Online Learning Community Skillshare Raises $66 Million

By Noah Long ● August 13, 2020
  • Skillshare, one of the world’s largest online learning community for creativity, announced it has raised $66 million in funding

Skillshare — which is one of the world’s largest online learning community for creativity — announced it has raised a $66 million round of funding led by OMERS Growth Equity. Including this funding round, Skillshare has raised $42 million in capital from Union Square Ventures, Amasia, Burda Principal Investments, and Spero Ventures — who all participated in this round. And Citigroup served as exclusive financial advisor to Skillshare.

With over 12 million registered members, 8,000 teachers, and over 30,000 video-based classes in a wide range of creative disciplines from graphic design to photography to painting and illustration to interior design, Skillshare has experienced a year of unprecedented growth.

This round of funding comes on the heels of a brand pivot in early 2020 to focus on the creative community. Ever since the brand pivot, new member sign-ups have tripled and existing members are watching three 3 the number of lessons.

In response to a surge in international demand, the funding will primarily be used for creating a localized experience for international students while continuing to expand domestically and grow Skillshare’s enterprise offering. And the funding will also create more opportunities for Skillshare’s teachers. Skillshare is going to invest in tools that increase engagement between students and teachers, expand teachers’ audiences through dedicated marketing efforts, and create new formats for teachers to earn revenue.

Skillshare’s community-based learning model sets the platform apart from competitors in the online learning space. And signature workshops and project offerings create organic opportunities for positive connections and constructive feedback from peers and teachers. Over 200,000 projects have been uploaded to the platform to date.

In the first half of 2020, Skillshare has been focused on releasing quality new classes taught by industry experts, testing new learning methods, and video production processes. And as a result, the average rate of engagement has more than doubled in most markets.

The funding round will further build out Skillshare’s enterprise offering called Skillshare for Teams. Companies are increasingly realizing the value of a more creative workforce. And as a result, Skillshare has seen sales nearly doubling year-over-year.

The company’s diverse course offerings have enabled the company to partner with hundreds of businesses, including GM Financial, VICE, AWS, Lululemon, American Crafts, and Benefit to inspire creativity and wellness regardless of where they are working and living.

KEY QUOTES:

“While the world faces an extended period of uncertainty, creativity will be at the heart of the global rebuild. Our shift as a business earlier this year has uniquely positioned us to meet that need and resulted in incredible growth, deeper user engagement and interest from new partners during a time where creativity is more important than ever. The impact of social distancing on our mental and emotional wellbeing is profound, and people today are in need of authentic human connection, supportive communities, and creative outlets. At the same time, during recessions and economic downturns, companies perform better because they invest in skills that allow room for ideas and innovation. Skillshare is meeting this demand for both personal and professional growth through creativity.”

— Skillshare CEO Matt Cooper

“As the leading platform for creative skills, Skillshare brings together a truly global community of students and teachers. Skillshare serves the needs of professional creatives and everyday creative hobbyists alike, which presents a highly-innovative value proposition for the online learning market. We look forward to deepening our partnership with Skillshare, and our fellow investors, in order to help Matt Cooper and his team scale up the company’s international reach – and help Skillshare achieve the full potential of its unique approach to online learning.”

— Saar Pikar, Managing Director at OMERS Growth Equity — who will join the Skillshare Board of Directors