcount. The remaining increase included $2.9 million in consulting fees, $1.2 million in software subscription costs, and $1.1 million in content creation costs.

Sales and marketing expenses for the year ended December 31, 2019 were $57.0 million, compared to $107.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase in sales and marketing expense was primarily due to higher personnel-related expenses of $22.7 million, mainly driven by both additional headcount in our sales force to support increased demand for our platform and an increase in amortization of deferred contract acquisition costs driven by our increase in revenue. The remaining increase was primarily due to $11.1 million in marketing promotions and related expenses, a $9.2 million increase in freemium costs that include hosting and support, and $4.5 million in consulting and related expenses.

General and administrative expenses for the year ended December 31, 2019 were $29.8 million, compared to $37.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase in general and administrative expense was primarily due to an increase of $5.1 million in personnel-related expenses, mainly driven by additional headcount, and an increase of $3.8 million related to indirect taxes, partially offset by savings in facilities and consulting related expenses.

Other Income (Expense)

 

     Year Ended December 31,     Change  
           2019                 2020           $     %  
     (dollars in thousands)  

Interest income

   $ 3,282     $ 1,175     $ (2,107     (64 )% 

Interest expense

     (625     (12     613       (98 )% 

Other income (expense), net

     (264     120       384       (145 )% 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

Total other income

   $ 2,393     $ 1,283     $ (1,110     (46 )% 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

Total other income for the year ended December 2019 was $2.4 million, compared to $1.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. Total other income for the year ended December 31, 2019 reflected primarily interest income earned on invested cash balances, offset by interest expense incurred due to certain indirect tax liabilities and operating lease cease-use liabilities. Total other income for the year ended December 31, 2020 reflected primarily interest income earned on invested cash balances. Interest income was lower during the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to the year ended December 31, 2019 as the interest rates were lower during 2020. Interest expense for the year ended December 31, 2020 was lower compared to the year ended December 31, 2019 as interest expense incurred due to certain indirect tax liabilities was lower and as there was no interest expense related to operating lease cease-use liabilities.

Income Tax Expense

 

     Year Ended December 31,      Change  
           2019                  2020            $      %  
     (dollars in thousands)  

Income tax expense

   $ 718      $ 1,515      $ 797        111

For the year ended December 31, 2019, we recognized income tax expense of $0.7 million, compared to $1.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. This tax expense for the years ended December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2020 was primarily due to foreign taxes.

 

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Quarterly Results of Operations

The following table sets forth selected unaudited quarterly consolidated statements of operations data for each of the eight quarters in the two year period ended December 31, 2020. The information for each of these quarters has been prepared on the same basis as our audited consolidated financial statements and reflects, in the opinion of management, all adjustments, consisting only of normal, recurring adjustments that are necessary for a fair presentation of this information in accordance with GAAP. These quarterly operating results are not necessarily indicative of the results for a full year or any other fiscal period. This information should be read in conjunction with our audited consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in the prospectus.

 

    Three Months Ended  
    Mar. 31,
2019
    June 30,
2019
    Sept. 30,
2019
    Dec. 31,
2019
    Mar. 31,
2020
    June 30,
2020
    Sept. 30,
2020
    Dec. 31,
2020
 
   

(unaudited)

(in thousands)

 

Revenue

  $ 40,139     $ 45,751     $ 48,614     $ 49,907     $ 53,847     $ 73,728     $ 82,674     $ 83,262  

Cost of revenue(1)

    20,065       21,770       23,621       24,133       24,951       35,161       38,970       39,764  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Gross profit

    20,074       23,981       24,993       25,774       28,896       38,567       43,704       43,498  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating expenses:

               

Research and development(1)

    10,909       12,727       17,140       15,588       15,783       18,046       19,620       23,335  

Sales and marketing(1)

    10,779       12,912       16,695       16,656       20,696       25,414       26,162       34,977  

General and administrative(1)

    7,124       6,768       8,322       7,596       7,086       8,943       9,810       11,376  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

    28,812       32,407       42,157       39,840       43,565       52,403       55,592       69,688  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Loss from operations

    (8,738)       (8,426)       (17,164)       (14,066)       (14,669)       (13,836)       (11,888)       (26,190)  

Other income (expense):

               

Interest income

    483       861       1,025       913       696       265       119       95  

Interest expense

    (25)       (89)       (28)       (483)       -       (12)       -       -  

Other income (expense), net

    (26)       (85)       (163)       10       (252)       34       227       111  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Loss before income taxes

    (8,306)       (7,739)       (16,330)       (13,626)       (14,225)       (13,549)       (11,542)       (25,984)  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income tax expense

    63       127       271       257       89       367       325       734  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss

  $ (8,369)     $ (7,866)     $ (16,601)     $ (13,883)     $ (14,314)     $ (13,916)     $ (11,867)     $ (26,718)  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(1)   Includes stock-based compensation expense as follows:  
    Three Months Ended  
    Mar. 31,
2019
    June 30,
2019
    Sept. 30,
2019
    Dec. 31,
2019
    Mar. 31,
2020
    June 30,
2020
    Sept. 30,
2020
    Dec. 31,
2020
 
    (in thousands)  

Cost of revenue

    $47       $84       $253       $107       $110       $115       $135       $156  

Research and development

    628       1,145       3,865       1,400       1,277       1,492       1,917       2,274  

Sales and marketing

    452       544       1,529       664       709       833       1,175       1,380  

General and administrative

    694       800       3,127       978       918       1,123       1,473       1,720  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total

    $1,821       $2,573       $8,774       $3,149       $3,014       $3,563       $4,700       $5,530  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Stock-based compensation expense for the three months ended September 30, 2019 included $6.2 million of compensation expense related to a private tender offer. We recognized the difference between the purchase price and the fair value of our common stock as stock-based compensation expense. See Note 9 to our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus for further details.

