SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from ___________ to ___________
Commission File Number 001-40956
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)
(State or Other Jurisdiction of
Incorporation or Organization)
|(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)|
600 Harrison Street, 3rd Floor
San Francisco, California
|(Address of Principal Executive Offices)||(Zip Code)|
(Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading Symbol(s)||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common Stock, $0.00001 par value||UDMY||The Nasdaq Stock Market|
Securities registered pursuant to section 12(g) of the Act: None
(Title of class)
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.
Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer ☒
Accelerated filer ☐
Non-accelerated filer ☐
Smaller reporting company ☐
Emerging growth company ☐
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared to issued its audit report. ☒
If the securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b). ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ☐ No ☒
Based on the closing price of the Registrant’s Common Stock on the last business day of the Registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, which was June 30, 2022, the aggregate market value of its shares held by non-affiliates was approximately $803.9 million. Shares of the Registrant’s Common Stock held by each executive officer and director and by each entity or person that owned 5 percent or more of the Registrant’s outstanding Common Stock were excluded in that such persons may be deemed to be affiliates. This determination of affiliate status is not necessarily a conclusive determination for other purposes.
As of February 21, 2023, 145,359,888 shares of the registrant’s common stock were outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s Definitive Proxy Statement relating to the registrant’s 2023 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K where indicated. Such Definitive Proxy Statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the end of the registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2022.
Table of Contents
Summary of risk factors
Our business is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including those highlighted in the section of this report titled “Risk Factors.” The following is a summary of the principal risks we face, any of which could adversely affect our business, operating results, financial condition, or prospects:
•We have a history of losses, and we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to achieve or maintain profitability in the future.
•We operate in an emerging and dynamic market, which makes it difficult to evaluate our future results of operations.
• Our results of operations may fluctuate significantly from period to period due to a wide range of factors, which makes our future results difficult to predict.
• Our rapid growth may not be sustainable and depends on our ability to attract new learners, instructors, and organizations and retain existing ones.
• Our platform relies on a limited number of instructors who create a significant portion of the most popular content on our platform, and the loss of these instructor relationships could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
• If we fail to maintain and expand our relationships with Udemy Business (“UB” or “Enterprise”) customers, our ability to grow our business and revenue will suffer.
• We operate in a highly competitive market, and we may not be able to compete successfully against current and future competitors.
• The market for online learning solutions is relatively new and may not grow as we expect, which may harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
• Adherence to our values and our focus on long-term sustainability may negatively impact our short- or medium-term financial performance.
• Acquisitions and other strategic investments may expose us to significant risks, any of which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
• Changes in laws or regulations relating to privacy, data protection, or cybersecurity, including those relating to the protection or transfer of data relating to individuals, or any actual or perceived failure by us to comply with such laws and regulations or any other obligations could adversely affect our business.
• We may be unable to adequately obtain, maintain, protect, and enforce our intellectual property and proprietary information, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
• We could face liability, or our reputation might be harmed, as a result of courses posted to our platform.
• Intellectual property litigation, including litigation related to content available on our platform, could result in significant costs and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and reputation.
• The trading price of our common stock may be volatile, and you could lose all or part of your investment.
Special note regarding forward-looking statements
This Annual Report on Form 10-K (“Form 10-K”) contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this Form 10-K, including statements regarding our future results of operations or financial condition, business strategy and plans, and objectives of management for future operations, are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “would,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “could,” “intend,” “target,” “project,” “contemplate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential,” or “continue,” or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions that concern our expectations, strategy, plans or intentions. Forward-looking statements contained in this Form 10-K include, but are not limited to, statements about:
•our expectations regarding our financial and operating performance, including our expectations regarding our revenue, costs, monthly average buyers, number of UB customers, UB Annual Recurring Revenue, UB Net Dollar Retention Rate, UB Large Customer Net Dollar Retention Rate, segment revenue, segment gross profit, adjusted EBITDA, and adjusted EBITDA margin;
•our ability to successfully execute our business and growth strategy;
•our ability to attract and retain learners, instructors, and enterprise customers;
•the timing and success of new features, integrations, capabilities, and other platform enhancements by us, or by our competitors to their offerings, or any other changes in the competitive landscape of our markets and industry;
•anticipated trends, developments, and challenges in our industry, business, and the markets in which we operate;
•the size of our addressable markets, market share, and market trends, including our ability to grow our business internationally;
•the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, the market for online learning solutions, and the global economy generally;
•the sufficiency of our cash, cash equivalents, and investments to meet our liquidity needs;
•our ability to develop and protect our brand and reputation;
•our expectations and management of future growth;
•our expectations concerning relationships with third parties;
•our ability to attract, retain, and motivate our skilled personnel, including members of our senior management team;
•our expectations regarding the effects of existing and developing laws and regulations, including with respect to taxation and privacy, data protection, and cybersecurity;
•our ability to maintain the security and availability of our platform;
•our ability to successfully defend litigation brought against us;
•our ability to successfully identify, execute, and integrate any potential acquisitions or strategic investments;
•our expectations regarding our income and other tax liabilities;
•our ability to effectively manage our exposure to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates;
•our ability to obtain, maintain, protect, and enforce our intellectual property and proprietary information; and
•the increased expenses associated with being a public company.
Actual events or results may differ from those expressed in forward-looking statements. As such, you should not rely on forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. We have based the forward-looking statements contained in this Form 10-K primarily on our current expectations and projections about future events and trends that we believe may affect our business, financial condition, operating results, prospects, strategy, and financial needs. The outcome of the events described in these forward-looking statements is subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and other factors described in the section titled “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Form 10-K. Moreover, we operate in a highly competitive and rapidly changing environment. New risks and uncertainties emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for us to predict all risks and uncertainties that could have an impact on the forward-looking statements contained in this Form 10-K. The results, events and circumstances reflected in the forward-looking statements may not be achieved or occur, and actual results, events or circumstances could differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements.
In addition, statements that “we believe” and similar statements reflect our beliefs and opinions on the relevant subject. These statements are based on information available to us as of the date of this Form 10-K. While we believe that such information provides a reasonable basis for these statements, such information may be limited or incomplete. Our statements should not be read to indicate that we have conducted an exhaustive inquiry into, or review of, all relevant information. These statements are inherently uncertain, and investors are cautioned not to unduly rely on these statements.
The forward-looking statements made in this Form 10-K relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements made in this Form 10-K to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this Form 10-K or to reflect new information, actual results, revised expectations, or the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as required by law. We may not actually achieve the plans, intentions or expectations disclosed in our forward-looking statements, and you should not place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements.
Investors and others should note that we may announce material information to the public through filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, our website (udemy.com), press releases, public conference calls, and public webcasts. We encourage our investors and others to review the information disclosed through such channels as such information could be deemed to be material information. Please note that this list may be updated from time to time.
Market and industry data
Certain market and industry data included in this Form 10-K has been obtained from third party sources that we believe to be reliable. Market estimates are calculated by using independent industry publications, government publications, and third-party forecasts in conjunction with our assumptions about our markets. We have not independently verified such third-party information. While we are not aware of any misstatements regarding any market, industry or similar data presented herein, such data involves risks and uncertainties and is subject to change based on various factors, including those discussed in this Form 10-K in the section titled “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements”, in Part I, Item 1, “Business”, and in Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors.”
Item 1. Business
Udemy’s mission is to improve lives through learning.
Udemy is a global learning company whose online platform empowers organizations and individuals with flexible and effective skill acquisition and development. Udemy’s learning marketplace platform enables tens of thousands of subject matter experts to develop, distribute and enhance content that reaches Udemy’s broad global audience of 59 million learners. Udemy leverages technology, data and insights to deliver personalized and effective learning experiences. We further curate our highest-quality content from our marketplace for Udemy’s enterprise SaaS platform, Udemy Business, which enables companies around the world to offer engaging, effective, on-demand learning for all employees, immersive laboratory-style learning for tech teams and cohort-based learning focused on leadership development. With our integrated learning solutions and strategic customer success model, we equip organizations with the tools to build a future-ready workforce, increase employee engagement and retention, and achieve critical business outcomes.
As automation and technological innovation spurs changes in the workforce, there is a growing need to offer more flexible training to continuously re-skill and upskill workforces to keep up with the pace of change. According to a recent study from Deloitte, nearly 90% of global executives surveyed believe skills are becoming important for the way organizations are defining work, deploying talent, managing careers, and valuing employees. In addition, the study found organizations that embed a skills-based approach are 63% more likely to achieve results than those that have not, including, but not limited to, meeting or exceeding financial targets; anticipating and responding effectively and efficiently to change; innovating; achieving high levels of customer satisfaction and retaining high performers.
We believe many of today's learning platforms have a number of shortcomings, including relevance, quality, breadth, scalability, and affordability of content. Udemy’s platform is designed to address these shortcomings by effectively connecting global learners with up-to-date knowledge from experts and practitioners around the world.
Our global marketplace supports learners, instructors and enterprise customers to achieve their goals. Udemy enables users to gain the knowledge and skills they need to attain in-demand jobs, further their career, and improve their well-being. Our library of more than 200,000 free and paid courses is created by more than 70,000 instructors and covers a wide range of topics, including technology, business and soft skills, and personal development. Our marketplace encourages engagement between learners and instructors, including course enrollment, consumption and Q&A. The volume and frequency of this engagement allows us to generate meaningful insights and provide real-time feedback and analytics for our instructors. Udemy leverages artificial intelligence (“AI”) and machine learning (“ML”) to make personalized course recommendations for learners that enhance the learner experience, increase course enrollments for instructors and optimize productivity and satisfaction for our learners.
Udemy’s marketplace uniquely addresses the evolving needs of learners across the globe by providing access to a wide range of high-quality and relevant content in local languages. Instructors around the world have created courses in nearly 75 languages, resulting in almost 85,000 courses on our platform in non-English languages, as of December 31, 2022. Learners benefit from the local context provided by local instructors, further enhancing the learner experience.
Udemy’s differentiated feedback loops enable instructors to gain insights directly from learners that help to improve the quality and relevance of content, and our platform is designed to facilitate instructors making frequent, fast updates to their courses. On average, courses were updated 6 times by top instructors on Udemy in 2022.
Udemy is powered by a flywheel effect where instructors are encouraged to create relevant, high-quality content that attracts more learners to the platform. More learners on our platform results in a larger audience and greater potential earnings for instructors, which in turn incentivizes more and better course creation and attracts additional instructors to the platform. This flywheel resulted in an average of over 4,700 new courses added to our platform monthly during 2022. In 2022, we paid instructors more than $192.0 million. Udemy’s top 19 instructors each earned more than $1 million and nearly 1,600 instructors earned more than the average annual income in the home country.
Udemy Business offers organizations access to more than 20,000 of the highest rated courses from our marketplace, equating to over 190,000 hours of content across 15 languages. The range and volume of our course catalog enables employees to build their career path with the most relevant and effective courses and real-world skills development, and organizations across the globe to reskill and upskill their workforce. In addition, the Udemy Business SaaS-based platform provides personalized learning paths and rich analytics to further empower learners and administrators to map learning to their desired outcomes.
Global learners are increasingly looking online to acquire new skills, while organizations are rapidly shifting from offline training of employees to online solutions for reskilling and upskilling of their workforce. While many individuals and businesses had already embraced online learning prior to COVID-19, the increase in work-from-home flexibility during the pandemic accelerated a corporate shift to digital training solutions worldwide. Udemy’s highly-effective and cost-efficient method of online learning across a variety of disciplines is designed to meet the corporate learning needs within today’s hybrid and remote work cultures.
Our business model
Udemy has two symbiotic operating segments: Enterprise, or Udemy Business (50% of 2022 revenue), and Consumer (50% of 2022 revenue), or our direct-to-consumer marketplace. Udemy’s differentiated business model attracts instructors from around the world with our attractive revenue share incentive model and access to 59 million learners. Our platform generates revenue for Udemy and our instructors by collecting a fee through individual course transactions and subscriptions. We then reinvest in the learner and instructor experience and marketing to further grow our revenue and create greater earnings potential for instructors.
•The Udemy Consumer marketplace consists of more than 200,000 courses in nearly 75 languages. Millions of people learn on the Udemy platform from real-world experts in topics ranging from technology, business and soft skills, to personal development. Learners can purchase lifetime access to individual courses or subscribe through monthly and annual plans, which offer unlimited access to more than 12,000 of Udemy’s top-rated courses. Most instructors on our marketplace opt into our promotional pricing program in which Udemy programmatically controls list and promotional prices, based on certain characteristics such as course content, length, and rating, which helps drive more enrollments for our instructors. Udemy’s marketplace has over 20,000 free courses which serve as an important source of conversion to paid enrollments.
•Udemy’s global content engine powers Udemy Business with the highest-rated content from our Consumer marketplace, proven new product capabilities and organic new business leads. Udemy Business enables organizations around the world to offer on-demand learning for all employees, immersive learning for technology teams, and cohort learning for business leaders. Built for businesses striving to be at the forefront of innovation and those utilizing the latest technologies, Udemy Business offers fresh, relevant learning that can be accessed around the world at anytime. By leveraging Udemy’s integrated learning solutions and strategic customer success support, companies are equipped with the tools to reskill and upskill their workforce, increase employee engagement, and achieve critical business outcomes in an efficient and cost-effective manner. As of December 31, 2022, Udemy Business offers global companies annual or multi-year subscription access on a per-seat basis to a catalog of more than 20,000 courses in 14 local languages, in addition to English. Udemy Business provides access to its platform through Team and Enterprise subscription plans and offers the ability to add on Udemy Business Pro services. Organizations looking to build leadership capabilities can separately purchase a subscription to our Cohort Learning development platform.
