SEEK makes big investment in global online learning platforms Coursera and Futurelearn

Andrew Bassat

SEEK, the online jobs platform, has taken a $92 million mouthful of online learning platform Futurelearn, buying 50 per cent of the business, as well as sealing a $103 million investment in Coursera.

The announcement, made by SEEK in the ASX on Monday, marks a big move by the jobs platform in the education space.

In a statement, SEEK co-founder and CEO Andrew Bassat said the investment “reflects our commitment to online education, which is enabling the up-skilling and re-skilling of people and is aligned to our purpose of helping people live fulfilling working lives.”

He also noted that the company likes “to invest in disruptive business models that provide world-class student education outcomes”.

Founded by the Open University in the UK, Futurelearn is one of the world’s largest online learning platforms with over 20 million enrolments and nine million ‘learners’. Coursera, founded in the US by two Stanford professors, is a learning platform with 39 million users and 3,200 courses on offer.

The AFR reported SEEK’s investment amounts to a $50 million minority stake in Coursera.

The investment in Coursera was alongside current investors NEA and the Future Fund.

Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda said in a statement SEEK’s “funding gives us the resources and flexibility to further expand internationally and to accelerate the development of a learning platform.”

Coursera was recently valued at worth more than $1 billion, according to Forbes , with revenue pegged at US$140 million in 2018.

Futurelearn, according to The Pie News, recently partnered with the Red Cross to deliver a six-week course on how to care for unaccompanied or separated refugee children.

In a statement, Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn, said the 50 per cent investment by SEEK “will enable us to unlock FutureLearn’s true potential and extend our global reach and impact”.

Pointing to future plans, Bassat said the investment formed part of SEEK’s long-term growth strategy, investing in areas outside of jobs.

“Technology is increasing the accessibility of quality education and can help millions of people upskill and re-skill to adapt to rapidly changing labour markets,” he said. “We see FutureLearn as a key enabler for education at scale.”

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