COUR begins trading on the NYSE

Shares of education tech company Coursera closed up 36% after its market debut Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares closed at $45, giving the company a market cap of $5.9 billion.

On Tuesday, Coursera priced its 15.73 million shares at $33 apiece — the high end of its initial $30 to $33 target range. In its offering, the company raised nearly $520 million at an implied $4.3 billion valuation.

Coursera was last valued in the private market at $3.6 billion, according to PitchBook.

Founded in 2012 by former Stanford University computer science professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, the Mountain View, California-based company offers individuals access to online courses and degrees from top universities, a business that has boomed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Revenue last year jumped 59% to $293 million. Still, Coursera’s net losses widened to $66.8 million from $46.7 million in 2019 as the company said it added over 12,000 new degrees for students over the last two years. Total registered users grew 65% year over year in 2020.

“[When] we started back in 2012 with Andrew and Daphne, it was sort of B2C — put some courses up and see who from around the world wants to come … [since then] 77 million individuals came to; 30 million during the pandemic,” CEO Jeff Maggioncalda said on CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” Wednesday morning before shares started trading.

“We do see a post-pandemic world that’s going to have a whole lot more online learning as part of it,” he added. “Almost every student was forced to learn online. Almost every teacher was forced to teach online. This huge forced experiment was tough in some regards, but it also introduced a new way of learning that’s being embraced for the affordability, the quality, and the convenience.”

Maggioncalda joined the company as CEO in 2017 after 18 years at Financial Engines, an investment advisory firm he founded and took public in 2010 before a 2018 merger with Edelman Financial Services.

“That institutional learning, where people are learning at work and even earning fully accredited bachelor’s and master’s degrees while they’re working … we think that’s what the future really looks like,” Maggioncalda said.

According to the company’s IPO prospectus, as of December 31, 2020, more than 150 universities offered upwards of 4,000 courses through the Coursera platform, which features over two dozen degree programs.

A bachelor’s or master’s degree completed through Coursera can range in cost from $9,000 to $45,000. The company also offers a wide variety of education certificates and professional skills courses that range in price from as low as $9.99 to $99.

During the pandemic, Coursera has also partnered with more than 330 government agencies across 70 countries and 30 U.S. states and cities as part of the Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative, which helps governments offer unemployed workers free access to thousands of courses for business, technology and data science skills from companies including Amazon and Google.

“We see education as a lifelong opportunity and a lifelong obligation for most people,” Maggioncalda said. “What has happened with industry after industry is now happening with education. Technology can lower cost and increase access and affordability, and that’s precisely what we see happening with degrees on Coursera.”

Coursera has made the CNBC Disruptor 50 list multiple times and most recently ranked No. 4 on the 2020 list.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs were the lead underwriters for Coursera’s offering. The stock trades under the ticker symbol “COUR.”

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