From a little town to a $710 million business (Udemy)

In Turkey, a man from a small hamlet created Udemy.

From nothing, he was able to build Udemy into a $710 million business.


The first ten steps were the most challenging, but we eventually accomplished. This is how:


  1. In Turkey, Eren Bali introduced the original Udemy in 2007. But he fell short.


  1. Two more men joined Eren Bali in 2010 and chose to try Udemy once more. However, this time they moved to Silicon Valley after packing their belongings.


  1. The creators presented their proposal to investors 50 times in February 2010; each time, they received a negative response.


  1. They sighed and chose to bootstrap the product’s development.


  1. They introduced a new version of Udemy in May 2010. However, they had no content—no coaches, no students, and no courses.


  1. In parallel, they cold-called instructors for six months to ask them to add courses to their platform.

Finding: 0. An empty platform didn’t appeal to anyone.


  1. They applied two ways to address the content issue:


7.1. They uploaded 100 of the best creative commons-licensed (free legal) courses to Udemy and claimed they were from esteemed institutions like Stanford, Yale, and MIT.


7.2. “Raising capital for startups” is a premium course they developed and posted.


  1. By pitching the media with the line “free courses from top colleges,” they got Mashable and TechCrunch’s attention.


8.2 In addition, at $3 per hour they employed data miners in the Philippines through Odesk (now Upwork).

Plus the initial 10,000 users.

plus their own programme brought in $30,000 + first 1,000 educators uploaded 2,000 courses; they utilised this example as a success story to encourage instructors to publish their courses.


  1. Investors were interested in this success.

$1 million in venture capital as a result.


  1. They simply scaled their success after that.


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