Udacity - Training The World's Workforce

Sarika Anand Sarika Anand
Nov 29, 2021 11 min read
Udacity - Training The World's Workforce

Due to the convergence of technological innovations, global use of the Internet, and the increasing need for a population trained regularly for the ever-evolving digital economy, online education in its different forms has been gradually rising globally. By 2025, online schooling is expected to become commonplace.

Sebastian Thrun, David Stevens, and Mike Sokolsky created Udacity, Inc., an American for-profit educational business that offers massive open online courses. Udacity is an international, online, life-long learning network that connects education and employment opportunities. The company is on a mission to train the world's workforce in the careers of the future.

Udacity - Company Highlights

Startup Name Udacity
Headquarters Emeryville, California
Industry Online Education, EdTech
Founders Sebastian Thrun, David Stavens, and Mike Sokolsky
Founded June 2011
User base 1.6 Million
Areas Served Worldwide
Current CEO Gabriel Dalporto
Website www.udacity.com

About Udacity
Udacity - Latest News
Udacity - Industry
Udacity - Name, Logo, and Tagline
Udacity - Founders
Udacity - Startup Story
Udacity - Mission and Vision Statement
Udacity - Partnerships
Udacity - Spin-Off Company
Udacity - Business Model and Revenue Model
Udacity - Employees
Udacity - Funding, and Investors
Udacity - Acquisitions
Udacity - Growth
Udacity - Competitors
Udacity - Challenges Faced
Udacity - Future Plans
Udacity - FAQs

About Udacity

Udacity is an international, online, life-long learning network that connects education and employment opportunities. Udacity provides online courses in artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, data science, autonomous systems, and cloud computing, among other fields.

Udacity collaborates with technology firms to study how technology is altering businesses and teaches the essential skills that employers need in their employees, allowing learners to prepare for the most in-demand tech positions.

Nanodegrees offered by Udacity have gained much popularity and many consider these nano degrees to be more effective than the regular college degrees. Front-end and senior web developer, full-stack web developer, data analyst, machine learning engineer, iOS and Android developer, programming introduction, tech entrepreneur, iOS app development beginning, Ruby beginning, and 2D mobile game developer courses are among the nano degree programs available.

Udacity - Latest News

As of September 2021, Udacity conducted a renowned virtual conference enabling women to thrive in STEM (Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics). Despite global discussions and initiatives to address the gender imbalance in STEM disciplines, women continue to be underrepresented, undervalued, and frequently discriminated against. Udacity's virtual conference 'STEM Forward with Women' seeks to create a forum for women to interact with female industry leaders while also providing them with the chance to gain in-demand technical knowledge.

"Changing the face of technology, especially during unprecedented times, is no easy task. STEM Forward with Women is the pep-talk all women need to take the leap forward and pursue a career that they deserve in the field of technology and computer science," stated Kimberly Bryant, CEO and Founder, Black Girls CODE.

Udacity - Industry

Over the last decade, online learning has grown significantly as the internet and education have merged to give individuals the possibility to learn new skills. Online learning has grown increasingly important in people's lives after the COVID-19 epidemic. The epidemic has pushed schools, colleges, and businesses to operate remotely, which has resulted in an increase in the use of online learning. Even before the pandemic, Research and Markets predicted that the online education industry will be worth $350 billion by 2025, thus the figures may be revised after assessing the effects of COVID-19 on the sector's growth.

All of these online learning businesses have a large quantity of user data, allowing them to employ machine learning algorithms to improve people's learning habits. Pattern recognition is used by machine learning algorithms to customize material for each individual. When a student struggles with a subject during the course, for example, the platform can alter the e-learning content to give more comprehensive information to assist the learner.

Udacity - Name, Logo, and Tagline

Company Logo of Udacity
Company Logo of Udacity

Sebastian Thrun, the company's founder, claims that the term Udacity stems from the company's ambition to be "audacious for you, the learner." It used to focus on university-style courses, but today it mostly offers vocational training for professionals.

Udacity's slogan says, "Be in demand!"


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Udacity - Founders

Udacity was founded by David Stevens, Mike Sokolsky, and Sebastian Thrun in 2011.

David Stevens

From June 2011 to May 2012, David served as CEO of Udacity, then from April 2013 to April 2014, he served as President. As CEO, he grew the company to 30 people, registered the first 250,000 students from 195 countries, and introduced the first 12 programs, the first MOOC employment program, and the first MOOC certified tests in collaboration with Pearson VUE. He obtained a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford under the guidance of Sebastian Thrun. While at Stanford, David was one of the co-creators of Stanley an autonomous car that won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. The Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC currently has Stanley on exhibit.