 

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The following table summarizes our quarterly results of operations as a percentage of revenue for each of the periods indicated:

 

    Three Months Ended  
    Mar. 31,
2019
    June 30,
2019
    Sept. 30,
2019
    Dec. 31,
2019
    Mar. 31,
2020
    June 30,
2020
    Sept. 30,
2020
    Dec. 31,
2020
 
    (unaudited)  

Revenue

    100%       100%       100%       100%       100%       100%       100%       100%  

Cost of revenue

    50       48       49       48       46       48       47       48  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Gross profit

    50       52       51       52       54       52       53       52  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating expenses:

               

Research and development

    27       28       35       32       29       24       24       28  

Sales and marketing

    27       28       34       33       38       34       32       42  

General and administrative

    18       15       17       15       13       12       12       13  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

    72       71       86       80       81       70       67       83  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Loss from operations

    (22)       (19)       (35)       (28)       (27)       (18)       (14)       (31)  

Other income (expense):

               

Interest income

    1       2       2       2       1       0       0       0  

Interest expense

    0       0       0       (1)       0       0       0       0  

Other income (expense), net

    0       0       0       0       (1)       0       0       0  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Loss before income taxes

    (21)       (17)       (33)       (27)       (27)       (18)       (14)       (31)  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income tax expense

    0       0       1       1       0       1       0       1  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss

    (21)%       (17)%       (34)%       (28)%       (27)%       (19)%       (14)%       (32)%  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Quarterly Revenue Trends 

Revenue increased sequentially in all of the quarters presented primarily due to the quarter over quarter growth of registered learners, Paid Enterprise Customers, and the number of Degrees students. These trends were accelerated in 2020 in part due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our historical revenue results are not necessarily indicative of future performance especially as our growth rates are likely to experience increased volatility as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.

Quarterly Cost of Revenue 

Cost of revenue increased sequentially in each of the quarters presented primarily as a result of increased content costs, credit card processing fees, amortization of internal-use software, and professional services fees, along with third-party cloud hosting costs.

Quarterly Gross Margin Trends 

Our improved gross margin during the quarterly periods in the year ended December 31, 2020 was largely due to a shift in mix of revenue toward Enterprise and Degrees.

Quarterly Operating Expense Trends 

Our total quarterly operating expenses generally increased sequentially during the periods presented primarily due to increases in headcount and other related expenses to support our growth. In the third quarter of 2019, we saw an increase in operating expenses, primarily driven by additional stock-based compensation expense of approximately $6.2 million recognized for a private tender offer. In the fourth quarter of 2020, our operating expenses increased mainly due to our continued investment to drive our growth. We intend to continue

 

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investing in our research and development efforts to develop and enhance both our existing and new offerings to drive future revenue growth. We may experience variations from period to period with our total research and development expense as a percentage of revenue. We expect the majority of our research and development expenses will result from personnel-related expenses but will also be impacted by the timing of particular projects. We intend to continue to make significant investments in our sales and marketing organization to drive revenue growth. Sales and marketing expenses can vary from quarter to quarter based on the timing of our sales and marketing programs. General and administrative expenses in the quarters presented have primarily been driven by personnel-related expenses and professional services fees, such as outside legal costs. General and administrative expenses are expected to increase in future quarters due to additional costs required to operate as a public company.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

Since our inception, we have financed our operations primarily through proceeds from our redeemable convertible preferred stock issuances, as well as from cash generated from our business operations. As of December 31, 2020, our principal sources of liquidity were cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities totaling $285.3 million. Our investments consist of corporate debt, commercial paper securities, and U.S. government treasury bills. Since our inception through December 31, 2020, we have sold an aggregate of 75,304,500 shares of our redeemable convertible preferred stock for aggregate net proceeds of $461.8 million. Our principal use of cash is to fund our operations to support our growth.

We believe that our existing cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities and our expected cash flows from operations will be sufficient to meet our cash needs for at least the next 12 months. Over the longer term, our future capital requirements will depend on many factors, including our growth rate, the timing and extent of our sales and marketing and research and development expenditures, the continuing market acceptance of our offerings, and any investments or acquisitions we may choose to pursue in the future. In the event that we need to borrow funds or issue additional equity, we cannot assure you that any such additional financing will be available on terms acceptable to us, if at all. In addition, any future borrowings may result in additional restrictions on our business and any issuance of additional equity would result in dilution to investors. If we are unable to raise additional capital when desired and on terms acceptable to us, our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

Cash Flows

The following table summarizes our cash flows for the periods indicated:

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
           2019                 2020        
     (in thousands)  

Net cash used in operating activities

   $ (21,334   $ (14,991

Net cash used in investing activities

     (64,886     (101,442

Net cash provided by financing activities

     113,381       139,014  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net increase in cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash

   $ 27,161     $ 22,581  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating Activities

Cash used in operating activities mainly consists of our net loss adjusted for certain non-cash items, including stock-based compensation, depreciation and amortization as well as the effect of changes in operating assets and liabilities during each period.

Our main source of operating cash is payments received from our customers. Our primary use of cash from operating activities are for personnel-related expenses, partner fees, marketing and advertising expenses, indirect taxes, and third-party cloud infrastructure expenses.

 

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For the year ended December 31, 2019, net cash used in operating activities was $21.3 million, primarily consisting of our net loss of $46.7 million, adjusted for non-cash charges of $20.5 million and net cash inflows of $4.9 million provided by changes in our operating assets and liabilities. The main drivers of the changes in operating assets and liabilities were an $11.8 million increase in deferred revenue, resulting primarily from our Enterprise business growth, a $6.6 million increase in educator partners and other accounts payable, partially offset by a $6.2 million increase in accounts receivable and a $6.6 million increase in prepaids and other assets.

For the year ended December 31, 2020, net cash used in operating activities was $15.0 million, primarily consisting of our net loss of $66.8 million, adjusted for non-cash charges of $26.5 million and net cash inflows of $25.3 million provided by changes in our operating assets and liabilities. The main drivers of the changes in operating assets and liabilities were a $39.0 million increase in deferred revenue, resulting primarily from our Enterprise business growth, a $25.7 million increase in educator partners and other accounts payable due to the growth of our business, partially offset by a $24.1 million increase in accounts receivable and a $18.3 million increase in prepaids and other assets.

Cash used in operating activities decreased $6.3 million during the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to the year ended December 31, 2019, primarily due to our business growth.

We have generated negative cash flows and have supplemented working capital through net proceeds from the sale of equity securities in the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020.

Investing Activities

For the year ended December 31, 2019, net cash used in investing activities was $64.9 million, primarily as a result of net purchases of marketable securities, capital expenditures for property and equipment, an asset acquisition, and capitalized internal-use software costs.

For the year ended December 31, 2020, cash used in investing activities was $101.4 million, primarily as a result of net purchases of marketable securities, capital expenditures for property and equipment, capitalized internal-use software costs, and purchase of investment in a private company.

Financing Activities

For the year ended December 31, 2019, net cash provided by financing activities was $113.4 million, primarily as a result of proceeds from our issuance of redeemable convertible preferred stock, and issuance of common stock following employee stock option exercises, partially offset by repayment of debt associated with an asset acquisition.

For the year ended December 31, 2020, net cash provided by financing activities was $139.0 million, primarily as a result of proceeds from our issuance of redeemable convertible preferred stock and issuance of common stock following employee stock option exercises, partially offset by payment of holdback consideration related to an asset acquisition.

Key Business Metrics and Non-GAAP Financial Measures

We monitor the key business metrics and non-GAAP financial measures set forth below to help us evaluate our business and growth trends, establish budgets, measure the effectiveness of our sales and marketing efforts, and assess operational efficiencies. These key business metrics and non-GAAP financial measures are presented for supplemental informational purposes only, should not be considered a substitute for financial information presented in accordance with GAAP, and may differ from similarly titled metrics or measures presented by other companies. A reconciliation of each non-GAAP financial measure to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure is provided in “Summary Consolidated Financial Data.”

 

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Key Business Metrics

Registered Learners

We count the total number of registered learners at the end of each period. For purposes of determining our registered learner count, we treat each customer account that registers with a unique email as a registered learner and adjust for any spam, test accounts, and cancellations. Our registered learner count is not intended as a measure of active engagement. New registered learners are individuals that register in a particular period. We believe that the number of registered learners is an important indicator of the growth of our business and future revenue trends.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2017      2018     2019     2020  
     (in millions, except percentages)  

New Registered Learners

     6.9        7.3       9.2       30.6  

Total Registered Learners

     30.1        37.3       46.4       76.6  

Total Registered Learners YoY Growth

        24     24     65

Number of Degrees Students

We count the total number of Degrees students for each period. For purposes of determining our Degrees student count, we include all the students that are matriculated in a degree program and who are enrolled in one or more courses in such degree program during the period. If a degree term spans across multiple quarters, said student is counted as active in all quarters of the degree term. For purposes of determining our Degrees student count, we do not include students who are matriculated in the degree but are not enrolled in a course in that period. We believe that the number of Degrees students is an important indicator of the growth of our Degrees business and future Degrees Segment Revenue trends.

The Degrees student count is impacted by the seasonality of the school class cycles, combined with the underlying growth interacting with those trends. The number of Degrees students fluctuates in part because the academic terms for each degree program often begin and/or end within different calendar quarters, and the frequency with which each degree program is offered within a given year varies.

 

     2019      2020  
     Q1      Q2      Q3      Q4      Q1     Q2     Q3     Q4  

Number of Degrees Students

     2,762        4,255        5,986        6,217        7,184       8,079       11,504       11,900  

YoY Growth

                 160     90     92     91

Paid Enterprise Customers

We count the total number of Paid Enterprise Customers at the end of each period. For purposes of determining our customer count, we treat each customer account that has a corresponding contract as a unique customer, and a single organization with multiple divisions, segments, or subsidiaries may be counted as multiple customers. We define a “Paid Enterprise Customer” as a customer who purchases Coursera via our direct sales force. For purposes of determining our Paid Enterprise Customer count, we exclude our Enterprise customers who do not purchase Coursera via our direct sales force, which include organizations engaging on our platform through our Coursera for Teams offering or through our channel partners. In 2019 and 2020, approximately 70%, and 79%, respectively, of our total Enterprise Segment Revenue was generated from our Paid Enterprise Customers. We believe that the number of Paid Enterprise Customers and our ability to increase this number is an important indicator of the growth of our Enterprise business and future Enterprise Segment Revenue trends. The group of Paid Enterprise Customers included here is the same group of Enterprise customers reflected in our Enterprise cohort analysis in “—Our Attractive Cohort Characteristics.”

 

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     Year Ended  
     December 31,  
     2019      2020  

Paid Enterprise Customers

     240        387  

YoY Growth

        61

Net Retention Rate for Paid Enterprise Customers

We disclose Net Retention Rate as a supplemental measure of our Enterprise revenue growth. We believe Net Retention Rate is an important metric that provides insight into the long-term value of our subscription agreements and our ability to retain, and grow revenue from, our Paid Enterprise Customers.

We calculate annual recurring revenue (“ARR”) by annualizing each customer’s monthly recurring revenue (“MRR”) for the most recent month at period end. We calculate “Net Retention Rate” as of a period end by starting with the ARR from all Paid Enterprise Customers as of the twelve months prior to such period end, or Prior Period ARR. We then calculate the ARR from these same Paid Enterprise Customers as of the current period end, or Current Period ARR. Current Period ARR includes expansion within Paid Enterprise Customers and is net of contraction or attrition over the trailing twelve months, but excludes revenue from new Paid Customers in the current period. We then divide the total Current Period ARR by the total Prior Period ARR to arrive at our Net Retention Rate. Our Net Retention Rate increased from 106% as of December 31, 2019 to 114% as of December 31, 2020. Our Net Retention Rate is expected to fluctuate in future periods due to a number of factors, including the growth of our revenue base, the penetration within our Paid Enterprise Customer base, expansion of products and features, and our ability to retain our Paid Enterprise Customers.

Segment Revenue

Our revenue is generated from three sources: Consumer, Enterprise, and Degrees, each of which is an individual segment of our business. “Segment Revenue” represents the revenue recognized from each of these three sources and is a key measure of the performance of our platform, and in turn drives our financial performance. 

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2017      2018     2019     2020  
     (in thousands, except percentages)  

Consumer Revenue

   $ 85,667      $ 107,554     $ 121,011     $ 192,909  

YoY Growth

        26     13     59

Enterprise Revenue

   $ 7,422      $ 26,812     $ 48,262     $ 70,784  

YoY Growth

        261     80     47

Degrees Revenue

   $ 2,541      $ 7,406     $ 15,138     $ 29,818  

YoY Growth

        191     104     97

Total Revenue

   $ 95,630      $ 141,772     $ 184,411     $ 293,511  

YoY Growth

        48     30     59

 

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Segment Revenue $M

 

 

LOGO

Segment Revenue $M $85.7 $7.4 $2.5 $107.6 $26.8 $7.4 $121.0 $48.3 $15.1 $192.9 $70.8 $29.8 2017 2018 2019 2020 Consumer Enterprise Degrees

Segment Gross Profit

We monitor Segment Gross Profit as a key metric to help us evaluate the financial performance of our individual segments but also our Company as a whole. “Segment Gross Profit” is defined as Segment Revenue less content costs paid to educator partners; “Segment Gross Margin” is the quotient of Segment Gross Profit and Segment Revenue. Content costs only apply to the Consumer and Enterprise segments as there is no content cost attributable to the Degrees segment. Instead, in the Degrees segment, we earn a Degrees service fee based on a percentage of the total online student tuition collected by the university partner. Given that content costs are the largest individual cost of our revenue, and contractually vary as a percentage of revenue between our Consumer and Enterprise offerings, and the fact that no content costs are payable in our Degrees offering, shifts in mix between our three segments is expected to be a significant driver of our overall financial performance and profitability.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2017     2018     2019     2020  
     (in thousands, except percentages)  

Consumer Gross Profit

   $ 43,076     $ 57,607     $ 64,645     $ 106,509  

Segment Gross Margin %

     50     54     53     55

Enterprise Gross Profit

   $ 4,717     $ 19,011     $ 34,184     $ 48,972  

Segment Gross Margin %

     64     71     71     69

Degrees Gross Profit

   $ 2,541     $ 7,406     $ 15,138     $ 29,818  

Segment Gross Margin %

     100     100     100     100

Consumer Segment Gross Margin increased from 53% in the year ended December 31, 2019 to 55% in the year ended December 31, 2020 due to a greater proportion of Consumer Revenue generated from sales of subscriptions with no associated content cost. Conversely, Enterprise Segment Gross Margin decreased from 71% to 69% when comparing the same periods due to a lower proportion of Enterprise Revenue generated from subscription licenses where learners enrolled in content with no associated content cost.

 

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Non GAAP Financial Measures

Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin

Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin, which are non-GAAP financial measures, are key measures used by our management to help us analyze our financial results, establish budget and operational goals for managing our business, evaluate our performance, and make strategic decisions.

We define “Adjusted EBITDA” as our net loss excluding: (1) depreciation and amortization; (2) interest income, net; (3) stock-based compensation; (4) income tax expense; and (5) payroll tax expense related to stock-based activities. We define “Adjusted EBITDA Margin” as Adjusted EBITDA divided by revenue.

The table below presents Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin, along with net loss, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure to Adjusted EBITDA, and net loss margin, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure to Adjusted EBITDA Margin, for 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020:

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2017     2018     2019     2020  
     (in thousands, except percentages)  

Net loss

   $ (53,270   $ (43,601   $ (46,719   $ (66,815

Adjusted EBITDA

   $ (37,559   $ (20,988   $ (26,929   $ (39,813

Net loss margin

     (56 )%      (31 )%      (25 )%      (23 )% 

Adjusted EBITDA Margin

     (39 )%      (15 )%      (15 )%      (14 )% 

Free Cash Flow

“Free Cash Flow” is a non-GAAP financial measure that we calculate as net cash (used in) provided by operating activities, less cash used for purchases of property, equipment, and software, and capitalized internal-use software costs. We exclude purchases of property, equipment and software, and capitalized internal-use software costs as we consider these capital expenditures to be a necessary component of our ongoing operations. We consider Free Cash Flow to be a liquidity measure that provides useful information to management and investors in understanding and evaluating our liquidity and future ability to generate cash that can be used for strategic opportunities, including investing in our business and strengthening our balance sheet, but it is not intended to represent the residual cash flow available for discretionary expenditures.

The table below presents Free Cash Flow, along with cash flow (used in) provided by operating activities, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure to Free Cash Flow, for 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020:

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2017     2018     2019     2020  
     (in thousands)  

Net cash (used in) provided by operating activities

   $ (29,694   $ 456     $ (21,334   $ (14,991

Free Cash Flow

   $ (33,630   $ (6,219   $ (31,266   $ (26,909

See “Summary Consolidated Financial Data—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for additional information and a reconciliation of net loss to Adjusted EBITDA, net loss margin to Adjusted EBITDA Margin and cash (used in) provided by operating activities to Free Cash Flow.

 

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Contractual Obligations and Commitments

Set forth below is information concerning our contractual commitments and obligations as of December 31, 2020:

 

     Payments due by period  
     Total      Less than
1 year
     1-3 years      3-5 years      More than
5 years
 
     (in thousands)  

Operating leases

   $ 30,640      $ 8,303      $ 15,111      $ 7,226      $ —    

Purchase obligations

     27,661        10,550        13,266        3,845        —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

   $ 58,301      $ 18,853      $ 28,377      $ 11,071      $ —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Our operating leases obligations as of December 31, 2020 were approximately $30.6 million, which consist of payments related to lease facilities under operating lease agreements expiring through 2024. We have office facility operating leases in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, Bulgaria, and United Arab Emirates.

Our purchase obligations as of December 31, 2020 were approximately $27.7 million, which consisted of commitments related to our service providers.

In February 2020, we entered into a four-year agreement with a cloud hosting provider pursuant to which we committed to spend $4.5 million in year one and $5.0 million in each of years two through four.

In each of October and December 2020, we entered into a five-year agreement with a cloud-based customer relationship management service provider pursuant to which we committed to spend $1 million and $0.7 million respectively in each of the next five years.

In December 2020, we entered into an agreement with an advertising service provider pursuant to which we committed to spend $4 million in 2021.

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

During the period presented, we did not have any relationships with unconsolidated entities or financial partnerships, such as entities often referred to as structured finance or special purpose entities, which would have been established for the purpose of facilitating off-balance sheet arrangements or other contractually narrow or limited purposes.

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

Our consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (“GAAP”). The preparation of these consolidated financial statements requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue, expenses, and related disclosures. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe are reasonable under the circumstances. We evaluate our estimates and assumptions on an ongoing basis. Actual results may differ from these estimates. To the extent that there are material differences between these estimates and our actual results, our future financial statements will be affected.

The critical accounting policies requiring estimates, assumptions, and judgments that we believe have the most significant impact on our consolidated financial statements are described below. See Note 2 to our consolidated financial statements appearing elsewhere in this prospectus for a description of our other significant accounting policies.

 

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Revenue Recognition

We derive revenue from contracts with customers for access to the learning content hosted on our platform and related services. We derive our revenue from three sources: Consumer, Enterprise, and Degrees.

