After TechCrunch broke the news yesterday that Coursera was planning to file its S-1 today, the edtech company officially dropped the document on Friday night.
Coursera was last valued at $ 2.4 billion by private markets when it most recently raised a Series F round in October 2020 worth $ 130 million.
Coursera’s S-1 filing provides an insight into the economics of how an edtech company, accelerated by the pandemic, performed last year. It paints a picture of growth, albeit one that came at steep costs.
In 2020, Coursera experienced $ 293.5 million in revenue. This is an increase of approx. 59% from the previous year, when the company recorded $ 1
In particular, the company had roughly the same noncash, stock-based compensation costs in both years. Although we allow the company to assess its profitability on an adjusted EBITDA basis, Coursera’s losses continued to increase from 2019 to 2020, growing from $ 26.9 million to $ 39.8 million.
To understand the difference between net loss and adjusted loss, it is worth unpacking the EBITDA acronym. Standing for “earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization”, EBITDA removes some non-operating expenses to give investors a possible better picture of a company’s continued health without being caught in the nuance of accounting. Adjusted EBITDA takes the concept a step further, and also removes the non-cash costs of share-based compensation, and in an even more cheeky move in this case also deducts “payroll tax costs related to share-based activities”.
For our purposes, even when we assess Coursera’s profitability on a very polite curve, it still wins up and generates stiff losses. The company’s adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of revenue – a way to determine profitability as opposed to revenue – hardly improved from a profit in 2019 of -15% to -14% in 2020.