Sebastian Thrun

Sebastian Thrun is a researcher, educator, inventor, and businessman. Sebastian is the founder and CEO of Kitty Hawk, a company whose mission is to relieve people from traffic congestion. He is also the creator, chairman, and president of Udacity, an educational platform with the purpose to democratise education.

Sebastian founded X (formerly Google X), where he oversaw the creation of the self-driving vehicle, Google Glass, and other initiatives. He was a professor at Stanford University for several years, where he led the Stanford Racing Team, which won the DARPA Grand Challenge with its vehicle "Stanley."

Founder of Udacity - Sebastian Thrun
Founder of Udacity - Sebastian Thrun

Mike Sokolsky

Mike believes that technology should improve rather than complicate life. He studied at Carnegie Mellon University and worked in robotics at Stanford University and the University of Alberta. His background includes autonomous cars, medical robotics, reinforcement learning, and robotic soccer. In 2011, he co-founded Udacity.

Udacity - Startup Story

Sebastian Thrun had a dream career for most academics throughout the world. The Artificial Intelligence specialist was a tenured professor at Stanford University, where he'd spent almost a decade leading student attempts to create self-driving cars and acting as the head of the university's Artificial Intelligence Lab. Thrun also created Google[x], the tech giant's well-known R&D branch focusing on driverless vehicles, balloon-powered internet networks, and other "moonshots" in his leisure time.

But the entrepreneur and thinker had bigger ideas. Thrun announced his departure from Stanford in 2012 to launch Udacity, an online education company aimed at delivering high-quality tech education to the people.

Salman Khan and his Khan Academy, one of the early entrants into the field, introduced Thrun to the notion of MOOCs. Thrun and co-professor Peter Norvig opened up their next computer science course at Stanford to a global audience as an experiment in 2011. Soon after, other roboticists David Stevens and Mike Sokolsky joined engaged, and the inaugural course had more than 100,000 students enrolled by the time it started. Udacity was up and operating in no time, with Stevens as the company's first CEO and Sokolsky as the CTO.

Udacity - Mission and Vision Statement

Udacity's mission statement says, "Udacity’s mission is to train the world's workforce in the careers of the future."

Modern technology influences every industry. Companies all around the world are eager to employ people with the right tech skills to help them adapt and improve their operations. Through their strong and adaptable digital education platform, Udacity collaborates with the world's leading technology companies to teach these vital tech skills. Udacity has made it possible for even the busiest students to prepare for the most in-demand tech jobs.


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Udacity - Partnerships

Udacity's top hiring partners include Google, Amazon Alexa, Auro, Bosch, CrowdAI, Dataspeed, HARMAN, Intel, Lucid VR, Mobvoi, Nod, Samsung, Slack, TelefΓ³nica Germany, Upload, etc.

Udacity - Spin-Off Company

In April 2017, Udacity announced the launch of Voyage Auto, a self-driving vehicle taxi firm that would compete with ride-hailing services like Uber. The business has been testing its concept on low-speed private roads in a retirement community in San Jose, California, using production consumer automobiles. Voyage established a ride-hailing collaboration with The Villages, a retirement community in Florida, in 2018. Voyage was purchased by Cruise in March 2021.

Udacity - Business Model and Revenue Model

Udacity is a freemium EdTech platform that offers massive open online courses (MOOCs) (courses open to anyone for enrolment). Udacity collaborates with businesses and institutions to provide nanodegrees (short-term online education programs focused on specialized skills in computer science). The user can choose to pay a one-time or recurring charge to access one or all of the courses. The courses are available to private individuals, businesses too can buy these courses for their employees. The cost of the consumer courses varies from $718 to $1436.

Udacity courses are delivered in a nanodegree format by the firm. Nanodegrees are made up of a series of lectures and homework assignments that culminate in a capstone project.

In the past, Udacity's payment models have been prone to change. The most recent modifications are in line with their new approach of providing high-quality educational content, which includes professional mentors and specialized career counseling.

Furthermore, a freemium business model is an element of the company's growth plan. Udacity provides free access to beginning courses or sections of nano degrees in this way. This assists users in determining if they are comfortable in the learning environment and have the time and abilities required to finish the courses.