Consumer Revenue—We generate revenue from the sale of access to course content to consumers. Consumer offerings include certifications for single courses, Specializations, and catalog-wide subscriptions. Access to single courses are generally purchased at a fixed price for a set period of time, typically six months. Specializations are a series of related courses offered by the same educator partner where learners are provided access to these courses on a month-to-month subscription basis. Coursera Plus is our catalog-wide consumer subscription offering and it is sold in the form of monthly or annual subscription. All contracts with Consumer customers are billed in advance, generally after a 7-day free trial period. We recognize revenue ratably over the contracted period, after access has been granted to the consumer, as learners have unlimited access to the course content during the contracted period. Consumer learners are entitled to a full refund up to two weeks after payment is received. We estimate and establish a refund reserve based on historical refund rates.

Enterprise Revenue—We sell subscription licenses to business, government, and university customers that provide users the ability to enroll in courses and Specializations and receive certifications upon completion. Enterprise contracts are typically between one and three years in length and can consist of either a fixed quantity of seat licenses, each of which allows for unlimited course enrollments by one learner for each year, or the purchase of a quantity of course enrollments. In either contract type, we recognize revenue ratably over the contracted period, after access has been granted to the Enterprise customer, as learners have unlimited access to the course content during the contracted period.

We are the principal with respect to revenue generated from sales to Consumer and Enterprise customers as we control the performance obligation and are the primary obligor with respect to delivering access to course content. Additionally, we have inventory risk through recoupable advances sometimes paid to educator partners.

Degrees Revenue—University partners contract with us for the delivery of bachelor’s and master’s degrees awarded by the university. Our Degrees revenue contracts involve the performance of a number of promises, including but not limited to hosting the degree content on our learning platform, program management, marketing and platform technical support services. As a result, the university partner is our customer with respect to Degrees revenue. We earn a Degrees service fee that is determined based as a percentage of total tuition collected from Degrees students, net of refunds, by the university partner. Degrees revenue is earned and paid by the university partner for each university term. As a result, revenue generated from each term is recognized ratably from the start of a term through the start of the following term.

The Degrees learning experience is delivered on the same proprietary learning platform used by Consumer and Enterprise learners. There is no direct contractual arrangement between us and Degrees students, who contract directly with the university partners. University partners typically have additional performance obligations to the Degrees students in the form of real-time teaching, financial aid, and academic or career counseling. For these reasons, we have determined that the university partners control the delivery of degrees hosted on our platform. As a result, we recognize Degrees revenue as the service fee we receive from the university partner.

Revenue from contracts with customers is recognized when control of promised services is transferred. The amount of revenue recognized reflects the consideration that we expect to be entitled to receive in exchange for these services. We determine revenue recognition in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 606 through the following five steps:

 

1)

Identify the contract with a customer

We determine a contract with a customer to exist when the contract is approved, each party’s rights regarding the services to be transferred can be identified, the payment terms for the services can be

 

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identified, the customer has the ability and intent to pay, and the contract has commercial substance. At contract inception, we evaluate whether two or more contracts should be combined and accounted for as a single contract and whether the combined or single contract includes more than one performance obligation. We apply judgment in determining the customer’s ability and intent to pay, which is based on a variety of factors, including the customer’s historical payment experience or, in the case of a new customer, credit and financial information pertaining to the customer. Consumer customers are required to pay in advance either prior to our providing access to course content or prior to the expiration of a 7-day free trial.

 

2)

Identify the performance obligations in the contract

Performance obligations committed in a contract are identified based on the services that will be transferred to the customer that are both capable of being distinct, whereby the customer can benefit from the service either on its own or together with other resources that are readily available from third parties or from us, and are distinct in the context of the contract, whereby the transfer of the services and the products is separately identifiable from other promises in the contract. Customers do not have the ability to take possession of the software supporting the platform and, as a result, contracts are accounted for as service arrangements.

For sales to Consumer and Enterprise customers, our performance obligation generally consists of providing access to our platform and related support services, which is considered one performance obligation. Access to our platform represents a series of distinct services, as we continually provide access to, and fulfill our obligation to, the customer over the contract term.

Degrees services involve the performance of a number of promises that include hosting the degree content on our platform, degree program management, marketing, and platform technical support services, each of which are a series of distinct services that are substantially the same, and satisfied over time using the same measure of progress and as a result are considered one performance obligation to stand ready to perform an online degree hosting service for the duration of the degree.

 

3)

Determine the transaction price

The transaction price is determined based on the consideration to which we expect to be entitled in exchange for transferring services to the customer. Variable consideration is included in the transaction price if, in our judgment, it is probable that a significant future reversal of cumulative revenue recognized under the contract will not occur. None of our contracts contain a significant financing component. Revenue is recognized net of any taxes collected from customers, which are subsequently remitted to governmental entities (e.g., sales and other indirect taxes).

 

4)

Allocate the transaction price to performance obligations in the contract

Contracts that contain multiple performance obligations require an allocation of the transaction price to each performance obligation based on each performance obligation’s relative standalone selling price.

As noted above, for Consumer and Enterprise customers, access to our platform and related support services are considered one performance obligation in the context of the contract and accordingly, the transaction price is allocated to this single performance obligation. Similarly, Degrees services are considered one performance obligation and the transaction price is allocated to this single performance obligation.

 

5)

Recognize revenue when or as performance obligations are satisfied

Revenue is recognized at the time the related performance obligation is satisfied by transferring the control of the promised service to a customer. Revenue is recognized in an amount that reflects the consideration that we expect to receive in exchange for those services. Fees for access to our platform and related support services by Consumer and Enterprise customers are considered one performance obligation, and the related revenue is recognized on a straight-line basis over the contract term as we satisfy our performance obligation.

We have a stand ready obligation to perform Degrees services continually throughout the period that the degree content is hosted on our platform. Degrees revenue is received and paid by the university partner for

 

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each university term. As a result, revenue generated from each term is recognized ratably from the start of a term through the start of the following term.

Historically, and with the exceptions noted below, no significant judgment has generally been required in determining the amount and timing of revenue from our contracts with customers.

 

   

Determining whether we are the principal or agent in our revenue transactions requires significant judgment. In reaching the conclusion, we considered a range of indicators, including, but not limited to, who is primarily responsible for fulfilling the service, who has economic risk as a result of investing resources in advance of a sale transaction (“inventory risk”), and who has pricing discretion. As we control the performance obligation and are the primary obligor with respect to delivering access to course content for Consumer and Enterprise contracts and have inventory risk through recoupable advances paid to educator partners, we are the principal in such transactions. Conversely, as the university partner controls the delivery of degrees hosted on our platform, we recognize Degrees revenue as the service fee we receive from the partner.