Our platform and product offerings
Udemy’s platform allows individual learners and organizations all over the world to access high-quality and relevant content created by instructors across technology, business and soft skills, and personal development topics. Our platform is purpose-built to empower instructors with data insights and innovative technology to meet the specific needs of learners and organizations in order to help them achieve their goals and desired outcomes. Our products are designed to deliver measurable incremental value, which ultimately creates upselling or expansion opportunities. Udemy’s product offerings include:
•Per Course. Individuals can enroll for free or purchase one of Udemy marketplace’s more than 200,000 courses to obtain lifetime access to that digital course content after enrollment. Individual course purchases also include access to interactive learning tools such as quizzes, exercises, and the ability to ask questions and engage with the instructor directly. Pricing is optimized for each individual course and is designed to be affordable.
•Personal Plan. Individuals can purchase a monthly or annual subscription with access to more than 12,000 courses across hundreds of topics, ranging from IT, web development, soft skills, business, marketing and design. When subscribed to a Personal Plan, an individual will have unlimited access to the curated subscription catalog during the subscription term, including immersive learning experiences such as practice tests and coding exercises. Monthly and annual subscription pricing vary by geography.
•Team Plan. Teams can purchase Team Plan, which is a self-serve, subscription service for Udemy Business. Team Plan is designed for teams or organizations who are in need of on-demand learning and development at work. With a subscription to Team Plan, subscribers get access to all courses included in the Udemy Business catalog. Team Plan is priced as an annual subscription of $360 USD per seat, per year.
•Enterprise Plan. Larger organizations can purchase the Enterprise Plan, which offers the same course collection of high-quality professional content as the Team Plan, but also includes additional features such as advanced user management, API integrations, robust learning administration, and advanced analytics. Enterprise plans are offered as annual and multi-year subscriptions with pricing based on volume and functionality.
•Udemy Business Pro. Available as an add-on to any Udemy Business enterprise license, Udemy Business Pro provides a deeper, immersive learning experience with assessments, labs and workspaces that accelerate skill development across key roles in information technology, software engineering, and data & analytics. Pricing is based on contract length and number of seats.
•Cohort Learning. Organizations looking to build leadership capabilities can purchase our cohort-based leadership development platform, which enables teams to learn together in a hybrid, scalable experience that can be tailored for each customer’s organizational needs. Subscription pricing for this offering is based on cohort volume and functionality.
Udemy’s direct-to-consumer business is built on our global marketplace, which is a destination for high-quality and relevant courses taught by expert instructors in their respective fields. Our platform is designed to meet the needs of our audience of 59 million learners and over 70,000 instructors that come to us for a wide variety of learning needs. Our global marketplace serves as a testing ground for content and new product features before the best are selected for inclusion in the Udemy Business portfolio, as well as an organic lead generation channel. It also allows us to test and iterate in real time on our product in a way that is not disruptive to our business.
Udemy analyzes platform data to better understand learners' needs and deliver personalized recommendations for the best courses and learning paths. Learners can access content from local experts from around the world and in their preferred language. Udemy provides a comprehensive and immersive learning experience through tests, Q&As, and interactive activities.
Global organizations recognize the need to have upskilling and reskilling capabilities to ensure their workforce is agile, resilient and competitive in a rapidly changing environment. Many CEOs around the world believe the need for new skills is their largest business challenge and, for employees, opportunities for development have become the second most important factor that determines workplace happiness. We believe that the workplace has fundamentally shifted in a post-pandemic world. Hybrid work, distributed teams and the rapid pace of change mean organizations can no longer rely on face to face training alone. Organizations must leverage digital and hybrid learning experiences to scale skills acquisition. Our go-to-market approach is focused on understanding our customers’ businesses and developing learning strategies so they can achieve organizational goals. We build deep, trusted customer relationships at all levels with a specific focus on the C-suite, and we have expanded our engagements to support upskilling and reskilling across hybrid workplaces. With our dynamic product portfolio from on-demand and immersive learning to a tailored cohort experience for leadership development, Udemy Business supports skill development at all levels of the organization. We continue to make investments in our global partner ecosystem to support direct and indirect revenue channels that help enable us to scale with agility across the global marketplace.
Udemy has curated more than 20,000 of the most highly rated and relevant courses, or more than 190,000 hours of learning, from its extensive content catalog on its marketplace to meet the needs of its nearly 14,000 Udemy Business customers in over 150 countries. Udemy Business features collections in 14 local languages other than English, accounting for more than 50% of the Udemy Business course collection. Local language courses are taught by native speakers with local context, making the content and learning experience more relevant and effective. These collections are a key competitive differentiator which we believe position us well to become a premier provider for many global organizations that are looking to standardize on one platform.
Udemy uses a rigorous content curation process that considers enterprise customer demand, learner feedback and ratings, topic relevance, course quality, and instructor engagement on our platform, including frequency of updates and interaction with student Q&A. We regularly review courses in the Udemy Business catalog to ensure ratings consistently stay above a certain threshold and the topics are still relevant.
When an instructor’s course is added to the Udemy Business catalog, instructors are subject to an exclusivity clause for the use of their content on our platform, pursuant to which instructors agree, subject to limited exceptions, not to offer any on-demand content, such as pre-recorded courses, on any competing platform in a way that directly competes with or impairs the sales of such content on our platform. This exclusivity clause is effective for so long as an instructor’s content is included in the Udemy Business catalog, and we may continue to include content in the Udemy Business catalog for up to 12 months after an instructor elects to opt out. We believe these exclusivity arrangements increase the value of our offerings by increasing the amount of unique content on Udemy and helping maintain our robust roster of expert instructors.
Udemy Business subscription plans include on-demand access to the curated course library, analytics, and learning path management. Contracts are licensed on an annual or multi-year basis, and pricing is determined on a per seat basis, with volume discounts. Udemy Business offers subscription plans, including Team Plan, Enterprise Plan, and Cohort Learning, as well as the Udemy Business Pro add-on service.
•Team Plan. Team Plan subscriptions offer organizations the ability to provide employees access to over 20,000 top-rated courses in order to develop new skills, reskill and upskill, which drives retention and increases productivity in a cost-effective manner. With Team Plan, organizations have access to basic learner management functionality and analytics.
•Enterprise Plan. Enterprise plan subscribers receive access to over 20,000 top-rated courses on the platform in English and 14 local languages. Enterprise plan customers have the ability to create and host proprietary courses, create user groups, develop personalized learning pathways, and incorporate external resources into their own learning pathways. Using the product’s reporting and analytics tools, organizations can easily view engagement, user activity, and skill insights to assess Return on Investment (“ROI”).
•Udemy Business Pro. This add-on service delivers an enhanced, immersive learning experience for Udemy Business customers looking to reskill and upskill their workforce in the technology-focused areas of cloud computing, software development, data science and DevOps. Employees using Udemy Business Pro are offered a guided learning experience. The curated curriculum includes Udemy paths, which combines top courses, assessment and hands-on practice through labs and workspaces. By assessing and guiding learners, Udemy Business Pro enables technical professionals to achieve their learning outcomes more effectively. Assessments evaluate learners’ skills and comprehension of the course content. Based on the assessment score, the learner will be guided to course recommendations to further their knowledge. Workspaces provide learners with access to risk-free virtual technical environments to practice skills in key technologies. With labs, learners will gain hands-on, real-world practice to enhance their technical skills.
•Cohort Learning. Individual and organizational growth is activated by Udemy’s cohort-based learning and the expert guidance of thought leaders from top universities and expert practitioners. Cohort Learning leadership training harnesses the value of live and asynchronous group learning, and experiential learning activities that tie back to business results and help companies develop strong leadership capabilities.
Udemy generates Udemy Business customer leads through its go-to-market sales team, lead generation marketing and from the direct-to-consumer marketplace. We have a proven land-and-expand strategy. Once Udemy has landed a customer, we work closely with the organization to understand their desired business outcomes and help them to achieve their goals. Over time, we have been successful in retaining and expanding customer relationships.
Customer success and expansion
The success of our customers is a focal point for Udemy, as most global companies are currently experiencing massive organizational change and are looking for an experienced and knowledgeable partner to help them achieve their desired business outcomes. In a recent survey by Deloitte, 71% of CEOs said they are preparing for a talent and workforce transformation, which is the process of developing the employees’ skill set to keep up with the ever-changing needs of the business. Our customer success teams partner with leaders of organizations to develop learning strategies to achieve their corporate objectives and to give learners guidance to help them understand why they should be continuously learning and to help them make time for learning.
With roughly 10% penetration of Udemy Business’ nearly 14,000 customers, our opportunity within our existing customer base is significant. Our proven land-and-expand strategy is an investment in building long-term, high ROI relationships with our customers. Our teams work closely with customers during onboarding to understand the company's business objectives and partner with the leaders in the organization to develop programs tied to driving business results. We ensure that all of those programs drive towards the right learning outcomes and then we focus on driving adoption.
Our Customer Success organization is structured to support our customer base as it scales. Based on the nature of our customers, we support them using one of the following three models:
•Self-serve. Fully digital experience for organizations purchasing our Team plan supported by product functionality and customer marketing.
•Scaled. Blended customer experience for Enterprise customers with less than 100 seats where we leverage technology and automation to create a personalized feel for the customer journey, and we have teams of customer success team members that will engage with our customers in moments of risk or opportunity throughout the customer journey.
•High touch. Assigned by geography and business segment for Enterprise customers purchasing at least 100 seats where every customer success manager is assigned to fewer customers and is very hands-on throughout the customer journey.
In addition to each customer being assigned a Customer Success representative, we also provide specialized support for key customer needs.
•Renewals. Manage the customer renewal journey, making sure we optimize the renewal event for both Udemy and the customer.
•Professional Services. Multiple centers of excellence with services that support the delivery of our cohort learning experience as well as high-touch engagements such as learning architecture and content mapping.
•Customer Support. Self-service and global agents to assist with inquiries from all Udemy Business seat holders.
Our ability to attract, retain and expand revenue from our Udemy Business customers is demonstrated by our Net Dollar Retention Rate (“NDRR”). As of December 31, 2022, Udemy Business NDRR was 115%, and NDRR for UB customers with at least 1,000 employees, or UB Large Customer NDRR, was 123%. This level of retention demonstrates the potential for consistent expanded growth within the existing Udemy Business customer base. To date, customer expansion has been primarily driven by seat expansion, although new product adoption, i.e. Cohort Learning and Udemy Business Pro, is becoming a more meaningful driver.
Partnerships are a key element of Udemy’s long-term growth strategy. Udemy’s partnerships aim to drive growth across both our consumer and Udemy Business offerings, and we center our efforts on three key pillars: global expansion, extending reach and meeting our business customers in their flow of work.
Udemy has a global focus in all partnerships. We have a differentiated localized content catalog across a wide set of regions. Combined with our go-to-market and Customer Success approach, we increase our speed to market and local penetration by partnering with regional resell and co-sell partners to connect customers with Udemy Business in their local language. In some cases where we do not have localized content, we implement our high-touch partnership model to leverage a key local brand to help develop our content catalog and to establish a local language version of Udemy Business once the catalog meets our high-quality criteria. In 2022, more than 50% of UB revenue in the Asia Pacific region was driven by partnerships with Benesse in Japan, Woongjin ThinkBig in South Korea, Sanjieke in China and FUNiX in Vietnam. These highly selective partnerships must meet stringent criteria.
In addition to our global focus, Udemy seeks to forge relationships that either extend our marketing reach or the capabilities and reach of our sales go-to-market. Through relationships with key brands and regional leaders that have reach and scale in their own right, we increase the awareness and adoption of our offerings.
Finally, a critical part of Udemy’s success requires that we work with partners to enable our users to access Udemy Business content in their flow of work. We aim to integrate Udemy Business where employees are already learning, for example, in Learning Management Systems and Learning Experience Platforms.
Additionally, customers need data integrations in order to assess ROI, adoption and other key metrics. Udemy’s open nature, platform services focus and APIs, enables us to build a robust integration ecosystem that supports our customers’ ability to get the most out of their software investments and investments in learning.
Our growth strategies
We are pursuing the following strategies to generate long-term sustainable growth for our business:
Increase Udemy Business penetration through a land-and-expand strategy. Our strategy focuses on acquiring new customers and efficiently growing our relationships with existing customers. Historically, we have expanded from individual to department to multi-department and company-wide sales as Udemy Business’s value is proven and customers identify additional use cases. With roughly 10% of total available seats contracted in our customer base as of the end of 2022, we see a large opportunity for growth. We have developed a strong outbound lead-generation process with effective account-based marketing operations, allowing us to target, develop and nurture key accounts in large organizations.
