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The pandemic has many rethinking the entire education process.
The cost of a four-year education is astronomical, and many students spend the first decade or more of their career just paying back the loans they needed to fund their education.
After a full year of lockdown and remote schooling, we expect education to go fully digital at some point. This makes the Coursera IPO one of the most exciting of the year.
The IPO calendar is heating up as we kick-off 2021.
This week alone, we expect to see an offering from fintech payments company Affirm Holdings Inc., mobile gaming firm Playtika Holding Corp., pet retailer Petco Health, and online fashion retailer Poshmark.
Of course, that is in addition to the ongoing deluge of Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) that are doing IPOs pretty much daily so far this year.
As long as the market stays healthy, we should continue to see a flood of IPOs coming to market. Some of the companies said to be considering an IPO soon include the leading cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, Instacart, and Robinhood.
But here's what sets Coursera apart.
What Is Coursera?
Coursera is an online education company founded in 2012 by Stanford University's computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller.
The two applied their in-depth knowledge of artificial intelligence and machine learning to build an online education company that can help students learn new skills and improve their lives and careers.
They left their tenured teaching jobs at Stanford to build a new type of educational company. Ng and Koller raised $16 million in venture funding with well-known VC firms like Kleiner Perkins, Caufield, Byers, and New Enterprise Associates participating in the financing.
John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins and Scott Sandell of New Enterprise Associates both remain on the board of Coursera today, as they help guide the company toward an eventual initial public offering.
The two have helped other leading tech companies like Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE: CRM) make the journey from idea to IPO during their venture capital careers.
When Is the Coursera IPO?
Coursera appears to be on the verge of becoming its next big win.
It has since done six more rounds of funding and raised a total of $443.1 million to build the company.
The company was experiencing success before the pandemic arrived, but the coronavirus's impact on schools and universities has accelerated its growth.
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It's a great environment for this company to make a public offering.
The Coursera IPO date is expected to be sometime in early 2021. It is currently talking with underwriters with no final decision reached yet.
The company is rumored to be pursuing a valuation of around $5 billion. That would be a nice bump from the $2.6 billion valuation it used to raise money back in July.
It is too early to know what the availability or final valuations might be for Coursera stock. But we know this company is changing the world through education.
What Makes Coursera Stock Different
Coursera is working with over 200 universities to bring world-class education to anyone who wants to put in the effort.
Coursera is also working with businesses to deliver courses that help their employees perform at a higher level.
The service offers everything from free courses to certificate programs that cover specific skill sets all the way up to full degree programs.
The classes are not from Shifting Sands University or some unknown collection of schools. They're from world-renowned universities like Duke, University of London, Penn, University of Michigan, and hundreds of other well-respected schools.
When the pandemic hit and many students were being sent home, Coursera partnered with many schools to offer online classes and resources. Currently, it provides students with free access to over 3,600 online courses from leading universities and companies.
Typical Coursera courses are six to 10 weeks long and feature several videos each week. The lessons also feature snap quizzes and exercises for students to complete. There are forums for each class so you can virtually meet other students taking the same course to discuss the material.
Coursera offers courses from art to artificial intelligence and pretty much everything in between.
Coursera could be a big part of the push for education technology to change how higher education works around the world.
Education was beginning to change before the pandemic. The arrival of the coronavirus accelerated the changes, as it has for many high-tech industries. The remaking of higher education could provide the opportunity for more people to obtain higher skillsets that lead to better-paying jobs.
Coursera should be one of the leaders of this transformation. Investors who buy into their IPO could make enormous long-term gains as shareholders in the remaking of higher education.
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