 

   

Our Degrees services revenue is determined based on a fee percentage applied to the total tuition collected from Degrees students, net of refunds, by the university partner. As a result, the revenue earned by us is dependent upon the number of learners enrolled and the tuition charged by the university partner. This is a form of variable consideration. We estimate the amount of revenue, using an expected value method, that we expect to be entitled to in return for performance of the Degrees services, subject to assessment of the significant future reversal constraint discussed above. These estimates are continually evaluated until such time as the uncertainties are resolved, generally at the time the final term enrollment report is provided by the university partner.

Common Stock Valuations

The fair value of the common stock underlying our stock-based awards has historically been determined by our board of directors, with input from management and corroboration from contemporaneous third-party valuations. We believe that our board of directors has the relevant experience and expertise to determine the fair value of our common stock. Given the absence of a public trading market of our common stock, and in accordance with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Practice Aid, Valuation of Privately-Held Company Equity Securities Issued as Compensation, our board of directors exercised reasonable judgment and considered numerous objective and subjective factors to determine the best estimate of the fair value of our common stock at each grant date. These factors include:

 

   

contemporaneous valuations of our common stock performed by independent third-party specialists;

 

   

the prices, rights, preferences, and privileges of our redeemable convertible preferred stock relative to those of our common stock;

 

   

the prices paid for redeemable convertible preferred stock sold to third-party investors by us and prices paid in secondary transactions of common stock, including any tender offers;

 

   

the lack of marketability inherent in our common stock;

 

   

our actual operating and financial performance;

 

   

our current business conditions and projections;

 

   

the hiring of key personnel and the experience of our management;

 

   

the history of the company and the introduction of new offerings;

 

   

our stage of development;

 

   

the likelihood of achieving a liquidity event, such as an initial public offering (“IPO”), a merger, or acquisition of our company given prevailing market conditions;

 

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the operational and financial performance of comparable publicly traded companies; and

 

   

the U.S. and global capital market conditions and overall economic conditions.

In valuing our common stock, the fair value of our business was determined using the income approach. The income approach estimates value based on the expectation of future cash flows that a company will generate. These future cash flows are discounted to their present values using a discount rate that is derived from an analysis of the cost of capital of comparable publicly traded companies in our industry or similar business operations as of each valuation date and is adjusted to reflect the risks inherent in our cash flows.

For each valuation, the fair value of our business determined by the income approach was then allocated to the common stock using either the option-pricing method (“OPM”), or the probability-weighted expected return method (“PWERM”). Our valuations prior to June 30, 2020 were allocated based on the OPM. Beginning June 30, 2020, our valuations were allocated based on the PWERM.

In addition, we considered any secondary transactions involving our capital stock. In our evaluation of those transactions, we considered the facts and circumstances of each transaction to determine the extent to which they represented a fair value exchange and assigned the transactions an appropriate weighting in the valuation of our common stock. Factors considered include the number of different buyers and sellers, transaction volume, timing relative to the valuation date, whether the transactions occurred between willing and unrelated parties, and whether the transactions involved investors with access to our financial information.

Application of these approaches and methodologies involves the use of estimates, judgments, and assumptions that are highly complex and subjective, such as those regarding our expected future revenue, expenses, and future cash flows, discount rates, market multiples, the selection of comparable public companies, and the probability of and timing associated with possible future events. Changes in any or all of these estimates and assumptions or the relationships between those assumptions impact our valuations as of each valuation date and may have a material impact on the valuation of our common stock.

For valuations after the closing of this offering, our board of directors will determine the fair value of each share of underlying common stock based on the closing price of our common stock on the NYSE as reported on the date of grant. Future expense amounts for any particular period could be affected by changes in our assumptions or market conditions.

Stock-Based Compensation

We calculate the fair value of employee stock-based awards on the date of grant using the Black-Scholes option-pricing model for stock options; the expense is recognized over the service period for awards expected to vest. We recognize forfeitures as they occur.

We estimate the fair value of stock-based compensation utilizing the Black-Scholes option-pricing model, which is dependent upon several variables, such as the expected option term, expected volatility of our stock price over the expected term, expected risk-free interest rate over the expected option term, and expected dividend yield rate over the expected option term. These amounts are estimates and, thus, may not be reflective of actual future results, nor amounts ultimately realized by recipients of these grants. We recognize compensation expense on a straight-line basis over the requisite vesting period for each award.

 

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A summary of the weighted-average assumptions we utilized to record compensation expenses for stock options granted during the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020 is as follows:

 

     Years Ended December 31,  
             2019                     2020          

Fair value of common stock

   $ 5.70     $ 10.30  

Risk-free interest rate

     1.8     0.6

Expected term (in years)

     6.1       6.1  

Expected volatility

     46.8     50.3

Dividend yield

        

The assumptions above are estimated as follows. Each of these assumptions is subjective and generally requires significant judgment to determine.

Fair Value of Common Stock—Because our common stock is not yet publicly traded, the fair value was determined by our board of directors or a committee thereof. The board of directors or committee considers numerous objective and subjective factors to determine the fair value of our common stock each time awards are approved.

Expected Term—The expected term represents the period that our stock-based awards are expected to be outstanding. For option grants considered to be “plain vanilla,” we determined the expected term using the simplified method. The simplified method deems the term to be the average of the time to vesting and the contractual life of the options.

Risk-Free Interest Rate—The risk-free interest rate is based on the U.S. Treasury yield curve in effect at the time of grant for zero-coupon U.S. Treasury notes with maturities approximately equal to the option’s expected term.

Expected Volatility—Since we do not have a trading history of our common stock, the expected volatility is derived from the average historical stock volatilities of several unrelated public companies within our industry that we consider to be comparable to our business over a period equivalent to the expected term of the stock option grants.

Dividend Rate—The expected dividend was assumed to be zero as we have never paid dividends and have no current plans to do so.

We will continue to use judgment in evaluating the assumptions related to our stock-based compensation on a prospective basis. As we continue to accumulate additional data related to our common stock, we may refine our estimates, which could materially impact our future stock-based compensation expense.

Income Taxes

We are subject to income taxes in the United States and numerous foreign jurisdictions. Significant judgment is required in determining our income tax expense and deferred tax assets and liabilities, including evaluating uncertainties in the application of accounting principles and complex tax laws.

