COUR Stock: Education giant Coursera files to go public

COUR Stock: Education giant Coursera files to go public

Coursera (COUR), an education giant has seen its business grow amid COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The company has filed its paperwork for going public with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Due to healthy valuations and a network of around 77 million learners worldwide, leaders at Coursera are taking the company through this next step, although the number of shares to be offered — and their price point — is yet to be determined.

Although it is still possible to audit many Coursera courses for free, the company has evolved significantly since its early days as a provider of massive open online courses, or MOOCS.

The platform’s combination of paid nondegree certificates, stackable degrees and professional credentials has forged a company with an estimated value of between $2.4 billion and $5 billion.

Documents filed with the SEC show Coursera posted revenue of $293.5 million in 2020 — a growth rate of 59 percent over 2019. But the company did not turn a profit, reporting a net loss of $67 million in 2020.

Coursera lost more money in 2020 than it did in 2019, when it lost $46.7 million. The company’s accumulated deficit since inception stood at $343.6 million at the end of 2020. Its IPO filing indicated it expects to incur losses for the foreseeable future.

In recent years, Coursera has branched into online program management services for universities, helping institutions to launch and manage online degrees for a share of tuition revenue. That revenue stream was thought by some analysts to be an important part of Coursera’s financial future, but the IPO documents reveal that this share of the business is quite a bit smaller than some observers imagined.

Coursera splits its revenue into three different categories, IPO documents show. A consumer segment covers payments and subscriptions made directly by learners to Coursera.

An enterprise segment covers businesses and government customers training their employees, as well as university customers providing online courses to students. A degrees segment works with universities to provide fully online bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

The consumer segment’s revenue stream is by far the most significant, although revenues through business partnerships and shares of degree tuition are growing year over year. In 2020, consumer revenues were $192.9 million, enterprise revenues were $70.8 million and degree revenues were $29.8 million.