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Naspers pumps R905 million into EdTech firm Udemy

Naspers through its Naspers Ventures division has invested $60 million (about R905 million) into a global marketplace for learning and teaching online firm Udemy.

As a result of the strategic investments, Larry Illg – CEO of Naspers Ventures, is joining Udemy’s board of directors.

This is Naspers Ventures second investment in EdTech: online learning marketplace. Last month the company led a $15 million Series B investment in social learning network, Brainly.

Naspers also announces opening of San Francisco office – aimed at tapping U.S. technology companies for strong global growth.

Naspers is one of the largest technology investors globally and has helped build and grow some of the world’s most successful internet companies. The operating and investment strategy is to back innovative companies where there is high potential to create value over time.

Finding new segments and markets such as EdTech with significant global potential will continue the company’s growth.

Naspers said in a statement that Udemy plans to use the new capital to continue its strong international momentum, including growing its localized course content library and product offerings to meet the global demand for online learning. The investment is a follow-on to Udemy’s $65 million Series D round of financing from June of 2015.

Over the past year, Udemy has experienced significant growth, particularly among its international business. With more than 40,000 courses now available in 80 different languages, Udemy offers the largest selection of online course content. It also surpassed 11 million students and 20,000 instructors worldwide and had 50 million enrollments from students in more than 190 countries.

Larry Illg - CEO of Naspers Ventures
Larry Illg – CEO of Naspers Ventures

“Udemy has built a technology platform that will transform education on a global scale and we are eager to help them with further expansion,” Illg said in a statement. “Their online learning marketplace offers courses on thousands of topics in dozens of languages and makes education for anyone, anywhere more accessible”.

Naspers, a global internet and entertainment company with operations in 130 countries, has the local expertise to help Udemy build its growing international presence.

“With two-thirds of our students and over half of our instructors located outside the U.S., Udemy has made huge strides in opening access to learning and teaching opportunities worldwide, yet we are just at the beginning of realizing the full potential of online learning,” said Dennis Yang, CEO of Udemy.

“We’ve reached a critical juncture in our global economy where everyone needs to embrace lifelong learning and take initiative for upskilling themselves. That’s why I’m thrilled to be partnering with Naspers to invigorate our efforts to bring Udemy to even more learners and experts around the world.”

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