We utilize the asset and liability method under which deferred tax assets and liabilities arise from the temporary differences between the tax basis of an asset or liability and our reported amount in the consolidated financial statements, as well as from net operating loss and tax credit carryforwards. Deferred tax amounts are determined by using the tax rates expected to be in effect when the taxes will actually be paid or refunds received, as provided for under currently enacted tax law. A valuation allowance is established if, based upon the available evidence, it is more likely than not that some or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized. We

 

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consider all available evidence, both positive and negative, including historical levels of income, expectations, and risks associated with estimates of future taxable income in assessing the need for a valuation allowance.

We regularly review our tax positions and benefits to be realized. We recognize tax liabilities based upon our estimate of whether and the extent to which additional taxes will be due when such estimates are more likely than not to be sustained upon examination by the taxing authority. An uncertain income tax position will be recognized only if it is more likely than not to be sustained. We recognize interest and penalties related to income tax matters as income tax expense.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

See Note 2 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus for information regarding recently issued accounting pronouncements.

JOBS Act Transition Period

We are an emerging growth company as defined in the JOBS Act. The JOBS Act provides that an emerging growth company can take advantage of an extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards. This provision allows an emerging growth company to delay the adoption of some accounting standards until those standards would otherwise apply to private companies. We have elected to use the extended transition period under the JOBS Act for the adoption of certain accounting standards until the earlier of the date we (i) are no longer an emerging growth company or (ii) affirmatively and irrevocably opt out of the extended transition period provided in the JOBS Act. As a result, our consolidated financial statements may not be comparable to companies that comply with new or revised accounting pronouncements as of public company effective dates.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

We have operations both within the United States and internationally, and we are exposed to market risks in the ordinary course of our business, including the effects of interest rate changes and foreign currency fluctuations. Information relating to quantitative and qualitative disclosures about these market risks is described below.

Interest Rate Sensitivity

As of December 31, 2020, we had $285.3 million of cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities which consist of corporate debt, commercial paper securities, and U.S. government Treasury bills. In addition, we had approximately $2.5 million of restricted cash primarily due to outstanding letters of credit related to the operating lease agreement for our corporate headquarters. Our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities are held for working capital purposes. A hypothetical 100 basis point increase or decrease in interest rates would not have resulted in a material impact on our consolidated financial statements.

Foreign Currency Risk

Our reporting currency and the functional currency of our wholly owned foreign subsidiaries is the U.S. dollar. With limited exceptions, all of our sales are denominated in U.S. dollars; therefore, our revenue is not currently subject to significant foreign currency risk. Our operating expenses are denominated in the currencies of the countries in which our operations are located and may be subject to fluctuations due to changes in foreign currency exchange rates, particularly changes in the Pound Sterling, Canadian Dollar, and Indian Rupee. Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates may cause us to recognize transaction gains and losses in our consolidated statement of operations. To date, we have not entered into any hedging arrangements with respect to foreign currency risk or other derivative financial instruments, although we may choose to do so in the future. A 10% increase or decrease in current exchange rates could result in additional income or expense of $3.4 million.

 

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A LETTER FROM OUR CHAIRMAN, ANDREW NG

When Daphne Koller and I teamed up to found Coursera, our mission was to transform lives through learning. We committed to always put the education mission first.

When my machine learning MOOC launched out of Stanford in 2011, neither of us expected that over 100,000 learners would enroll within weeks. I was teaching 400 on-campus students a year at the time and realized that to reach a similar audience, I would have had to teach for 250 years. The learners came from around the world, spanning many age groups and walks of life, and included people that otherwise did not have access to a great education.

Building on this early momentum, we started Coursera to democratize access to high-quality education. We are very thankful to the over 200 universities and institutions of learning that have joined us, including our first partners—Michigan, Princeton, Stanford, and UPenn—who embraced our approach right away and opened their virtual and hallowed doors to millions.

The world faces many challenges ranging from the pandemic to poverty, unemployment, inequality, and prejudice. While education is no panacea, it is one of the most effective forces in empowering individuals worldwide to rise to these challenges.

For the individual, education opens up opportunities to learn skills and develop one’s career. The old model of education, where you go to college for four years and then coast for the next 40, does not work in today’s changing world. For organizations, education enables scalable workforce development so that they can adapt to rapidly changing environments. Every person—and every organization—has to be a lifelong learner, and Coursera is at the forefront of supporting your journey.

We’ve seen billions struggle during the pandemic. At school, many learners and instructors were ill-prepared to move learning online. At work, digital acceleration is threatening many jobs as skills rapidly become obsolete. The staggering scale of disruption has underscored the need to modernize the global education system. Leaders tasked with creating a level playing field now recognize that learning online will be a powerful means of providing individuals with the skills they need and promoting social equity.

Coursera’s #1 goal has, and always will be, to serve learners. I am grateful to the talented Courserians, whose passion, innovative spirit, and learner-first mindset have helped make the company what it is today. As we take this next step of becoming a public company, we ask you to join us in the movement to make great education accessible to everyone. If we can unlock the full potential in every person, we will move humanity forward.

Keep learning,

Andrew Ng

 

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BUSINESS

Overview

Our mission is to provide universal access to world-class learning so that anyone, anywhere has the power to transform their life through learning.

Learning is the source of human progress. The spread of ideas across cultures and ages has helped transform our world from illness to health, from poverty to prosperity, and from conflict to peace. By combining some of the world’s best educational content with a technology platform that can serve learners on a global scale, we believe Coursera will enable the digital transformation of higher education and bring high-quality, affordable education to every corner of the world.

Coursera is a platform that enables a global ecosystem of educators, learners, and institutions. As of December 31, 2020, more than 77 million learners had registered on Coursera to learn from more than 200 leading university and industry partners through thousands of offerings ranging from open courses to full diploma-bearing degrees. Coursera serves learners in their homes, through their employers, through their colleges and universities, and through government-sponsored programs. As of December 31, 2020, over 2,000 organizations were paying Coursera for Business customers, and in 2020 more than 4,000 colleges and universities launched free online learning programs through Coursera for Campus during the COVID-19 pandemic and over 300 governments, governmental agencies and organizations around the world used Coursera for Government to upskill and reskill their civil servants and citizens. Of the more than 300 government agencies that used Coursera for Government in 2020, 228 were participants in the Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative, which was a free, limited-time program that ended on December 31, 2020. We also provide social impact programs that have helped more than 72,000 learners around the world.