Continue international expansion and localization. Udemy is accessible in more than 180 countries with courses in nearly 75 languages. As the content catalog expands in each country, we start investing in additional growth levers such as local payment methods, local currency pricing and local marketing. These investments drive higher traffic, enrollments and revenue for our direct-to-consumer business, as well as leads for Udemy Business. Once we reach a steady volume of leads to Udemy Business, we build in-country go-to-market sales teams to grow and expand our customer base. We also may partner with local companies. This international playbook will continue to allow us to build a targeted list of countries in which we anticipate we will expand with a high likelihood of success.
Expand learning experiences to new modalities and more active learning that reaches a broader audience. Our platform currently offers powerful learning experiences including practice tests, coding exercises and quizzes, which permit learners to prepare for certification exams and better retain learnings. We intend to further expand our offerings to include more immersive skills assessments, labs and cohort-based learning.
Launch innovative products that drive measurable learning outcomes and increased retention. We are investing in the platform to drive increased measurable learner outcomes; improve our instructors’ ability to create additional modalities and hands-on learning experiences; improve our ability to support organizations and their need to upskill and reskill their workforces efficiently, including leadership needs and cohort-based offerings.
Increase overall Udemy brand awareness. We will continue to invest in growing brand awareness globally. Udemy’s brand awareness is relatively low, representing a massive opportunity, and this is consistent with the EdTech category as a whole. Our brand marketing increases awareness of Udemy through online and offline campaigns that drive press, social sharing and more word-of-mouth virality. Investments in our brand enable us to drive long-term growth by attracting new learners to our platform and keeping existing learners engaged.
Optimize business model and pricing. Our pricing optimization approach fuels the local supply by making it easy and accessible for learners to purchase courses, which drives instructor earnings and in return more supply. We will continue to invest in our machine-learning pricing algorithms to determine the optimal price we charge for our courses in our marketplace on a per-country basis, taking into account dozens of course characteristics, including category of content, hours of content, course rating and popularity.
Pursue strategic acquisitions. We will consider acquisitions that expand our international footprint and/or to acquire innovative technology that expands the immersive learning experiences we offer, with a goal of improving learner outcomes and ultimately increasing retention. For example, in August 2021, we announced our acquisition of CorpU, an online leadership development platform, which is now our cohort-based leadership solution.
The market for developing skills is rapidly growing and highly fragmented, but is not well-suited to address the growing need for people to develop skills, reskill and upskill since the landscape is continuously evolving. We compete for individual learners, enterprise customers and instructors on the following basis:
Learners: We compete for learners based on our course catalog, instructors, learning tools and localization. We believe that we are positioned favorably because of our ability to attract instructors and support them with data and insights to create and refresh high-quality content.
Udemy Business customers: We compete for customers based on our high-quality, engaging and relevant content, the breadth and depth of that content across the full range of core business functions and advanced product features that optimize self-paced learning and enable organizations to effectively drive programmatic learning. We believe that we are positioned favorably because of the synergies between our consumer and enterprise businesses, and the strategic partnerships we form with our enterprise customers that help them drive engagement in their learning programs and, in turn, business outcomes like employee retention and corporate productivity.
Instructors: We compete for instructors based on our ability to provide monetization opportunities and tools to enable instructors to create differentiated content to delight global learners. We believe that we are positioned favorably because of our ability to attract learners across the globe, provide data and insights to help instructors to retain learners, and offer an attractive shared revenue model.
The traditional publisher model used by some competitors can be slow moving and reactive. Other niche marketplace models cannot serve the enterprise learner who needs to develop both hard and soft skills. Udemy’s platform, in contrast, offers a comprehensive suite of skills development required to support learners and organizations in achieving their goals and outcomes. Participants in this market can include corporate training offerings, direct-to-consumer training offerings, specialized content training offerings, and providers of online free resources.
Our competitive advantages
We believe our operating model benefits from several competitive advantages:
Comprehensive global course catalog. We provide access to over 200,000 courses, including nearly 85,000 non-English language courses. The massive library covers a broad range of topics, including technical skills, business and soft skills, and personal development. Many of our competitors specialize in a specific category, which proves to be a suboptimal solution for companies and their employees that require a blend of technical, business and soft skills. We have effectively built a creator platform that allows instructors to develop content on virtually any topic, while having the flexibility to update courses as they incorporate feedback from millions of learners around the world. On average, instructors publish more than 4,700 courses a month on our platform.
High-quality, relevant and up-to-date content. Udemy’s differentiated feedback loop between learners and instructors ensures that we are able to maintain the high quality courses to meet the needs of learners. Our marketplace model motivates instructors to provide relevant content to learners quickly, whether by being first to address in-demand topics, refreshing existing topics, or finding new and better ways to serve the learner community on existing topics. We believe this incentive model helps drive our instructors to update their courses at a much higher rate than courses offered via a traditional publisher model. Rather than being subject to the “top down” review cycle of multiple editors inherent to traditional publishing, our model removes these publisher barriers to enable a flywheel of instructor content creation, engagement, and continuous content optimization. This continuously updated content, along with personalized recommendations and advanced search capabilities, presents a better value proposition for learners who benefit from accessing the most up-to-date, high-quality content that is relevant to them. Our marketplace model allows us to provide the freshest technical content that is able to keep up with the pace of innovation, providing the content needed to support organizations undergoing digital transformation efforts. We also regularly remove courses that fall below our ratings guidelines or are receiving limited engagement from learners.
Global instructor network. Udemy has a network of more than 70,000 global instructors. Instructors come to Udemy because of our scale. Our massive audience provides us with a significant amount of learner data and incentive for instructors to come to our platform. Tens of thousands of instructors have created hundreds of thousands of courses to serve tens of millions of global learners. Udemy offers a clear advantage to instructors who want to ensure they offer the freshest, most relevant tech skills content. The ability to quickly build and post fresh content helps instructors attract more learners and generate more earnings. On average, courses are updated 6 times per year by top instructors on Udemy. In 2022, we paid $192.0 million for content creation and instructors published an average of more than 4,700 courses per month. We also regularly remove instructors that fall below our ratings guidelines.
Global distribution and reach. Our platform connects individual learners and enterprise customers with instructors across the world. In 2022, 59% of our revenue was generated outside of North America, and 84% of all user traffic originated from outside of the United States. We have courses in nearly 75 languages on our marketplace and have Udemy Business customers in more than 150 countries. As learners and organizations in a new geography begin to engage with us, we then have the opportunity to quickly and efficiently expand our global footprint by focusing our marketing, advertising, pricing, and language customization resources and expanding our payment options, which allows us to grow our base of individual learners and enterprises and attract new instructors who create native language courses. For Udemy Business, we have courses in English
and 14 other local languages. Having local language experts creating locally relevant content is a key differentiator for Udemy.
Powerful network effects. Udemy is one symbiotic, data-centric platform. The growing number of individual learners and enterprises on our platform attracts more instructors with diverse experiences and backgrounds to create content for in-demand topics and update existing courses. The increasing number of relevant, high-quality and up-to-date courses attracts more individual learners and enterprises. The volume and frequency of these interactions allow us to generate meaningful insights and provide real-time feedback and analytics for our instructors. These data insights improve content quality, enhance course personalization, and optimize productivity and satisfaction for our learners.
Powerful data insights and analytics. With an average of nearly 34 million monthly unique visitors during 2022, over 125 million cumulative course enrollments, and more than 12 billion cumulative minutes of learning, we believe that the volume of the data our platform collects provides meaningful insights into the behaviors and evolving needs of learners and instructors. We leverage that data to provide personalized course recommendations and learning paths. We also analyze enrollment data, market insights and feedback from learners to identify needed skills or new topics of focus within our content catalog and share this information with our instructors so they can continuously improve their course offerings in real time.
Flexible technology platform. We have built our technology to be flexible to enable us to continuously test and add new features, such as interactive exercises and immersive learning experiences. Our technology platform is modern, agile, and accessible from a variety of online and mobile channels. Collecting and analyzing billions of data points helps our data scientists recommend better and more relevant content. We use advanced technology applications, such as personalized promotions, lifecycle marketing and content personalization, to help tailor our platform for our learners.
Our technology and research and development
Udemy’s technology features a modern architecture designed to support our continued growth at scale and to deliver on our mission. We leverage machine learning to increase learner conversion and retention using enhanced personalization. Our global distribution platform enables learners, instructors and organizations around the world to achieve their goals and desired outcomes. We aim to provide world-class experiences for all learners by focusing on the following pillars:
Scaled integrated platform. Our massive and growing network of instructors, learners and organizations enables us to create significant value for all customers. Our instructors create fresh, relevant content for our learners and organizations, including immersive learning experiences. Instructors are able to monetize their knowledge and receive learner feedback on their content. That data and insights allow us to experiment and iterate on our product. Organizations are empowered to upskill and reskill employees with our learning content and analytics. In turn, they provide Udemy with strategic insights on their areas of interest, as well as content feedback
from their learners.
Comprehensive learning. Udemy’s platform is designed to support learners throughout their journey as they develop skills needed to achieve their professional goals. We provide personalized and guided skill-based learning experiences, including videos, reading tutorials, hands-on practice and assessments. Learners can focus on career and occupational areas of their choice. Udemy produces curated learning paths focused on key domains and skill sets. We also allow organizations to author their own custom learning paths. These are customized to the organization-specific upskilling and reskilling objectives.
Extensive integrations. We are evolving our comprehensive learning platform using an API-first approach. This starts by looking at our business as a set of key entities and capabilities, and we define modular, interoperable APIs to represent them. This foundation fosters innovation across the customer experience and opens the door to faster, more efficient timelines to scale our offerings. It powers our first-party applications that include our customer-facing Udemy.com website, our Udemy Business web experience, our native mobile applications and new experiences. This approach also supports an expanding set of third-party ecosystem integrations, through industry standard interoperability with learning management systems and learning experience platforms, as well as other key business systems and tools.
Powerful data. We leverage a wealth of data to drive customer outcomes. Our differentiated learner feedback loops help improve instructor outcomes by sharing insights on where the market opportunities are and how they can enhance their teaching capabilities. For learners, our marketplace unlocks valuable data for personalized recommendations. This helps learners know the skills needed to achieve their goals and how they can acquire those skills. And for organizations, we are able to share powerful insights to help them achieve their goals and assess ROI. Our platform’s ability to provide a personalized experience is further enhanced by the machine learning methodologies used to develop the algorithms included in our technology, which allow us to personalize each learner’s experience continuously and automatically. We regularly run tests to determine which product features, course recommendations, prices, and messaging will drive the best outcomes.
Pricing optimization. Our machine-learning pricing optimization approach fuels the local supply by making it easy and accessible for learners to purchase courses, which drive instructor earnings and, in return, more supply. We have built a global pricing engine that allows anyone to have access to our products at prices adjusted to the local purchase power parity in the local currency and using payment methods they are familiar with. This powers the global dynamics of our marketplace, promoting strong learner conversion that fuels Udemy’s global pipeline. We routinely adjust our algorithm to attain prices based on a variety of factors, with an ultimate goal of increasing conversion to paid enrollment. These algorithms use dozens of course characteristics, such as content category, length of course, average course rating, and topic popularity to determine the most effective price for each course on a per country basis.
We have a cross-functional, agile team of data scientists, machine-learning engineers, software engineers, and product managers focused on continuously improving our platform to address evolving customer needs. Thus far, the team has built algorithmic and model-driven solutions at scale to provide the following capabilities: personalized and differentiated experiences for all learners, comprehensive instructor tools for content delivery and student engagement, and insights dashboards for enterprises to track employee progress.
We continuously gather market research and leverage user data to optimize the content available on our platform. Through our deep understanding of learner needs, we aim to deliver the right learning content, packaged the right way, and offered at the right time. The data gathered also provides powerful insight tools and feedback to our instructors so they can improve their courses and ultimately preserve the high quality of our overall offering.
Our market opportunity
Before 2020, the majority of corporate training occurred offline. With the increase of internet connectivity, technological advances, work-from-home flexibility and interactive tools at a low cost, we expect to see a continued acceleration of the shift from offline to online. We believe that online education is well positioned to address the scalability and affordability limitations that offline education presents.
Based on data from Arizton, the market opportunity in online learning was estimated to be $166 billion in 2021. We calculate this estimate by aggregating the global corporate opportunity of $69 billion and the global e-learning opportunity of $97 billion, including government, vocation and higher-education. We believe that market opportunity could grow to nearly $476 billion by 2027, including K-12. Within that, the global corporate opportunity is expected to grow to $171 billion by 2027, or at a 16% compound annual growth rate (“CAGR”).
There are many macro trends that are driving this growth, including increasing digital transformation as more jobs are changed by automation and technology, which presents a significant opportunity for the creator and skills economies. In addition, there is a growing need to offer flexible training as more companies offer remote positions. Companies are employing a continued focus on Learning & Development (“L&D”) budget efficiency even during a challenging macro backdrop and there is an increasing need to continuously reskill and upskill employees in a timely manner.
Our sales and marketing approach
We have built a data and technology-driven marketing engine that allows us to acquire users across the globe efficiently. We have integrated our data flows with key marketing platforms to make near real-time decisions on bidding and targeting. We have also developed predictive lifetime value (“LTV”) models that allow us to identify and acquire the most valuable learners. This engine allows us to be in control of our cost of acquisition to grow customer LTV at the segment level and manage our budgets to hit our ROI goals, while being flexible to adapt in real time to external trends and factors.
