Skillshare Success Story - How the Online Learning Platform Became a Global Marketplace for Creative Education

Skillshare Success Story - How the Online Learning Platform Became a Global Marketplace for Creative Education
Skillshare Success Story

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To live in this era of a highly competitive world, one must be highly skilled as well. Gaining knowledge and having a hunger for developing your skills play a central role in modern civilization.

Today, with easy access to the internet and technology in our hands, online learning has become very convenient. In other words, ed-tech, or educational technology, is a major thing right now. The combination of software and educational theories with the help of the internet has given people a new way to consume knowledge in a much more uncomplicated manner.

Skillshare is an American online-based learning community whose website went live in 2011. It is one of the leading platforms for online education, with over 12 million registered members. The online learning platform is accessible to the majority of countries and offers a wide range of creative skills and courses.

Let's dig into the details of Skillshare's success story in this article, where you will learn about its business and revenue model, funding details, growth, and more.

Skillshare - Company Highlights

Company Name Skillshare
Headquarters New York, USA
Sector E-learning, Ed-tech
Founder Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Malcolm Ong
Founded 2010

Skillshare - About
Skillshare - Industry
Skillshare - Founders and Team
Skillshare - Startup Story
Skillshare - Mission and Vision
Skillshare - Name, Tagline, and Logo
Skillshare - Business and Revenue Model
Skillshare - Funding and Investors
Skillshare - Growth
Skillshare - Competitors
Skillshare - Future Plans

Skillshare - About

Skillshare is a US-based online learning community platform for people who want to learn from educational videos. It offers thousands of courses that enhance a person's creative journey. The majority of courses emphasize interaction rather than lecturing, with the primary goal of learning through project completion. Anyone can take or offer online classes on the Skillshare platform.

Skillshare is used by organizations like Staples, Mailchimp, Evernote, and Disney for the professional development of their employees in addition to the millions of individual learners on the platform.

Creative arts, design & illustration, video, entrepreneurship, lifestyle, and technology are some of the main course categories.

Skillshare - Industry

As of today, Skillshare is considered one of the leading players in the ed-tech industry.

The global education segment is estimated to have a value of US$7.08 billion in 2022. It is projected that the segment will experience an annual growth rate of 6.95% from 2022 to 2027, resulting in a market volume of US$10.50 billion by 2027.

Skillshare - Founders and Team

SkillShare is founded by Michael Karnjanaprakorn and Malcolm Ong in New York in 2010.

Michael Karnjanaprakorn

Michael Karnjanaprakorn - Co-founder of Skillshare
Michael Karnjanaprakorn - Co-founder of Skillshare

Michael Karnjanaprakorn is an entrepreneur, investor, and creator. He has attended the University of Virginia. Along with Skillshare, Micheal also founded Otis in 2018, which is an investment platform. Otis was acquired by Public in 2022. Before establishing Skillshare, Micheal has been associated with companies like Behance (acquired by Adobe) and Hot Potato (acquired by Facebook). Micheal has angel invested in companies like Street FC, Notion, 88Rising, and Polkadot.

Malcolm Ong

Malcolm Ong - Co-founder of Skillshare
Malcolm Ong - Co-founder of Skillshare

Malcolm Ong graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a B.S. in Computer Science, a double major in Business Administration, and a minor in E-commerce. He was a Senior VP of Product at South China Morning Post SCMP for four years. Malcolm has worked in various organizations like IBM, Lyft, Razorfish, 500 Global, and OMGPOP. Malcolm has also co-founded Sandstorm and was the CEO of the same in 2014 for one year.

Matt Cooper

Matt Cooper - CEO of Skillshare
Matt Cooper - CEO of Skillshare

Matt Cooper is an experienced entrepreneur and business executive who currently serves as the CEO of Skillshare. Prior to Skillshare, he held leadership positions at several companies, including Visually and Upwork. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics with a concentration in Mathematics from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a double concentration in Finance and Accounting from Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management.

Skillshare - Startup Story

Skillshare's journey began when its site went live in 2011, almost after a year after Michael Karnjanaprakorn and Malcolm Ong founded Skillshare in New York in November 2010. In August 2012, Skillshare launched 15 self-paced online courses in which students collaborated to complete a project. It hosted over 250 courses by November 2013 and launched its School of Design. Eventually, Skillshare partnered with Levi's to launch the School of MakeOurMark, which focused on individual creativity through courses in photography, tattooing, and various forms of illustration.

