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MasterClass more than triples valuation in one year

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Online learning platform MasterClass has been valued at $2.75 billion in a new round of funding, sources tell CNBC. That’s more than triple its valuation from June 2020, according to Pitchbook.

The company plans to use the fresh $225 million in funds to help launch a new enterprise business and expand internationally.

MasterClass, which offers courses taught by celebrities, athletes and business leaders, saw sales skyrocket as people were stuck at home last year during the coronavirus pandemic. Growth was so strong that some weeks saw a tenfold increase from the same week a year ago, said CEO David Rogier.

“People are wanting to learn and bring the joy back to learning, so I think the pandemic was just an accelerant,” Rogier said.

But as more people get vaccinated and economies reopen in many parts of the world, investors are cooling on online education companies. Coursera and Chegg, two public companies in the space, have seen their shares decline 44% and 32% respectively from their 52-week highs.

MasterClass relies on a subscription model for revenue. An annual subscription costs $180 and allows users unlimited access.

Increasingly, Rogier said, MasterClass has seen interest from small and large corporations across different industries. In response, some of the latest capital will go toward launching a new B2B business line.

“Companies are seeing Masterclass as an employment benefit but also an LMD [learning management and development] tool,” Rogier said.

The fresh funds will also be used to expand internationally. Currently all classes on the platform are only in English while about one-third of MasterClass subscribers are outside the United States. Over the next year, it plans to offer classes in Spanish, French and German.

During the pandemic, users were “multihyphenate” and took a broad range of classes.

“It was true in the pandemic that if you took a Steph Curry class, the next one might be Steve Martin,” said Rogier. “Or you might start with a negotiation class with Chris Voss then find an Alicia Keys class to learn to sing or write a song.”

Rogier wouldn’t comment on future IPO plans but acknowledged, “there are a lot of options out there.”

The Series F was led by Fidelity, with participation from Baillie Gifford, Eldridge, IVP and NEA.

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