Our marketing strategy focuses on brand and performance marketing, strategic partnerships and lifecycle monetization. Brand marketing increases awareness while performance marketing drives incremental traffic among potential learners. The strength of our community and brand drives significant organic acquisition, with the majority of our customers coming from unpaid channels. Finally, lifecycle marketing and monetization focuses on building personalization at scale, increasing learner retention and long-term value, optimizing prices and promotions, and testing new monetization models. Global instructors learn about Udemy in a variety of ways including awareness campaigns and by coming to the platform as learners.
We have more than 20,000 free courses available on our consumer marketplace. These free courses represent an important entry point for learners to experience our platform, driving cost-effective top of the funnel engagement for both consumer and Udemy Business leads. Once learners interact with our platform, our machine-learning algorithms recommend courses for learners to purchase based on topic, quality, instructor rating, number of enrollments, learner’s country of origin and more. The algorithms help us drive customer conversion, maximizing revenue while offering the best experience and value to learners.
With only 16% of Udemy's traffic coming from the U.S., it is important that our marketing adapts and speaks to the local audiences. Our design communications and production capabilities allow us to produce creatives that, while anchored on our global brand, also adapt to the cultural norms of the countries we advertise in. We leverage our global infrastructure to produce assets at scale and work with local language experts and native marketers to make the necessary adaptations for each country.
We sell to our Udemy Business customers both directly, through our sales teams, and indirectly, through third-party channels. Our customer success team engages pre-sale, ensuring that we understand the business objectives of that potential customer. Once an organization signs on, our Customer Success team partners closely with that organization to track progress toward business outcomes and determine opportunities for expanding usage. As we expand to new regions and countries, we first market to organizations to generate brand awareness and interest in our Udemy Business offering, and then our sales team identifies and engages with potential customers.
Historically, we have received a higher volume of orders from new and existing Udemy Business customers in the fourth quarter of each year as a result of industry buying patterns. We recognize revenues from Udemy Business subscription bookings over the life of the contract. We also have traditionally seen increased bookings in the Consumer segment as the result of various holiday promotions offered in the fourth quarter. We recognize revenue for consumer individual course purchases over an estimated service period of four months, while revenue for consumer subscriptions is recognized over the corresponding subscription term. As a result of these recognition practices, the quarter in which we generate the highest bookings may be different from the quarter in which we recognize the highest amount of net revenue, and our sequential growth in remaining performance obligations has historically been highest in the fourth fiscal quarter of each year. For more information, see the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”
Our business depends on our intellectual property, the protection of which is critical to our success. We rely on a combination of intellectual property rights, including patents, trade secrets, trade dress, domain names, copyrights and trademarks to protect our competitive advantage.
As of December 31, 2022, we held 14 registered trademarks in the United States and 34 registered trademarks in foreign jurisdictions, which have various expiration dates between 2024 and 2032. We also have common law rights in some trademarks and pending trademark applications in the United States and foreign jurisdictions. In addition, we have registered domain names for websites that we use in our business, such as www.udemy.com and some other variations.
Although we rely on intellectual property rights, including patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets, as well as contractual protections to establish and protect our proprietary rights, we believe that factors such as the technological and creative skills of our personnel, creation of new services, features and functionality, and frequent enhancements to our platform are more essential to establishing and maintaining our technology leadership position.
Human capital resources
We believe we have a world-class culture with a highly engaged global employee base. We have achieved 4.3 of 5.0 stars on Glassdoor, a platform which represents voluntary reviews among current and former employees, as of December 31, 2022. Additionally, our company has been designated as a Fair Pay Workplace and was named to Great Place to Work®’s list of Best Workplaces for Parents™ and Best Workplaces for Women™ in 2022 as well as honored with seven Best Workplace awards by Built In in January 2023. As reflected in our annual employee survey, our employee engagement score is 82%, which is 7 points above benchmark for companies at our size and stage.
We are proud of our internal focus on learning and development and leverage the Udemy Business platform to drive upskilling and career growth within our organization. “Always Learning” is a key value for our company. We hold regular “Drop Everything and Learn” hours to provide employees with dedicated time they can use to learn professional or personal skills offered on our platform. We leverage our own platforms of both Udemy Business and Cohort Learning to provide access to a wide range of content from important all-company meetings to a variety of courses offered on our Marketplace and developed by our own Learning & Development team.
Our mission-driven approach to make knowledge opportunities accessible to learners around the world helps drive recruitment to our team. Udemy is the only digital learning company included in the Fortune 2020 Change the World list, and our employees enjoy the opportunity to be a part of a socially conscious brand benefiting all constituents. Overall, we are a leader in gender diversity among companies like ours, with 44% of our global workforce, 34% of our senior leadership, and 26% of our technical workforce identifying as women as of December 31, 2022.
As of December 31, 2022, we had 1,678 full-time employees. None of our employees are represented by unions. We consider the relationship with our employees to be strong and have not experienced interruptions of operations due to labor disagreements.
We make available free of charge through our investor relations website, investors.udemy.com, our annual reports, quarterly reports, current reports, proxy statements and all amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is electronically filed or furnished with the SEC. These reports may also be obtained without charge by contacting Investor Relations, Udemy, Inc., 600 Harrison Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, California 94107, e-mail: email@example.com. Our Internet website and the information contained therein or incorporated therein are not intended to be incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K. In addition, the SEC maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding reports that we file or furnish electronically with them at www.sec.gov.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Certain factors may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. You should carefully consider the following risks, together with all of the other information contained in this Form 10-K, including the sections titled “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this Form 10-K. Any of the following risks could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, operating results, or prospects and could cause the trading price of our common stock to decline, which would cause you to lose all or part of your investment. Our business, financial condition, operating results, or prospects could also be harmed by risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently do not believe are material. Our risk factors are not guarantees that no such conditions exist as of the date of this report and should not be interpreted as an affirmative statement that such risks or conditions have not materialized, in whole or in part.
Risks related to our business and operations
We have a history of losses, and we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to achieve or maintain profitability in the future.
We incurred net losses of $153.9 million, $80.0 million, and $77.6 million during the fiscal years ended December 31, 2022, 2021, and 2020, respectively, and, as of December 31, 2022, we had an accumulated deficit of $612.4 million. We expect our losses to continue as we make significant investments towards growing our business and operating as a public company. We have invested, and expect to continue to invest, substantial financial and other resources in developing our platform, including expanding our platform offerings, developing or acquiring new platform features and services, expanding into new markets and geographies, and increasing our sales and marketing efforts. These expenditures will make achieving and maintaining profitability more difficult, and these efforts may also be more costly than we expect and may not result in increased revenue or growth in our business. Any failure to increase our revenue sufficiently to keep pace with our investments and other expenses could prevent us from achieving or maintaining profitability or positive cash flow on a consistent basis. As a result, we can provide no assurance as to whether or when we will achieve profitability. If we are not able to achieve and maintain profitability, the value of our company and our common stock could decline significantly, and you could lose some or all of your investment.
We operate in an emerging and dynamic market, which makes it difficult to evaluate our prospects and future results of operations.
The market for online learning solutions is relatively new and continues to evolve rapidly. These factors may make it difficult to accurately assess our future prospects and the risks, challenges, and uncertainties that we may encounter. These risks include:
•maintaining and increasing a base of learners, instructors, and UB customers using our platform;
•successfully competing with existing and future participants in the market for online learning solutions;
•successfully expanding our business in existing markets and entering new markets and geographies;
•anticipating and responding to market and broader economic conditions;
•avoiding interruptions or disruptions in the service of our platform;
•accurately forecasting our revenue and operating expenses on a quarterly and annual basis;
•maintaining and enhancing the value of our reputation and brand;
•attracting, hiring, and retaining qualified personnel to manage our operations and further develop our platform;
•effectively managing rapid growth in our operations, including personnel; and
•successfully implementing and executing our business strategies.
Additionally, because we operate in a rapidly evolving market, any predictions about our future revenue and expenses may not be as accurate as they would be if we operated in a more established and predictable market. We have encountered in the past, and will encounter in the future, risks, challenges, and uncertainties frequently experienced by companies operating in emerging markets. If our assumptions regarding any of these risks, challenges, or uncertainties, which we use to plan and operate our business, are incorrect or change, or if we do not address them successfully, our results of operations could differ materially from our expectations and our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected.
Our results of operations may fluctuate significantly from period to period due to a wide range of factors, which makes our future results difficult to predict.
Our results of operations have historically varied from period to period, and we expect that our results of operations will continue to vary significantly from quarter to quarter and year to year because of a variety of factors, many of which are outside of our control. As a result, comparing our results of operations on a period-to-period basis may not be meaningful. Factors that may contribute to the variability of our quarterly and annual results include, but are not limited to:
•our ability to attract and retain learners, instructors, and enterprises that use our platform in a cost-effective manner;
•our ability to accurately forecast revenue and operating expenses;
•the effects of increased competition on our business;
•our ability to successfully expand in existing markets and successfully enter new markets;
•changes in learner or customer behavior with respect to online learning solutions;
•increases in marketing, sales, and other operating expenses that we may incur to grow and acquire new learners, instructors, and customers;
•the revenue mix between our consumer and UB offerings;
•the impact of worldwide economic conditions, including the resulting effect on consumer and business spending on online learning solutions;
•our ability to maintain an adequate rate of growth and effectively manage that growth;
•the effects of changes in search engine placement and prominence;
•our ability to keep pace with technology changes in our industry;
•the success of our sales and marketing efforts;
•our ability to protect, maintain, and enforce our intellectual property rights;
•costs associated with defending claims, including intellectual property infringement claims, and related judgments or settlements;
•changes in governmental or other regulations affecting our business;
•interruptions in service and any related impact on our business, reputation, or brand;
•the attraction and engagement of qualified employees and key personnel;
•our ability to choose and effectively manage third-party service providers;
•the effects of natural or man-made catastrophic events, including wars and other armed conflicts, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine;
•the impact of a pandemic or an outbreak of disease or similar public health concern, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, or fear of such an event;
•potential volatility in our gross margins, including due to revenue mix shifts between our Enterprise and Consumer segments, changes in our pricing policies, increased use of subscriptions in our Consumer segment, and timing differences between recognition of revenue and related content costs for courses;
•the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting;
•the impact of payment processor costs and procedures; and
•changes in our tax rates or exposure to additional tax liabilities.
The unpredictability of our results of operations could cause our results to vary from period to period or to fall below expected levels for a given period, which will adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Our rapid growth may not be sustainable and depends on our ability to attract new learners, instructors, and organizations and retain existing ones.
Our success depends, in part, on growing the number of learners and instructors engaging with our platform. We believe the increase in the number of instructors increases the quality and quantity of the content available on our platform, in turn making our platform more appealing and engaging to learners in both our Consumer and Enterprise segments. This increase in learners then attracts more instructors to our platform. This dynamic marketplace model takes time to build and may grow at a slower pace than we expect. In addition, although the number of individual and UB learners and instructors engaging with our platform has grown in recent years, there can be no assurance that this growth will continue at its current pace or at all. For example, the significant uncertainty around future developments and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic contribute in turn to the uncertainty regarding the adoption and growth of remote, online and asynchronous learning and training compared to the traditional models of education and training, which may adversely affect demand for our platform. If we fail to grow or maintain the number of learners and instructors engaging with our platform, the value of our platform will diminish and our revenue will decline.
We believe that many of our new learners find us by word of mouth and other non-paid referrals from existing learners. If existing learners are dissatisfied with their experience on our platform, they may stop accessing our content and referring others to us. Likewise, if existing learners do not find our content appealing and engaging, whether because of a negative experience with, declining interest in or relevancy of the content, they may stop referring others to us. In turn, if instructors perceive that our platform lacks an adequate learner audience, instructors may be less willing to provide content for our platform, and the experience of learners could be further negatively impacted. The willingness or ability of instructors to provide content for our platform could also be negatively impacted by other factors, such as:
•complaints or negative publicity about us or our platform, even if factually incorrect or based on isolated incidents;
•changes to our terms and policies that our instructors find, or even perceive, to be unpopular or that are not clearly articulated to them; or
•our failure to enforce our policies fairly and transparently.
In addition, the costs associated with retaining learners and instructors are substantially lower than those associated with acquiring new learners and instructors. As a result, if we are unable to retain existing learners and instructors, even if such losses are offset by an increase in revenue resulting from new learners and instructors, it could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations. Consequently, if we are unable to retain existing learners and instructors and attract new learners and instructors who contribute and engage with our platform, our growth prospects would be harmed and our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected.
Our platform relies on a limited number of instructors who create a significant portion of the most popular content on our platform, and the loss of these instructor relationships could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
As part of our instructor community, we strive to build meaningful connections with instructors, ranging from those that are well known and have created extensively to those that have just begun the process of creating courses. As of December 31, 2022, we had relationships with more than 70,000 instructors. Although we view the breadth and diverse expertise of our instructor base and the content they create as one of our competitive advantages, a significant portion of the most popular content on our platform, and as a result a significant portion of our revenue, is attributable to a limited number of our instructors. Moreover, because instructors may unpublish content or leave the Udemy platform altogether, subject to our right to continue offering such content to new learners on the consumer marketplace for 60 days afterwards and in our subscription offerings for 12 months afterwards, we may need to source replacement content by a different instructor on short notice. Although we do not believe the loss of any one of these instructors would materially impact our business, the loss of multiple existing instructors, as well as any failure to attract additional instructors, could negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations by adversely affecting our ability to provide high-quality, engaging, and relevant content for one or more subject matters and the pace at which we provide such content, which in turn could reduce the attractiveness of our platform to learners and customers.