Over 27,000 premium classes and more than 2,000 free classes were available on Skillshare during March 2019. With the platform's new 'Groups' feature, users could collaborate with other creators, share their work, and advance their skills through stimulating conversations and challenges. However, Skillshare stopped offering classes for free in September 2021 and started mandating users to sign up for either a paid membership or a free trial to access all courses (including classes that were previously available for free).

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Skillshare - Mission and Vision

The goal of Skillshare is to empower teachers and democratize learning. It wishes to create a society in which anyone can teach anything, supported by a never-ending cycle of sharing knowledge and interests. The platform wants to transform each neighborhood into a campus, each address into a classroom, and each resident into a learner and a teacher. Skillshare epitomizes the modern educational landscape because it is for doers rather than scholars or theorists.

Skillshare Logo
Skillshare Logo

The name "Skillshare" was inspired by the concept of a "skill share" where people come together to share their skills and knowledge. The name reflects the company's mission to make education more accessible and engaging through a collaborative platform.

Skillshare is known for providing multiple courses that mainly focus on people's creative side and evolve their skills. Thus, the tagline of Skillshare is "Inspiring discovery through creativity."

Skillshare - Business and Revenue Model

Since skillshare is an online-based learning platform that allows anyone to either teach or learn in various creative fields, it operates on a marketplace business model. It also offers scholarships for college and university students. As mentioned earlier, Skillshare used to offer classes for free, but it stopped its free service and made it a paid-based platform in a manner similar to Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Monthly, yearly, and enterprise subscriptions account for the majority of its income. In addition, Skillshare receives commissions from the related products it displays to customers who subscribe for a year.

Skillshare can be said to have two sections through which it operates its business and makes money:


Through subscription fees, students get unrestricted access to thousands of courses in virtually every subject area. Additionally, students will be able to take part in group projects. Initially, the platform allows a free trial, after which users will have to pay certain fees. It is then available for a monthly membership fee of $32, and an annual Premium membership fee of $168 (roughly $14 per month).

These monthly and yearly subscriptions account for the majority of Skillshare's income, with 30% of the revenue going to the teacher royalty pool, which rewards instructors for creating engaging courses based on factors such as the number of minutes watched and the number of new students enrolled.


The other way Skillshare does business is through referrals. It makes money from referral fees for promoting other products in addition to subscription income.

Skillshare - Funding and Investors

Skillshare has raised total funding worth $136.8 million in over 11 rounds. Its funding details are as follows:

Date Funding Round Amount Investors
Nov 2, 2020 Private Equity Round - -
Oct 5, 2020 Series D - -
Aug 10, 2020 Series D $66 million OMERS Growth Equity
Jan 1, 2019 Debt Financing $20 million -
Jul 23, 2018 Debt Financing $8 million -
Jul 23, 2018 Series C $20 million Union Square Ventures
May 26, 2016 Series B $12 million Amasia, Omidyar Network
Feb 28, 2014 Venture Round $6.1 million Spark Capital, Union Square Ventures
Jan 31, 2013 Venture Round $1 million VTF Capital
Aug 16, 2011 Series A $3.1 million Spark Capital, Union Square Ventures

Skillshare - Growth

To improve the quantity and quality of its lessons as well as to refocus on its strengths, Skillshare has continuously tweaked and updated both its chronicle and its platform. The business does define creativity broadly and includes lessons in all forms of art, including writing, design, animation, filmmaking, photography, and content creation.

Skillshare shifted the majority of its attention to creative lessons for its brand relaunch in 2020. The platform saw significant growth during mid-march 2020 as a result of social distancing and Covid-19 guidelines that made many people sit indoors.

The company claims that it is expanding and becoming popular outside the borders of the United States. It further adds that India is Skillshare's fastest-growing market without any support from local teachers or location-based content.

Today, Skillshare has over 13 million registered members and more than 11,000 teachers, and 34,000+ classes.

Skillshare - Competitors

The top competitors of SkillShare are:

Skillshare - Future Plans

Skillshare has mentioned that it plans to stay focused on English content in the coming future. Furthermore, the company is planning to accept payments in different currencies and support subtitles in various languages to promote global viewership.

Skillshare - FAQs

What is Skillshare?

Skillshare is a US-based online learning community for people who want to learn from educational videos. It offers thousands of courses that enhance a person's creative journey.

Who is the founder of Skillshare?

Michael Karnjanaprakorn and Malcolm Ong are the founders of Skillshare.

Who is the CEO of Skillshare?

Matt Cooper is the CEO of Skillshare.

Who are the top competitors of Skillshare?

The top competitors of SkillShare include Udemy, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, edX, Khan Academy, MasterClass, and CBT Nuggets.

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