 

LOGO

Learner learn and prosper 77 million Registered learners 6,000+ Institutions -Businesses - Campuses - Governments coursera Educator Teach the world Institution Transform talent 150+ University partners 50+ Industry partners

As of December 31, 2020

Technology is advancing faster than the world’s ability to adapt and acquire new skills, resulting in a sizable and expanding skills gap. To be productive members of the workforce in the digital economy, many aspiring professionals need advanced skills in technology and information-based analytics. We believe education’s “new normal” will be characterized by blended classrooms powered by online learning, job-relevant education for a world facing unprecedented unemployment, and lifelong learning at work to help employees keep up with the

 

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emerging skills needed to compete in an accelerating digital economy. We believe that online learning will become the primary means of meeting the global demand for emerging skills and that the adoption of online education, combined with the increased flexibility enabled by remote working, holds the promise to increase global social equity.

World-class teaching is the foundation of the Coursera experience. Coursera partners with over 200 leading university and industry partners to provide learners content and credentials that are modular, stackable, and consumable at a wide range of durations, difficulty levels, and price points. Our data-driven technology platform enables educators to efficiently produce, teach, and scale content and credentials, from individual courses to professional certificates to diploma-bearing degrees. Coursera enables educator partners to tap into global demand from both individual learners and institutions.

Reaching and serving a world of learners lies at the heart of our model. We make it easy for learners to discover and engage with high-quality, job-relevant learning in flexible, hands-on online learning environments at affordable prices—often for free. Free content from top-branded partners has enabled us to attract more than 77 million individual learners at very low cost and build a global consumer brand. Data-driven marketing enables us to efficiently upsell learners a wide range of paid offerings, including stand-alone courses, multi-course Specializations, certificate programs, and university degrees. Learners can also “stack” content and credentials, allowing completion of stand-alone courses to count as progress towards a broader program of study, creating more flexible and affordable paths to upskilling and reskilling. We believe this efficient learner acquisition model has allowed us to build one of the largest global audiences of adult learners in the world and to serve learners at very low price points, with strong margins for us and for our educator partners.

Coursera’s data and machine learning systems drive personalized learning, effective marketing, and skills benchmarking. We believe that our unified technology platform is not only making global higher education more accessible and more effective, but is also enabling educators to author and distribute high-quality content efficiently, employers to upskill and reskill their talent, and learners to advance their careers in a flexible learning environment.

In addition to offering content and credentials directly to individuals at Coursera.org, we also sell directly to institutions, including employers, colleges and universities, and governments. Employers can use Coursera for Business to help employees develop new skills in order to better acquire and serve customers, lower costs, reduce risk, and remain competitive in the new digital economy. Colleges and universities can use Coursera for Campus to deliver university-branded online learning at low cost in a new era of financial challenges for higher education and evolving student preferences for hybrid learning. Governments, facing high levels of unemployment driven by automation and accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic, can use Coursera for Government to reskill employees and citizens into fast-growing digital roles that constitute a significant share of new job opportunities.

The global higher education market is large and growing, currently at a size of $2.2 trillion, according to HolonIQ Smart Estimates. As we press our advantages to continue penetrating this market opportunity, we have multiple strategies to drive our growth, including increasing adoption and penetration of our Enterprise offerings for companies, universities, and governments; expanding the number of online degrees and the number of students in Degrees programs; continuing to grow our learner base and build our brand; growing our content and credentials catalog and network of educator partners; improving conversion, upsell, and retention of paid consumer learners; and continuing our global expansion.

Our business has experienced rapid growth since our founding in 2011. For the years ended December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2020, our revenue was $184.4 million and $293.5 million, respectively. We continue to invest in our business and had a net loss of $46.7 million and $66.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2020, respectively.

 

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Industry Background: The Need for a New Model of Lifelong Learning

Technology–Driven Automation and Globalization are Accelerating the Demand for Skills and Lifelong Learning

The global economy is changing rapidly. According to our estimates based on data from the International Labour Organization, the global workforce will grow by 230 million people by 2030. This is expected to happen at a time when up to half of today’s jobs, around 2 billion, are at high risk of disappearing due to automation and other factors driving obsolescence by 2030, according to The International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the need for lifelong learning to be delivered online. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, October 2020, to which we contributed data on learner reskilling and upskilling, the “double disruption” caused by automation and the pandemic is likely to displace 85 million jobs by 2025. According to this report, 84% of employers report that the pandemic has increased their intent to rapidly digitize work processes, including a significant expansion of remote work, with the potential to move 44% of their workforce to remote operations. Additionally, companies estimate that 40% of workers will require up to six months of reskilling and 94% of business leaders expect employees to pick up new skills on the job.

Shortcomings of Today’s System

The current system of higher education faces inherent challenges. The predominantly classroom-based model may not be able to keep pace with the rapidly emerging skills required to succeed in today’s workforce. While serving certain learners well, the in-person learning experience may fail to meet the needs of learners in more remote areas and non-traditional learners who need access to education and upskilling the most, both domestically and internationally. Lastly, the cost of education has grown considerably. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, student loan debt in the United States was the second largest component of household debt, at $1.55 trillion as of September 30, 2020, creating further headwinds for individuals navigating their careers and personal lives.

The Future of Learning

While technology will continue to disrupt jobs and labor markets, it can also be the source of significant benefits. Technology, when applied to learning, can reduce distribution costs, increase affordability, extend access to less wealthy geographical regions, adapt a workforce more quickly to emerging skills, and expand the overall market opportunity for education companies. The benefits of technology have only begun to be applied to the overall education market, as most learning today is still traditional, on premise, and classroom-based.

The need for technological change in education has been exacerbated by the recent global COVID-19 pandemic. According to the United Nations, 1.6 billion students in 190 countries, approximately 94% of all students in the world, saw their schools at least temporarily closed due to the pandemic by August 2020. This forced many teachers to teach online and students to learn online. The lessons learned during this period of “forced experimentation” have the potential to enable an enduring digital transformation of higher education. We believe the future of education will be characterized by:

 

   

Blended classrooms: We believe online learning will be the “new normal” for higher education, where all students learn online, including those who sit in classrooms as well as those who never set foot on campus. Online learning increases the access and affordability of earning a college degree, expanding the market to new learners who could not otherwise have pursued an on-campus degree.

 

   

Job-relevant education: The risk of rising unemployment as a result of automation and COVID-19 means job-relevant education will be a critical component of higher education. We predict that students will demand skill-based, hands-on learning from both university and industry educators. Companies

 

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such as Go