Udacity - Employees

  • Alper Tekin - Chief Product Officer
  • Dana Bennett - Chief People Officer
  • Gabriel Dalporto - Chief Executive Officer
  • James Richards - CTO
  • Kenny Kim - Chief Marketing Officer
  • Alvaro Biel - Head of Business Development & Partnerships, Europe and Latin America - Udacity for Government
  • Blake Tablak - SVP of Global Enterprise
  • Grace Rhee - Vice President of People and Places
  • Holger Kobler - Regional Vice President DACH
  • Ira Stone - Regional Vice President, Enterprise Sales

Udacity - Funding, and Investors

Date Round Amount Lead Investors
Aug 27, 2021 Secondary Market $5M -
Jun 20, 2021 Secondary Market - -
Jun 12, 2021 Secondary Market - -
Jan 28, 2021 Secondary Market - -
Nov 3, 2020 Debt Financing $75M Hercules Capital
Nov 11, 2015 Series D $105M Bertelsmann
Sep 24, 2014 Series C $35M -
Oct 25, 2012 Series B $15M Andreessen Horowitz
Jan 1, 2012 Series A $5M CRV

Udacity - Acquisitions

Acquiree Name About Acquiree Date Amount
Terminal The Terminal provides bleeding-edge software and AI to edtech companies looking to improve student success. Mar 1, 2017 -

Udacity - Growth

The pandemic produced great burdens and drove individuals to make many tough decisions, and 2020 was a year of extraordinary challenges. At the same time, individuals continued to learn and grow despite the disturbance in their everyday lives. Over the course of 2020, Udacity increased its focus on assisting students in finding the courses they needed to prepare for a better future.

Last year, the firm celebrated 14 million users, 1.5 million completed projects, and over 170,000 Nanodegree certificates granted, and they are looking forward to celebrating over 50,000 graduates in 2020 as well as some interesting improvements.

The year 2020 was a momentous occasion for Udacity as a company. Enterprise and government bookings increased by 260 percent in yearly recurring revenue in the first half of 2020 alone, and the company just obtained $75 million in funding to assist support this remarkable development, tripling its Sales and Customer Success teams.

Over the last year (2019-2020), the company welcomed a number of new team members to help them maintain this incredible trajectory with enterprise customers, including CFO Seamus Hennessy, CMO Kenny Kim, SVP of Global Enterprise Sales Blake Tablak, and SVP of Global Customer Success and Operations Jennifer Dearman, who joined in early 2021.


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Udacity - Competitors

Udacity's top competitors include Khan Academy, Skillshare, Coursebirdie, MasterClass, Pluralsight, Udemy, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, BizLibrary, Articulate 360, iSpring Suite, PiiQ by Cornerstone, Infosec Skills, Pluralsight, and General Assembly.

Udacity - Challenges Faced

Udacity had to lay off roughly 20% of its employees and restructure its operations as of April 2019, as co-founder Sebastian Thrun attempted to decrease expenses in line with revenue without stifling growth.

Udacity, which offers β€œnano degrees” in a variety of technical disciplines such as AI, deep learning, digital marketing, virtual reality, and computer vision, has been in financial trouble for months, owing to rising expenses and other inefficiencies. Thanks to popular initiatives like its self-driving vehicle and deep learning nano degree, the firm flourished in 2017, with revenue jumping 100 percent year over year.

Udacity has also reduced expenses and streamlined marketing activities, shrunk and consolidated office space, and standardized instructional programs throughout its different locations, including the United States, Brazil, China, and India.

The firm maintained an office in Mountain View, albeit in a smaller size, as well as one in San Francisco. Udacity has shuttered a second satellite office in San Francisco and is assessing its real estate requirements in other nations.

Udacity - Future Plans

Udacity has popularized the notion of "Nanodegrees" in fields including artificial intelligence, programming, autonomous driving, and cloud computing. Udacity will focus more on Sales and Marketing in the coming years.

"On the enterprise and government side, we're seeing enormous demand," said Gabe Dalporto, Udacity's CEO, who joined the firm in 2019. "However, it's largely been inbound to date, with businesses, Fortune 500 firms, and government agencies seeking to collaborate with us." Now it's time to assemble a sales force to pursue them.”

The interest in Udacity, both from investors and as a firm, is part of a larger emphasis on online education startups in the previous year. As schools, districts, governments, and public health officials implement social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, the focus has been on developing better technology and content to help students stay engaged and continue learning even when they are unable to be in their normal physical classrooms. Udacity is not considering any acquisitions for the next 6-12 months.

Udacity - FAQs

What does Udacity do?

Udacity (an American company) is an international, online, life-long learning network that connects education and employment opportunities. Udacity is an online training platform that provides courses in artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, data science, autonomous systems, and cloud computing, among other fields.

Who founded Udacity?

Udacity was founded by David Stevens, Mike Sokolsky, and Sebastian Thrun in 2011.

When was Udacity founded?

Udacity was founded by David Stevens, Mike Sokolsky, and Sebastian Thrun in 2011.

How does Udacity make money?

Udacity earns money by selling instructional content to individuals and businesses. These courses are delivered in a nanodegree format by the firm.

Which companies do Udacity compete with?

Udacity's top competitors include Khan Academy, Skillshare, Coursebirdie, MasterClass, Pluralsight, Udemy, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, BizLibrary, Articulate 360, iSpring Suite, PiiQ by Cornerstone, Infosec Skills, Pluralsight, and General Assembly.

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