After TechCrunch went broke News yesterday that Coursera was planning to file its S-1 today, the edtech company officially dropped the document on Friday evening.
Coursera was last valued at $ 2.4 billion in the private markets when it last launched a Series F round valued at $ 130 million in October 2020.
Coursera’s S-1 filing offers a glimpse into the finances an edtech company accelerated by the pandemic has achieved over the past year. It paints a picture of growth, albeit one that has come at a high cost.
In 2020, Coursera had sales of $ 293.5 million. This represents an increase of around 59% over the previous year when the company had sales of $ 184.4 million. During the same period, Coursera posted a net loss of nearly $ 67 million, up 46% from its net deficit of $ 46.7 million last year.
In particular, the company had roughly the same non-cash, stock-based compensation expenses in both years. Even if we allow the company to measure its profitability based on Adjusted EBITDA, Coursera’s losses rose from $ 26.9 million to $ 39.8 million from 2019 to 2020.
To understand the difference between Net Losses and Adjusted Losses, it pays to unpack the acronym EBITDA. EBITDA stands for “Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization” and it eliminates some non-operating costs to give investors a better picture of the continued health of a company without getting tangled up in accounting nuances. Adjusted EBITDA goes one step further and also eliminates the non-cash cost of share-based compensation. In an even more cheeky step, it also deducts the “wage tax expense in connection with share-based activities”.
Even if we rate Coursera’s profitability on a very polite curve, it results in significant losses for our purposes. In fact, the company’s Adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of sales – a method of measuring profitability versus sales – barely improved from -15% in 2019 to -14% in 2020.