42. Coursera

We don't need no formal IT education.

Founders: Daphne Koller, Andrew Ng
CEO: Jeff Maggioncalda
Launched: 2012
Headquarters: Mountain View, California
Funding:
210.3 million (PitchBook)
Valuation: $814 million (PitchBook)
Key technologies:
N/A
Disrupting:
Higher education, online learning

George Kavallines | CNBC

Every time there's a story in the news about the cost of college or the amount of student debt outstanding, the premise for Coursera gets a little stronger. This six-year-old online education platform gives folks anywhere in the world access to online courses and degrees from top universities at a fraction of the cost. A master's degree from Coursera runs $15,000 to $25,000; attending a university in person can run as much as $80,000 for the same degree. There are 30 million users accessing the site, which offers more than 2,400 courses in areas such as business, social sciences, math, language and computer science from over 160 top schools, organizations and industry partners. And earlier this year, Coursera added six new full degrees, including its first bachelors' degree, in partnership with five leading universities.

Read More: FULL LIST: 2018 DISRUPTOR 50

The company was started by former Stanford University computer science professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng. Both had spent enough time in higher education to realize that change was overdue and that online learning was a good path forward. Today, the company is run by CEO Jeff Maggioncalda, who came on board in June after 18 years at the helm of portfolio management company, Financial Engines. Although users still have access to free courses, Coursera has been more active in promoting its paid options. For instance, its "Specializations" program is a series of online courses that enable learners to master a specific career skill. The courses typically take anywhere from four to six months and range in price from $39 to $79 per month.

In 2016, Coursera launched Coursera for Business. Today the program has 600 corporate customers (23 of which are Fortune 500 companies), including L'Oreal, Boston Consulting Group, JPMorgan Chase and PayPal, among them. And in June the company celebrated the one-year anniversary of Coursera for Refugees, a program that partners with nonprofits to bring high-quality education to refugees at no cost to them. To date, this program has reached several thousand refugees around the world.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates have been behind Coursera from the beginning and, together with other investors, have poured $210 million into the company. Maggioncalda recently told TechCrunch the company has no timetable for an IPO.

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