If we fail to maintain and expand our relationships with UB customers, our ability to grow our business and revenue will suffer.
Revenue from our Enterprise segment represented 50%, 36%, and 24% during the fiscal years ended December 31, 2022, 2021, and 2020, respectively. We believe that our future success depends, in part, on our ability to grow this offering, both by retaining and expanding our relationship with existing customers and attracting new customers. Many customers initially use our platform within specific groups or departments within their organizations, or for specific use cases. Our ability to grow our UB business depends, in part, on our ability to persuade these customers to expand their use of our platform to address additional use cases. Further, to continue to grow our business, it is important that our customers renew their subscriptions when existing contracts expire and that we expand our relationships with our existing customers. Customers have no obligation to renew their subscriptions, and they may decide not to renew their subscriptions with a similar contract period, at the same prices and terms, with the same or a greater number of users, or at all. We have had some customers elect not to renew their subscriptions with us in the past, and it is difficult to accurately predict whether we will have future success in retaining customers or expanding our relationships with them. We have experienced significant growth in the number of customers subscribing to our UB offerings, but we do not know whether we will continue to achieve similar growth, or achieve any growth at all, in the future. Our ability to retain UB customers and expand our deployments with them may decline or fluctuate as a result of a number of factors, including customers’ satisfaction with our platform, the quality and timeliness of our customer success and customer support services, our prices, the prices and features of competing solutions, reductions in customers’ spending levels, insufficient adoption of our platform by our customers’ constituents, and new feature releases. If customers do not purchase additional subscriptions or renew their existing subscriptions, renew on less favorable terms, or fail to continue to expand their engagement with us, our revenue may decline or grow less quickly than anticipated, which would harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
We operate in a highly competitive market, and we may not be able to compete successfully against current and future competitors.
We operate in a highly competitive environment, as the market for online learning is relatively new, highly fragmented, and rapidly evolving, with limited barriers to entry. We compete for learners, enterprise customers, and instructors:
•Learners: We compete for learners based on our course catalog, instructors, and learning tools.
•UB customers: We compete for customers based on our up-to-date content, the breadth and depth of that content across the full range of core business functions, and advanced product features that optimize self-paced learning and enable organizations to effectively drive programmatic learning.
•Instructors: We compete for instructors based on our ability to promote monetization opportunities.
Our competition includes corporate training offerings, direct-to-consumer training offerings, specialized content training offerings, and free online resources used to gather and share knowledge and skills.
We expect our existing competitors and new entrants to the online learning market to continually evolve and improve their business models. If these or other market participants introduce new or improved delivery of online education and technology-enabled services that are more compelling or widely accepted than ours, our ability to grow our revenue and achieve profitability could suffer. Several new and existing companies in the online education industry provide or may provide offerings similar to what we offer on our platform, and, despite any exclusivity arrangements we have with our instructors, these companies may nonetheless pursue relationships with our instructors that may reduce, or stop altogether, the content our instructors produce for our platform. In addition, customers may choose to continue using or develop their own online learning or training solutions in-house rather than pay for our platform.
We believe that our ability to successfully compete depends on a range of factors, both within and beyond our control, including:
•the availability or development of alternative online learning platforms that are more compelling to learners, instructors, or organizations than ours;
•changes in pricing policies and terms offered by our competitors or by us;
•the ability to adapt to or compete with new technologies and changes in requirements of our learners, instructors, and UB customers;
•costs associated with acquiring and retaining learners, instructors, and UB customers;
•the ability of our current and future competitors to establish relationships with customers; and
•industry consolidation and the number and rate of new entrants.
Current and potential competitors (including any new entrants into the market) may enjoy substantial competitive advantages over us, such as greater name recognition, longer operating histories, market- or industry-specific knowledge, more successful marketing capabilities, and substantially greater financial, technical, and other resources than we have. Our current or new competitors may adopt certain aspects of our business model, which could reduce our ability to differentiate our services. Furthermore, online educational content is not typically marketed exclusively through any single channel and, accordingly, our competitors could aggregate a set of online learning courses similar to ours. Competition may intensify as our competitors raise additional capital or as new participants, including established companies, enter the markets in which we compete. Our ability to grow our business and achieve profitability could be impaired if we cannot compete successfully.
The market for online learning solutions is relatively new and may not grow as we expect, which may harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Our future success will depend in part on the growth, if any, in the demand for online learning solutions. Although we believe the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the demand for online learning solutions from both individuals and businesses alike, we continue to monitor how current macroeconomic conditions, including inflation, adjustment to interest rates, general economic uncertainty, and the COVID-19 pandemic may shape the development of the online learning market and the adoption and growth of remote, online and asynchronous learning and training solutions such as ours. Consequently, it is difficult to predict demand for and continued use of our platform by learners, instructors, and UB customers, the rate at which existing learners and instructors expand their engagement with our platform, the size and growth rate of the market for our platform, the entry of competitive offerings into the market, or the success of existing competitive offerings. Furthermore, even if learners or UB customers want to adopt an online learning solution, it may take them a substantial amount of time to fully transition to this type of learning solution or they could be delayed due to budget constraints, weakening economic conditions, or other factors. Even if market demand for online learning solutions generally increases, we cannot assure you that adoption of our platform will also increase. If the market for online learning solutions does not grow as we expect or our platform does not achieve widespread adoption, it could result in reduced learner and customer spending, reduced engagement from instructors, attrition by learners, instructors, and UB customers, and decreased revenue, any of which would adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Adherence to our values and our focus on long-term sustainability may negatively impact our short- or medium-term financial performance.
Our values motivate everything we do, and we accordingly intend to focus on the long-term sustainability of our business and platform. We may take actions that we believe will benefit our business and our ecosystem and, therefore, our stockholders over a period of time, even if those actions do not maximize short- or medium-term financial results. However, these longer-term benefits may not materialize within the timeframe we expect or at all. For example:
•we may choose to prohibit certain content from our platform that we believe is inconsistent with our values even though we could benefit financially from the sale of that content;
•we may choose to revise our policies in ways that we believe will be beneficial to our learners, instructors, and UB customers in the long term even though the changes are perceived unfavorably among our existing learners, instructors, and customers; or
•we may take actions, such as locating our servers in low-impact data centers, that reduce our environmental footprint even though these actions may be more costly than other alternatives.
We may need to change our pricing model for our platform’s offerings, which in turn could adversely impact our results of operations.
We have in the past, and expect that we may in the future, need to change our pricing model or target contract length from time to time, which could impact our financial results. As the market for our learning platform develops, as new competitors introduce competitive applications or services, or as we enter into new international markets, we may be unable to attract new learners or UB customers at the same price or based on the same pricing models we have historically used, or for contract lengths consistent with our historical averages. In addition, as we develop and roll out new products, such as our recently launched consumer subscription model, or improve existing ones, we will need to develop pricing and contract models for these products that appeal to consumer learners over time, and we may not be successful in doing so. Pricing and contract length decisions may also impact the mix of adoption among our offerings and negatively impact our overall revenue. Competition may also require us to make substantial price concessions. Moreover, our pricing model and methodology has been, and may in the future become, subject to legal challenge under applicable federal or state laws, regulations, and guidelines relating to promotional pricing practices. For example, in August 2021, a putative class action complaint was filed against us alleging violations of California’s unfair competition and false advertising statutes as well as the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act in connection with the promotional “strike-through” pricing for courses offered on platform, alleging that the reference prices used for comparison purposes are false or misleading. Our results of operations may be adversely affected by any of the foregoing, and we may have increased difficulty achieving or maintaining profitability.
Failure to effectively expand our sales and marketing capabilities could harm our ability to increase our base of learners and UB customers and achieve broader market acceptance.
Our ability to broaden our base of both consumer learners and UB customers, and achieve broader market acceptance of our marketplace platform, will depend to a significant extent on the ability of our sales and marketing organizations to work together to drive our sales pipeline and cultivate customer relationships. Our marketing efforts include the use of search engine optimization, paid search, email marketing, and television.
We have invested in and plan to continue expanding our sales and marketing organizations, both domestically and internationally. Identifying, recruiting, and training sales personnel will require significant time, expense, and attention. If we are unable to hire, develop, and retain talented sales or marketing personnel, if our new sales or marketing personnel are unable to achieve desired productivity levels in a reasonable period of time, or if our sales and marketing programs are not effective, our ability to broaden our customer base and achieve broader market acceptance of our platform could be harmed. In addition, the investments we make in our sales and marketing organizations will occur in advance of experiencing benefits from such investments, making it difficult to determine in a timely manner if we are efficiently allocating our resources in these areas.
If we fail to effectively adapt and respond to rapidly changing technology, evolving industry standards, and changing customer needs or requirements, our platform may become less competitive.
The markets in which we compete are and will continue to be characterized by constant change and innovation. Our success is predicated on our ability to identify and anticipate the needs of learners, instructors, and UB customers and design a scalable learning experience platform that allows them to easily create and access high-quality, in-demand educational content. Our ability to attract new and retain existing learners, instructors and UB customers to our platform, and to deepen their relationships with our platform, depends in large part on our ability to continue improving and enhancing our offerings.
We may experience difficulties with software development that could delay or prevent the development, introduction or implementation of platform modifications and enhancements. Software development involves a significant amount of time for our technology team, as it can take developers months to update, code, and test new and upgraded features and integrate them into our platform. We must also continually update, test, and enhance our platform. The continual improvement and enhancement of our platform requires significant investment and we may not have the resources to continue making these investments. Further, there can be no assurance that the platform modifications and enhancements in which we invest will result in additional revenue sufficient to cover the cost of developing those modifications and enhancements, if any. If we are not able to improve and enhance our platform in an effective manner, our business, financial condition, and results of operations will be adversely affected.
If we are not able to maintain and enhance our brand, our reputation and business may suffer.
We believe that maintaining and enhancing our reputation and brand recognition is critical to our ability to attract and retain learners, instructors, UB customers, and partners, and that the importance of our reputation and brand recognition will continue to increase as competition in the markets in which we operate continues to develop. Our success in this arena will depend on a range of factors, both within and beyond our control. Factors affecting our reputation and brand recognition that are within our control include our ability to:
•market our platform effectively and efficiently;
•maintain a useful, innovative, and reliable platform;
•maintain a high satisfaction among learners, instructors, and UB customers;
•provide a high quality and perceived value for our platform;
•successfully differentiate our platform from competing offerings;
•maintain a consistently high level of customer service; and
•prevent any actual or perceived data security breach or incident or data loss, or misuse or perceived misuse of our platform.
Additionally, our reputation and brand recognition may be affected by factors that are beyond our control, such as:
•the actions of competitors or other third parties;
•the quality and quantity of, as well as the nature and subject matter of, content available from instructors on our platform;
•positive or negative publicity, including with respect to events or activities attributed to us, our employees, instructors, or our commercial partners;
•interruptions, delays, or attacks on our platform; and
•litigation or legal developments.
Damage to our reputation and brand, from the factors listed above or otherwise, may reduce demand for our platform and have an adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition. Moreover, any attempts to rehabilitate our reputation and brand recognition may be costly and time-consuming, and there can be no assurance that any such efforts will ultimately be successful.
We could face liability, or our reputation might be harmed, as a result of courses posted to our platform.
Instructors at times post courses and related materials to our platform that contain content owned by third parties, and we do not proactively review content for potential infringement of intellectual property rights. Although we maintain and enforce terms and policies requiring instructors to respect the intellectual property rights of others, the laws governing the fair use of these third-party materials are imprecise and adjudicated on a case-by-case basis, which makes it challenging to adopt and implement appropriately balanced institutional policies governing these practices. As a result, we are subject to potential liability to third parties for the unauthorized duplication, distribution, or other use of this material. In addition, third parties have alleged, and in the future may allege, misappropriation, plagiarism, or similar claims related to content appearing on our platform. Any such claims, including claims of defamation, disparagement, negligence, warranty, misappropriation, or personal harm, could subject us to costly litigation and impose a significant strain on our financial resources and management personnel, regardless of whether the claims have merit. Moreover, there can be no assurance that measures taken under our terms and policies in response to complaints by third-party content owners regarding intellectual property violations, such as taking down courses subject to a valid complaint or banning instructors who violate our repeat infringer policy, will be sufficient to protect us from claims of intellectual property infringement. Our various liability insurance coverages may not cover potential claims of this type adequately or at all, and we may be required to alter or cease our uses of such material, which may include removing course content or altering the functionality of our platform, or be required to pay monetary damages.
