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Udacity

Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 | 12:53 PM ET

What
Offering low-cost courses that involve frequent online quizzes, one every two to five minutes, that become the centerpiece of an interactive approach to student learning

Disrupting
Traditional offline higher-education course model

Vital Stats

  • Flagship CS101 (computer science) course has more than 300,000 enrolls.
  • More than 1.3 million enrollments and more than 556,000 unique students.
  • Students in 190 countries.
  • More than 160,000 students enrolled in Udacity's first course, "Introduction to Artificial Intelligence," based on course taught by founder Sebastian Thrun.
  • Of the 24,000 students who completed the course, top 400 were not Stanford students.
  • Of the 200 Stanford students enrolled, only 30 continued coming to class, because the online experience proved better.
  • Launched courses in partnership with corporations such as Google, NVIDIA, Microsoft, Autodesk, and Cadence.
  • Partnered with Georgia Tech and AT&T for online Master of Science degree program in computer science.
  • Recent setback was July suspension of its biggest partner university program, with San Jose State University, launched last January and which had support from California governor Jerry Brown.

Headquarters: Palo Alto, Calif.
CEO: Sebastian Thrun
Year Founded: 2011
Number of Employees: 50+
Funding: $20 million
Key Investors: Andreessen Horowitz, Charles River Ventures, Steve Blank

On Disruption

"We think higher education needs fixing. Conventional university teaching is too costly, inefficient and ineffective. ... You don’t lose weight by watching someone else exercise. You don’t learn by watching someone else solve problems." -Sebastian Thrun, Udacity CEO

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