Online learning firm Coursera climbs 18% in stock market debut

Shares of the company opened at $39 a piece and climbed around 18%, pushing Coursera's market cap above $5 billion.

Online education technology company Coursera began its first day of trading on Wednesday after listing on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol COUR. Shares of the company opened at $39 a piece and climbed around 18%, pushing Coursera's market cap above $5 billion. 

On Tuesday night Coursera priced its initial public offering for an aggregate of 15.7 million shares at $33.00 per share, which would've allowed the company to raise around $484 million.

The COVID-19 crisis spurred a surge in online learning since last March and Coursera has benefited at least in part by the boom. But the company expects to remain relevant beyond the end of the pandemic as it bets that the future of education will be a blend of online and in-person learning. Here's the pitch from Coursera's IPO filing:

We believe the future of education will be characterized by blended classrooms, job-relevant education, and lifelong learning, and that online learning will be the primary means of meeting the urgent global demand for emerging skills. According to an estimate by the World Bank, there were more than 200 million college students around the world as of October 2017, many of whom did not have necessary job-relevant skills. Online learning holds the promise to enable anyone, anywhere to learn new skills in preparation for high demand, digital jobs. The combined forces of online learning and remote work have the potential to increase global social equity by enabling a future where anyone, anywhere has access to both high-quality learning and high-quality job opportunities in an increasingly digital world.

Coursera's IPO prospectus disclosed 2020 revenue of $293 million, an increase of 59% year over year, with net losses of $66.8 million. The company said its total registered users grew 65% year over year in 2020 to more than 77 million. Coursera said over 2,000 organizations, 4,000 academic institutions, and 300 government entities had used its platform to upskill and reskill their employees and students.

RELATED: