Startup Udemy creates a virtual classroom

What is the history of Udemy?

Udemy started as a project of two brilliant developers from Turkey, Eren Bali and Oktay Caglar, who were building a live virtual classroom under contract with another company. By the end of the project, the company disbanded and the pair owned the rights to the virtual class instrument. They decided that it would be better if they could make it completely free and allow anyone in the world to access it. Eren and Oktay decided to move to Silicon Valley to start a company and found work in the Valley to start their own company there. They joined Founder of the Institute to improve their network and learn more about entrepreneurship and that is where they met me, Gagan Biyani. The rest, as they say, is history ;-).

What makes your company unique in its industry?

Udemy has 3 main advantages, and to our knowledge, there is no site that does all 3:

one) Content platform. Ability to upload multiple types of content (write blog posts, publish videos, and show presentations). I don’t know of another site that does this, but please let me know if there is one!

2) Asynchronous and synchronous tools. We believe in both the ability to publish content and the ability to participate in live virtual conferences with students. All Udemy educators can use Udemy Live for free.

3) Community. The problem with YouTube or SlideShare is that your students rarely get more than one piece of content from you. They are too distracted by other things, and you do not have the opportunity to communicate with them. On Udemy, students can “subscribe” to courses; instructors can then interact with their followers and thus build a community around their content.

Future plans of the company?

Udemy’s goal is to be the foundation for online education. So we are planning to enter some big markets and cooperate with famous instructors in those markets. For example, our section of academic courses with many courses from leading universities. In addition, we plan to allow instructors to charge users for accessing courses on Udemy. This is our business model: we share the income with the instructors, so they get 80% of the income and we get 20%.

What was the starting budget?

I don’t know how much we’ve spent, but definitely less than $10,000 since they moved to the US. We are fully loaded and don’t spend a lot of money (more because we don’t have it than on anything else).

Names and ages of the founders

Gagan Biyani, 22
Eren Bali, 26 years old
Oktay Chaglar, 28 years old


Help Udemy by answering their questions!

1. How can I connect with the right people to help my business grow?
2. Making important strategic decisions is always difficult because the wrong strategy can set you back if you put too much into it.
3. All in all, it’s always a fun (and frustrating) task to figure out how to market your product without a marketing budget!


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