Where applicable, we rely on a variety of statutory and common law frameworks and defenses, including those provided by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (the “DMCA”), the Communications Decency Act (the “CDA”), the fair-use doctrine in the United States and the E-Commerce Directive in the European Union (the “E.U.”), variation in the availability, scope, and application of such frameworks, defenses, and statutes across the many jurisdictions we operate, and the applicable limitations on immunity, requirements to maintain immunity, and moderation efforts required in the many jurisdictions in which we operate may affect our ability to rely on these frameworks and defenses, or create uncertainty regarding liability for content posted to our platform. As an example, Article 17 of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market was passed in the E.U. contains conditions and obligations service providers must satisfy in order to qualify for its protection, compliance with which may have the consequence of limiting safe harbor protections afforded to us in the other jurisdictions (including in U.S. under the DMCA), and increase our exposure to liability relating to for content posted on our platform. Member states in the E.U. are in the process of determining how Article 17 will be implemented in their particular country’s laws. In addition, the E.U. is also reportedly reviewing the regulation of digital services, and it has been reported that the E.U. plans to introduce the Digital Services Act, a package of legislation intended to update the liability and safety rules for digital platforms, products, and services, which could negatively impact the scope of the limited immunity provided to us by the E-Commerce Directive. The work of monitoring and responding to changes in applicable laws in the E.U. and other jurisdictions to maintain compliance with applicable safe harbors, where possible, may be difficult or expensive, and may have a negative impact on our business. In countries in Asia and Latin America, generally there are not similar statutes to the CDA or E-Commerce Directive. The laws of countries in Asia and Latin America generally provide for direct liability if a platform is involved in creating such content or has actual knowledge of the content without taking action to take it down. Further, laws in some Asian countries also provide for primary or secondary liability, which can include criminal liability, if a platform failed to take sufficient steps to prevent such content from being uploaded. Although these and other similar legal provisions provide limited protections from liability for platforms like ours, if we are found not to be protected by the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA, CDA, or other similar laws, or if we are deemed subject to laws in other countries that may not have the same protections or that may impose more onerous obligations on us, including Article 17 or other proactive obligations to filter or review content for potential infringement of intellectual property, we may be required to take additional, potentially burdensome, measures to moderate the content available through our platform, which could diminish the depth, breadth and variety of content available on our platform, or the speed at which new content is made available on our platform, and we may face substantial damages or other penalties for non-compliance, any of which in turn could negatively impact our brand, reputation and financial results. Moreover, regulators in the United States and in other countries in which we operate may introduce new regulatory regimes or modify existing regulatory regimes, including in ways that increase potential liability for information or content available on or through our platform or the content moderation decisions we make with respect to our platform, or which impose additional obligations to monitor such information or content, which could increase our costs. For example, in recent years, there have been various efforts calling for reforms to Section 230 of the CDA, ranging from a complete repeal of the statute to modifications of it in such a way as to remove certain social media companies from its protection, and certain U.S. states have either passed or are debating laws that would create potential liability for moderating or removing certain user content.
Failure of our resellers or other commercial partners to use acceptable ethical business practices or comply with applicable laws could negatively impact our business.
In certain jurisdictions, such as Japan, we rely on third-party resellers and other commercial partners to distribute and market our offerings. We expect these resellers and partners to operate in compliance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations, but we cannot control their conduct. If any of our resellers or partners violates applicable laws or implements business practices that are regarded as unethical, the distribution of our platform in those jurisdictions could be interrupted, usage of our platform could decline, our reputation could be damaged and we may be subject to liability. Any of these events could have a negative impact on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Our revenue, results of operations, and financial condition could be negatively affected by general economic conditions.
Our business is sensitive to trends in the general economy, which is unpredictable. Therefore, our operating results, to the extent they reflect changes in the broader economy, may be subject to significant fluctuations. Since online learning is generally dependent on discretionary spending, negative general economic conditions or uncertainty regarding future economic conditions, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, could significantly reduce the overall amount that learners and organizations spend on, and the frequency of, online learning or result in delays to planned spending on online learning. Any or all of these factors could reduce the demand for our services, reducing our revenue. In addition, the occurrence of any of these events could increase our need to make significant expenditures to continue to attract learners and UB customers to our platform.
Our business and operations could be materially and adversely affected by natural disasters, public health crises, political crises, or other catastrophic events.
Our business and operations could be materially and adversely affected in the event of natural or physical climate change like earthquakes, floods, fires, telecommunications failures, blackouts, or other power losses, break-ins, acts of terrorism, wars and other armed conflicts, political or geopolitical crises, inclement weather, public health crises, pandemics or endemics, including future waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, or other catastrophic events. In particular, our corporate headquarters are located in San Francisco, California, an earthquake-sensitive area and one that has been increasingly vulnerable to wildfires, and damage to or total destruction of our executive offices resulting from earthquakes may not be covered in whole or in part by any insurance we may have. If floods, fire, inclement weather including extreme rain, wind, heat, or cold, or accidents due to human error were to occur and cause damage to our properties, or if our operations were interrupted by telecommunications failures, blackouts, acts of terrorism, wars and other armed conflicts, political or geopolitical crises, or public health crises, our results of operations would suffer, especially if such events were to occur during peak periods. Physical climate change may result in natural disasters occurring more frequently or with greater intensity, such as drought, wildfires, storms, sea-level rise, and flooding. We may not be able to effectively shift our operations due to disruptions arising from the occurrence of such events, and our business could be affected adversely as a result.
Our business could be harmed if we fail to manage our growth effectively.
The rapid growth we have experienced, and may continue to experience, in our business places significant demands on our operational infrastructure. The scalability and flexibility of our platform depends on the functionality of our technology and network infrastructure and our ability to handle increased traffic and demand for bandwidth. The growth in the number of learners and instructors using our platform and the amount of educational content available through our platform has increased the amount of data and requests that we process. Any problems with the transmission of increased data and requests could result in harm to our brand or reputation. Moreover, as our business grows, we will need to devote additional resources to improving our operational infrastructure and continuing to enhance our scalability in order to maintain the performance of our platform.
Our growth has placed, and will likely continue to place, a significant strain on our managerial, administrative, operational, financial, and other resources. Between May 2016 to December 31, 2022, our full-time employee headcount grew from 230 to 1,678. In February 2023, we announced a reduction in force involving approximately 10% of our global workforce as part of our efforts to decrease our costs during the current macroeconomic environment and create a more streamlined organization to support our business. Future growth in our organization could place additional strain on our existing resources, and we could experience systemic operating difficulties in managing our business, which may negatively impact our gross profit or operating expenses.
Our future success depends on our ability to retain our senior management team and other highly skilled employees and to attract, retain, and motivate our qualified personnel.
We depend on the continued services and performance of our senior management team, key technical employees, and other key personnel. Although we have entered into employment agreements with senior management team members, each of them may terminate their employment with us at any time or not be able to perform the services we require in the future. We do not maintain “key person” insurance for any of our executives or other employees. Similarly, third parties may attempt to encourage our senior management team or other key employees to leave for other employment. The loss of one or more of the members of our senior management team or other key personnel for any reason could disrupt our operations, create uncertainty among investors, adversely impact employee retention and morale and significantly harm our business.
To execute our growth plan, we must hire many employees over the next few years. In addition, we must retain our highly qualified employees. Competition for highly qualified employees is intense, particularly from other high-growth technology companies and in the San Francisco, California labor market, where our corporate headquarters are located.
From time to time we have experienced, and may continue to experience, difficulty in hiring and retaining employees with the appropriate level of qualifications. The companies with which we compete for qualified employees may have greater resources than we have and may offer compensation packages that are perceived to be better than ours. Additionally, changes in our compensation structure, workforce reductions (including the reduction in force we announced in February 2023), or any previously implemented reductions in workforce and other cost reduction efforts may be negatively received by employees and result in attrition or cause difficulty in the recruiting process. If we fail to attract new employees or fail to retain and motivate our current employees, our business and future growth prospects could be adversely affected.
Acquisitions and other strategic investments may expose us to significant risks, any of which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
We have in the past pursued, and may in the future pursue, acquisitions of, or strategic investments in, businesses, technologies, services and other assets that complement our business. For example, in August 2021, we announced our acquisition of CUX, Inc. (d/b/a CorpU) (“CorpU”), an online leadership development platform. We have limited experience as an organization with successfully executing and managing acquisitions and strategic investments. These kind of transactions involve numerous risks, including the following:
•difficulties in realizing the anticipated economic, operational and other benefits of the acquisition or strategic investment successfully or in a timely manner;
•failure of businesses we acquire or invest in to achieve anticipated revenue, earnings, or cash flow;
•diversion of management’s attention or other resources from our existing business;
•any inability to maintain the key customers, business relationships, suppliers, and brand potential of businesses we acquire or invest in;
•uncertainty of entry into businesses or geographies in which we have limited or no prior experience or in which competitors have stronger positions;
•unanticipated or greater costs than expected associated with pursuing acquisitions or investments;
•difficulties in, or costs associated with, any integration process, such as challenges associated with assigning or transferring acquired intellectual property or intellectual property licenses; integrating and auditing financial statements of acquired companies that have not historically prepared financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (“GAAP”);
and integrating the workforce of acquired companies and the potential loss of key employees of the acquired companies;
•responsibility for the liabilities of acquired businesses, including those that were not disclosed to us or exceed our estimates, such as liabilities arising out of the failure to maintain effective privacy, data protection and cybersecurity controls, and liabilities arising out of the failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations, including tax laws;
•inability to maintain our culture and values, ethical standards, controls, procedures, and policies; and
•asset write-offs and impairments of goodwill and intangible assets in connection with any acquisition or strategic investment, as well as any inability to accurately forecast such impacts.
We may not succeed in addressing these or other risks in connection with any acquisitions or strategic investments we undertake, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Furthermore, we may have to pay cash, incur debt or issue equity or equity-linked securities to finance any acquisitions or investments, which could also adversely affect our financial condition or the trading price of our securities, and the sale of equity or equity-linked securities could result in dilution to our stockholders.
We may need to raise additional funds to pursue our growth strategy or continue operations, and we may be unable to raise capital when needed or on acceptable terms.
From time to time, we may seek additional equity or debt financing to fund our growth, enhance our platform, respond to competitive pressures, or make acquisitions or other investments. Our business plans may change, general economic, financial or political conditions in our markets may deteriorate or other circumstances may arise, in each case that have a material adverse effect on our cash flows and the anticipated cash needs of our business. Any of these events or circumstances could result in significant additional funding needs, requiring us to raise additional capital. We cannot predict the timing or amount of any such capital requirements at this time. If financing is not available on satisfactory terms, or at all, we may be unable to expand its business at the rate desired and our results of operations may suffer.
We operate internationally and we plan to continue expanding our international operations, which exposes us to risks inherent in international operations.
Managing a global organization requires significant resources and management attention. We currently maintain operations outside of the United States in Ireland, Turkey, Australia, and India, and we plan to expand our international operations in the future.
We generated 59%, 61%, and 61% of revenue outside of North America during the fiscal years ended December 31, 2022, 2021, and 2020, respectively, and based on our instructor registration records, we estimate that a majority of our instructors are located outside the United States. Any further international expansion efforts that we may undertake may not be as successful as we expect or at all.
Additionally, conducting international operations subjects us to risks that we have not generally faced in the United States. These risks include:
•the cost and resources required to localize our services, which requires the translation of our websites into foreign languages and adaptation for local practices and regulatory requirements;
•competition with local market participants who understand the local market better than we do or who have pre-existing relationships with our potential learners and UB customers in those markets;
•greater reliance on third-party resellers and other commercial partners for the distribution and marketing of our offerings;
•legal uncertainty regarding our liability for the content and services provided by our instructors, including as a result of local laws or a lack of clear precedent of applicable law;
•the burdens of complying with a wide variety of foreign laws and legal standards;
•lack of familiarity with and unexpected changes in foreign regulatory requirements;
•adapting to variations in methods of payment from learners and UB customers;
•difficulties in managing and staffing international operations;
•fluctuations in currency exchange rates;
•potentially adverse tax consequences, including the complexities of foreign value added tax systems, digital services tax and restrictions on the repatriation of earnings;
•increased financial accounting and reporting burdens and complexities and difficulties in implementing and maintaining adequate internal controls;
•political, social, and economic instability abroad, wars and other armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, and security concerns in general, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine;
•reduced or varied protection for intellectual property rights in some countries; and
•higher telecommunications and internet service provider costs.
Operating in international markets also requires significant management attention and financial resources. The investment and additional resources required to establish operations and manage growth in other countries may not produce desired levels of revenue or profitability.
Our strategic and other relationships with partners overseas may also subject us to additional regulatory scrutiny in the United States and other jurisdictions. For example, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. has continued to apply a more stringent review of certain foreign investment in U.S. companies, and has made inquiries to us with respect to equity investments in us by foreign investors prior to our initial public offering. Operating in international markets could also increase our business exposure to the effects of trade and economic sanctions regulations. See “—We are subject to governmental export and import controls and regulations that could impair our ability to compete in international markets and subject us to liability if we are not in full compliance with applicable laws.”
Further, as we continue to expand internationally, we could also become subject to increased difficulties in collecting accounts receivable (including as a result of international sanctions or other trade restrictions affecting the geographies in which we or our learners or customers are present), repatriating money without adverse tax consequences, and risks relating to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations. We have not engaged in currency hedging activities to limit risk of exchange rate fluctuations, and while we may decide to do so in the future, the availability and effectiveness of these hedging transactions may be limited. Changes in exchange rates affect our costs and earnings, and may also affect the book value of our assets located outside the United States and the amount of our stockholders’ equity.
We are subject to laws and regulations worldwide, and failure to comply with such laws and regulations could subject us to claims or otherwise adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to a variety of laws in the U.S. and abroad that affect our business. As a global platform with learners and instructors in over 180 countries, we are subject to a wide range of laws and regulations regarding consumer protection, advertising, electronic marketing, privacy, data protection and cybersecurity, data localization requirements, online services, freedom of speech, labor, real estate, taxation, intellectual property ownership and infringement, export and national security, tariffs, anti-corruption and telecommunications, all of which are continuously evolving and developing.
The scope and interpretation of the laws that are or may be applicable to us are often uncertain and may be conflicting, particularly laws outside the U.S., and compliance with laws, regulations and similar requirements may be burdensome and expensive. Because these laws and regulations are subject to change over time, we must continue to dedicate resources to monitoring developments in the law and ensuring compliance. Laws and regulations may be inconsistent from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and certain jurisdictions may impose more stringent regulatory requirements than the U.S., which may increase the cost of compliance and doing business and expose us to possible litigation, penalties, or fines. Any such costs, which may rise in the future as a result of changes in these laws and regulations or in their interpretation, could make our platform less attractive to learners, instructors, or enterprise customers or cause us to change or limit our ability to make available our platform. We have policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, but we cannot assure you that we will not experience violations of such laws and regulations or our policies and procedures. Any such violations could subject us to investigations, sanctions, enforcement actions, disgorgement of profits, fines, damages, civil and criminal penalties, or injunctions. If any governmental sanctions are imposed, or if we do not prevail in any possible civil or criminal litigation, our business, operating results, and financial condition could be materially adversely affected. In addition, responding to any action will likely result in a significant diversion of management’s attention and resources and an increase in professional fees. Enforcement actions and sanctions could harm our business, operating results, and financial condition.
We are subject to governmental export and import controls and regulations that could impair our ability to compete in international markets and subject us to liability if we are not in full compliance with applicable laws.
Our business activities are subject to various restrictions under U.S. export and similar laws and regulations, including trade and economic sanctions regulations administered by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and, in some cases, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Administration Regulations. The U.S. export control and economic sanctions laws and regulations include restrictions or prohibitions on the sale of certain services to U.S. embargoed or sanctioned countries, governments, persons, and entities which in some cases might apply to our activities. In addition, various countries regulate the import of certain technology and have enacted or could enact laws that could limit our ability to provide learners access to our platform or could limit our learners’ ability to access or use our services in those countries.
Although we take precautions to prevent our platform from being provided in violation of such laws, our platform could be provided inadvertently in violation of such laws, despite the precautions we take. Complying with these laws and regulations could be particularly difficult because our products are widely available worldwide, in some cases, by providing only minimal information at registration. If we fail to comply with these laws and regulations, we and certain of our employees could be subject to civil or criminal penalties, including the possible loss of export privileges and fines. We also may be adversely affected through penalties, reputational harm, loss of access to certain markets, or otherwise. In addition, various countries regulate the import and export of certain encryption and other technology, including import and export permitting and licensing requirements, and have enacted laws that could limit our ability to distribute our platform or could limit our learners’ ability to access our platform in those countries. Changes in our platform, or future changes in export and import regulations, may prevent our international learners or instructors from using our platform or, in some cases, prevent the export or import of our platform to certain countries, governments, or persons altogether. Any change in export or import regulations, economic sanctions, or related legislation or changes in the countries, governments, persons, or technologies targeted by such regulations, could result in decreased use of our platform.
Failure to comply with anti-bribery, anti-corruption, and anti-money laundering laws, and similar laws, could subject us to penalties and other adverse consequences.
We are subject to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as amended, the FCPA, the U.S. domestic bribery statute contained in 18 U.S.C. § 201, the U.S. Travel Act, and possibly other anti-bribery laws and anti-money laundering laws in countries outside of the United States in which we conduct our activities. Anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws have been enforced aggressively in recent years and are interpreted broadly to generally prohibit companies, their employees, agents, representatives, business partners, and third-party intermediaries from authorizing, offering, or providing, directly or indirectly, improper payments or benefits to recipients in the public or private sector.
We sometimes engage third parties to sell our products and conduct our business abroad. We and our employees, agents, representatives, business partners, or third-party intermediaries may have direct or indirect interactions with officials and employees of government agencies or state-owned or affiliated entities and may be held liable for the corrupt or other illegal activities of these employees, agents, representatives, business partners, or third-party intermediaries even if we do not explicitly authorize such activities. We cannot assure you that none of our employees and agents will take actions in violation of applicable law, for which we may be ultimately held responsible. As we increase our international sales and business, our risks under these laws may increase.
These laws also require that we keep accurate books and records and maintain internal controls and compliance procedures designed to prevent any such actions. While we have policies and procedures to address compliance with such laws, we cannot assure you that none of our employees, agents, representatives, business partners, or third-party intermediaries will take actions in violation of our policies and applicable law, for which we may be ultimately held responsible.
Any allegations or violation of the FCPA or other applicable anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws and anti-money laundering laws could result in whistleblower complaints, sanctions, settlements, prosecution, enforcement actions, fines, damages, adverse media coverage, investigations, loss of export privileges, severe criminal or civil sanctions, or suspension or debarment from U.S. government contracts, all of which may have an adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects. Responding to any investigation or action will likely result in a materially significant diversion of management’s attention and resources and significant defense costs and other professional fees.
We are from time to time involved in claims, lawsuits, government investigations, and other proceedings that could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
We are involved in litigation matters from time to time, such as matters incidental to the ordinary course of our business, including intellectual property, commercial, employment, class action, whistleblower, accessibility, and other litigation and claims, and governmental and other regulatory investigations and proceedings. Such matters can be time-consuming, divert management’s attention and resources, cause us to incur significant expenses or liability, or require us to change our business practices. In addition, the expense of litigation and the timing of these expenses from period to period are difficult to estimate, subject to change, and could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. Because of the potential risks, expenses, and uncertainties of litigation, we may, from time to time, settle disputes, even where we have meritorious claims or defenses, by agreeing to settlement agreements. Any of the foregoing could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Increased scrutiny and changing expectations from regulators, investors, customers, employees, and others regarding our environmental, social and governance practices and reporting could cause us to incur additional costs, devote additional resources and expose us to additional risks, which could adversely impact our reputation, customer acquisition and retention, access to capital and employee retention.
Companies across all industries are facing increasing scrutiny related to their environmental, social and governance, or ESG, practices and reporting. Regulators, investors, customers, employees and other stakeholders have focused increasingly on ESG practices and placed increasing importance on the implications and social cost of their investments, purchases and other interactions with companies. For example, many investment funds focus on positive ESG business practices and sustainability scores when making investments and may consider a company’s ESG or sustainability scores as a reputational or other factor in making an investment decision. In addition, investors, particularly institutional investors, use these scores to benchmark companies against their peers and if a company is perceived as lagging, these investors may engage with such company to improve ESG disclosure or performance and may also make voting decisions on this basis. With this increased focus and demand, public reporting regarding ESG practices is becoming more broadly expected. If our ESG practices and reporting do not meet investor, customer, or employee expectations, which continue to evolve, our brand, reputation, and learner, instructor, and UB customer retention may be negatively impacted. Any disclosure we make may include our policies and practices on a variety of ESG matters, including corporate governance, environmental compliance, employee health and safety practices, human capital management, and workforce inclusion and diversity. It is possible that stakeholders may not be satisfied with our ESG reporting, our ESG practices or our speed of adoption. We could also incur additional costs and devote additional resources to monitor, report and implement various ESG practices, including as a result of regulatory developments.
Risks related to technology, privacy, and cybersecurity
Changes in laws or regulations relating to privacy, data protection, or cybersecurity, including those relating to the protection or transfer of data relating to individuals, or any actual or perceived failure by us to comply with such laws and regulations or any other obligations could adversely affect our business.
We receive, transmit, and store personally identifiable information and other data relating to our learners, instructors, and other individuals, such as our employees. Numerous local, municipal, state, federal, and international laws and regulations address privacy, data protection, cybersecurity, and the collection, storing, sharing, use, disclosure, and protection of certain types of data, including the California Online Privacy Protection Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, the E.U. General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”), the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (restricting telemarketing and the use of automated SMS text messaging), Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, and the California Consumer Privacy Act (the “CCPA”). These laws, rules, and regulations evolve frequently and their scope may continually change, through new legislation, amendments to existing legislation, and changes in enforcement, and may be inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another.
For example, the GDPR, which became effective on May 25, 2018, has resulted and will continue to result in significantly greater compliance burdens and costs for companies like ours. The GDPR regulates our collection, control, processing, sharing, disclosure, and other use of data that can directly or indirectly identify a living individual that is a resident of the E.U. and imposes stringent data protection requirements with significant penalties and the risk of civil litigation, for noncompliance. Failure to comply with the GDPR may result in fines of up to 20 million euros or up to 4% of the annual global revenue of the infringer, whichever is greater. It may also lead to civil litigation, with the risks of damages, injunctive relief, or regulatory orders adversely impacting the ways in which our business can use personal data.
In addition, in January 2021, the United Kingdom transposed the GDPR into domestic law with a United Kingdom version of the GDPR (combining the GDPR and the United Kingdom Data Protection Act of 2018), referred to as the U.K. GDPR, which provides for fines of up 17.5 million British pounds sterling or 4% of global turnover, whichever is greater. The relationship between the United Kingdom and the E.U. in relation to certain aspects of data protection law is subject to uncertainty. On June 28, 2021, the European Commission announced a decision of “adequacy” concluding that the United Kingdom ensures an equivalent level of data protection to the GDPR, which provides some relief regarding the legality of continued personal data flows from the European Economic Area (the “EEA”) to the United Kingdom. This adequacy determination must, however, be renewed after four years and may be modified or revoked in the interim. We cannot fully predict how United Kingdom data protection laws or regulations may develop in the medium to longer term nor the effects of divergent laws and guidance, including those relating to how data transfers to and from the United Kingdom. Changes with respect to any of these matters may lead to additional costs and increase our overall risk exposure.
Additionally, we are or may become subject to laws, rules, and regulations regarding cross-border transfers of personal data, including those relating to transfer of personal data outside the EEA. Recent legal developments have created complexity and uncertainty regarding transfers of personal data from the EEA to the U.S. and other jurisdictions. For example, on July 16, 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “CJEU”) invalidated the E.U.-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework (the “Privacy Shield”), under which personal data could be transferred from the EEA to U.S. entities that had self-certified under the Privacy Shield scheme. While the CJEU upheld the adequacy of standard contractual clauses (approved by the European Commission as an adequate personal data transfer mechanism and potential alternative to the Privacy Shield), it noted that reliance on them may not necessarily be sufficient in all circumstances. In addition to other mechanisms (particularly standard contractual clauses), in limited circumstances we may rely on Privacy Shield certifications of third parties (for example, vendors and partners). The European Commission has published new standard contractual clauses that are required to be implemented. Further, on February 2, 2022, the United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office issued new standard contractual clauses effective March 21, 2022, which also are required to be implemented. These developments regarding cross-border data transfers have created uncertainty and increased the risk around our international operations and may require us to review and amend the legal mechanisms by which we make or receive personal data transfers to the U.S. and other jurisdictions. We may, among other things, be required to implement additional contractual and technical safeguards for any personal data transferred out of the EEA, Switzerland, the United Kingdom or other regions which may increase compliance costs, lead to increased regulatory scrutiny or liability, may require additional contractual negotiations, and may adversely impact our business, financial condition and operating results.
The CCPA, which went into effect on January 1, 2020, among other things, requires covered companies to provide new disclosures to California consumers and affords such consumers the ability to opt out of certain types of data sharing and sales of their personal information. The CCPA also prohibits covered businesses from discriminating against consumers (for example, charging more for services) for exercising their rights. The CCPA provides for civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for data breaches that is expected to increase data breach litigation. Additionally, in November 2020, California voters passed the California Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act of 2020 (the “CPRA”). As of January 1, 2023, the CPRA further expands the CCPA with additional data privacy compliance requirements that may impact our business and establishes a regulatory agency dedicated to enforcing those requirements. Aspects of the interpretation and enforcement of the CCPA and CPRA remain uncertain. The enactment of the CCPA has prompted a wave of similar legislative developments in other states in the U.S., which creates the potential for a patchwork of overlapping but different state laws and could mark the beginning of a trend toward more stringent privacy legislation in the U.S., which could increase our potential liability and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. For example, in March 2021, Virginia enacted the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (the “CDPA”), a comprehensive privacy statute that becomes effective on January 1, 2023 (at the same time as the CPRA). In June 2021, Colorado enacted a similar law, the Colorado Privacy Act (the “CPA”), which becomes effective on July 1, 2023, in March 2022, Utah enacted a similar law, the Utah Consumer Privacy Act (the “UCPA”), which becomes effective December 31, 2023, and in May 2022, Connecticut enacted a similar law, An Act Concerning Personal Data Privacy and Online Monitoring, which becomes effective July 1, 2023. In addition, on August 20, 2021, the Personal Information Protection Law, or PIPL, was adopted in the People’s Republic of China (the “PRC”), and it went into effect on November 1, 2021. The PIPL shares similarities with the GDPR, including extraterritorial application, data minimization, data localization, and purpose limitation requirements, and obligations to provide certain notices and rights to citizens of the PRC. The
PIPL allows for fines of up to 50 million renminbi or 5% of a covered company’s revenue in the prior year. The effects of these statutes and other similar federal, state, or foreign laws that may be proposed or enacted are significant and may require us to modify our data processing practices and policies and incur substantial compliance-related costs and expenses. Additionally, many laws and regulations relating to privacy and the collection, storing, sharing, use, disclosure, and protection of certain types of data are subject to varying degrees of enforcement and new and changing interpretations by courts. These laws and other changes in laws or regulations relating to privacy, data protection, and cybersecurity, particularly any new or modified laws or regulations, or changes to the interpretation or enforcement of such laws or regulations, that require enhanced protection of certain types of data or new obligations with regard to data retention, transfer, or disclosure, could greatly increase the cost of providing our platform, require significant changes to our operations, or even prevent us from providing our platform in jurisdictions in which we currently operate and in which we may operate in the future.
Additionally, we have incurred, and may continue to incur, significant expenses in an effort to comply with privacy, data protection, and cybersecurity standards and protocols imposed by law, regulation, industry standards, or contractual obligations. Publication of our privacy statement and other policies regarding privacy, data protection, and cybersecurity may subject us to investigation or enforcement actions by regulators if those statements or policies are found to be deficient, lacking transparency, deceptive, unfair, or misrepresentative of our practices. We are also bound by contractual obligations related to privacy, data protection, and cybersecurity and our efforts to comply with such obligations may not be successful or may have other negative consequences. The various privacy, data protection, and cybersecurity legal obligations that apply to us may evolve in a manner that relates to our practices or the features of our mobile apps or website and we may need to take additional measures to comply with the new and evolving legal obligations, including but not limited to training efforts for our employees, contractors and third party partners. Such efforts may not be successful or may have other negative consequences. In particular, with laws and regulations such as the CCPA, CPRA, CDPA, CPA, and UCPA imposing new and relatively burdensome obligations and with substantial uncertainty over the interpretation and application of these and other laws and regulations, we may face challenges in addressing their requirements and making necessary changes to our policies and practices and may incur significant costs and expenses in an effort to do so. Despite our efforts to comply with applicable laws, regulations, and other obligations relating to privacy, data protection and cybersecurity, it is possible that our interpretations of the law, practices, policies, or platform or other services or offerings could be inconsistent with, or fail or be alleged to fail to meet all requirements of, such laws, regulations, or obligations. Any failure, or consequences associated with our efforts to comply with applicable laws or regulations or any other obligations relating to privacy, data protection, or cybersecurity, or any compromise of security that results in unauthorized access to, or use or release of data relating to learners, instructors, or other individuals, or the perception that any of the foregoing types of failure or compromise has occurred, could damage our reputation, discourage new and existing learners, instructors, and UB customers from using our platform, or result in fines, investigations, or proceedings by governmental agencies and private claims and litigation, any of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results. Even if not subject to legal challenge, the perception of concerns relating to privacy, data protection, or cybersecurity, whether or not valid, may harm our reputation and brand adversely affect our business, financial condition, and operating results.
A cybersecurity attack or other security breach or incident could delay or interrupt service to our learners, instructors, and UB customers, harm our reputation or subject us to significant liability.
Our platform involves the processing of significant amounts of data relating to the learners, instructors, and UB customers interacting with our platform, including personal data and personal information. Additionally, we collect and store certain sensitive and proprietary information, and personal data and personal information, in the operation of our business, including trade secrets, intellectual property, employee data, and other confidential data.
We engage third-party service providers to store and otherwise process certain data, including sensitive and personal information. Our service providers have been, and in the future may be, the targets of cyberattacks, malicious software, phishing schemes, fraud, and other risks to the confidentiality, security, and integrity of their systems and the data they process for us. Our ability to monitor our service providers’ cybersecurity is limited, and, in any event, third parties may be able to circumvent those security measures, resulting in the unauthorized access to, misuse, disclosure, loss, unavailability, destruction or other processing of data they process for us, including sensitive and personal information. There have been and may continue to be significant supply chain attacks, and we cannot guarantee that our or our third-party providers’ systems and networks have not been breached or that they do not contain exploitable defects or bugs that could result in a breach of or disruption to our systems and networks or the systems and networks of third parties that support us and our services.
While we have taken measures to protect our own proprietary and confidential information, as well as the personal information, personal data, and confidential information that we otherwise obtain, and measures to protect our platform, we, our third-party service providers, and the networks and systems used in our business, including those of third-party service providers, have been subject to, and we, our service providers and our platform may in the future may be subject to, cybersecurity attacks or other security breaches or incidents. Cybersecurity attacks may take the form of denial of service attacks, attacks using ransomware or other malware, or other attacks, and can come from individual hackers, criminal groups, and state-sponsored organizations. These sources can also implement social engineering techniques to induce our employees, contractors, or customers to disclose passwords or other sensitive information or take other actions to gain access to data, and we and our platform otherwise may be subject to security breaches and incidents resulting from employee or contractor error or malfeasance. We may be more susceptible to cyberattacks and other security breaches and other security incidents while social distancing measures restricting the ability of our employees to work at our offices are in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic because we have less capability to implement, monitor, and enforce our information security and data protection policies.
More generally, we cannot guarantee that applicable recovery systems, security protocols, network protection mechanisms, and other procedures of ourselves of our third-party service providers are or will be adequate to prevent network and service interruption, system failure or loss, corruption, or unauthorized access to, or disclosure, acquisition, unavailability, destruction, or other processing of, data, including personal data, personal information, and other sensitive information that we or they process or maintain. Moreover, our platform could be breached or disrupted if vulnerabilities in our platform are exploited by unauthorized third parties. Since techniques used to obtain unauthorized access change frequently and the size of cybersecurity attacks and of security breaches and incidents are increasing, we and our third-party service providers may be unable to implement adequate preventative measures or stop the attacks while they are occurring. A cybersecurity attack or security breach or incident could delay or interrupt service to our learners, instructors, or organizations and may deter learners, instructors, or organizations from using our platform, and we and our service providers may face difficulties or delays in identifying, remediating, and otherwise responding to any cybersecurity attack or other security breach or incident. In addition, any actual or perceived cybersecurity attack or security breach or incident could damage our reputation and brand, expose us to a risk of claims, litigation, regulatory investigations, or other proceedings and possible fines, penalties, or other liability and require us to expend significant capital and other resources to alleviate problems caused by the cybersecurity attack or security breach or incident. We incur significant costs in an effort to detect and prevent security breaches and other security-related incidents, and we expect our costs will increase as we make improvements to our systems and processes to prevent future breaches and incidents. Some jurisdictions have enacted laws requiring companies to notify individuals of data security breaches involving certain types of personal data. Such mandatory disclosures could lead to negative publicity and any such disclosures, or any belief that a cybersecurity attack, or a security breach or incident, has impacted us, our platform, or our service providers may cause our learners, instructors, or UB customers to lose confidence in the security of our platform and the effectiveness of the cybersecurity measures we and our service providers utilize.
Further, any limitations of liability provisions in our customer and user agreements, contracts with third-party service providers, or other contracts may not be enforceable or adequate or otherwise protect us from any liabilities or damages with respect to any particular claim relating to a security breach or incident or other security-related matter. While our insurance policies include liability coverage for certain of these matters, subject to applicable deductibles, any cybersecurity attack or other security breach or other incident, could subject us to claims or damages that exceed our insurance coverage. Our insurance coverage might not be adequate for liabilities actually incurred relating to any security breach or incident, such insurance may not continue to be available to us in the future on economically reasonable terms, or at all, and insurers may deny us coverage as to any future claim. The successful assertion of one or more large claims against us that exceed available insurance coverage, or the occurrence of changes in our insurance policies, including premium increases or the imposition of large deductible or co-insurance requirements, could have a material adverse effect on our business, including our financial condition, operating results, and reputation.
Interruptions or performance problems associated with our technology and infrastructure could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Our continued growth partially depends on the ability of learners and instructors to access our platform at any time. Our platform has encountered, and may in the future encounter, disruptions, outages, and other performance problems due to a variety of factors, including infrastructure changes, introductions of new capabilities, human or technology errors, distributed denial of service attacks, or other security related incidents. In some instances, we may not be able to identify the cause or causes of these performance problems in a timely manner. It may become increasingly difficult to maintain and improve the performance of our platform as it grows and becomes more complex, and in the future we may be required to allocate significant resources to augment and update our technology and network infrastructure. If learners or instructors are unable to access our platform within a reasonable amount of time, or at all, our business will be harmed.
Our business depends significantly on continued access to the internet and mobile networks.
Our learners and instructors rely on access to the internet and mobile networks to access our platform. Internet service providers may choose to disrupt or degrade our access to our platform or increase the cost of such access. Internet service providers or mobile network operators could also attempt to charge us for providing access to our platform. In 2015, rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission (the “FCC”) went into effect that prohibited internet service providers from charging content providers higher rates in order to deliver their content over certain “fast traffic” lanes; however, those rules were repealed in June 2018, and efforts to challenge the repeal in the courts have failed to reverse the FCC’s 2018 decision, and in October 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a mixed ruling that did not reverse the FCC’s 2015 decision in its entirety. Although this court ruling allows states to enact their own net neutrality rules, the repeal of federal protections may make it more difficult or costly for many buyers or instructors to access our platform and may result in increased costs for us, which could significantly harm our business. Outside the United States, government regulation of the internet, including the idea of network neutrality, may be developing or non-existent. It is possible that governments of one or more foreign countries may seek to censor content available on our platform or may even attempt to block access to our platform. If we are restricted from operating in one or more countries, our ability to attract and retain learners, instructors, and customers may be adversely affected and we may not be able to grow our business as we anticipate.
We rely on Amazon Web Services for a substantial portion of our platform services. Any disruption of, or interference with, our use of Amazon Web Services could negatively impact our business and operations.
Amazon Web Services provides distributed computing infrastructure platforms for business operations, commonly referred to as “cloud” computing services. We currently run a significant portion of our platform’s computing on Amazon Web Services, and any significant disruption of, or interference with, our use of Amazon Web Services would negatively impact our operations and our business would be seriously harmed. If learners or instructors are unable to access our platform through Amazon Web Services or encounter difficulties in doing so, we may lose learners, instructors, and UB customers. The level of service provided by Amazon Web Services may also impact the adoption and perception of our platform. If Amazon Web Services experiences interruptions in service regularly or for a prolonged basis, or other similar issues, our business would be seriously harmed. Hosting costs will also increase if and as our base of learners, instructors, and UB customers grows, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be adversely affected if we are unable to grow our revenue faster than the cost of using Amazon Web Services or similar providers increases.
Amazon Web Services may take actions beyond our control that could seriously harm our business, including discontinuing or limiting access to Amazon Web Services, increasing pricing terms, terminating our contract, establishing more favorable relationships or pricing terms with one or more of our competitors, and modifying or interpreting its terms of service or other policies in a manner that impacts our ability to administer our business and operations.
Our payments system depends on third-party providers and is subject to evolving laws and regulations.
We rely on third-party payment processors to process payments made by learners and customers, and to instructors, on our platform. We have engaged third-party service providers to perform underlying card processing, currency exchange, identity verification, and fraud analysis services. If these service providers do not perform adequately or if they terminate their relationships with us or refuse to renew their agreements with us on commercially reasonable terms, we will need to find an alternate payment processor and may not be able to secure similar terms or replace such payment processors in an acceptable time frame. Further, the software and services provided by our third-party payment processors may not meet our expectations, contain errors or vulnerabilities, be compromised, or experience outages. Any of these risks could cause us to lose our ability to accept online payments, make payments to our instructors or conduct other payment transactions, any of which could make our platform less convenient and attractive and harm our ability to attract and retain learners, instructors, and customers. In addition, if these providers increase the fees they charge us, our operating expenses could increase.
The laws and regulations related to payments are complex and vary across different jurisdictions in the United States and globally. As a result, we are required to spend significant time and effort to comply with those laws and regulations. Any failure or claim of our failure to comply, or any failure by our third-party service providers to comply, could cost us substantial resources, result in liabilities, or force us to stop offering certain third-party payment services. In addition, as we expand our international operations, we will need to accommodate international payment method alternatives. As we expand the availability of new payment methods in the future, including internationally, we may become subject to additional regulations and compliance requirements.
Further, through our agreement with our third-party credit card processors, we are indirectly subject to payment card association operating rules and certification requirements, including the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. We are also subject to rules governing electronic funds transfers. Any change in these rules and requirements could make it difficult or impossible for us to comply. If we fail to comply with these rules or requirements, we may be subject to additional fines and higher transaction fees and lose our ability to accept credit and debit card payments from our learners and UB customers, process electronic funds transfers or facilitate other types of online payments, and our business and operating results could be adversely affected.
The use of our platform could be adversely affected if our mobile solutions are not effective.
Learners have been increasingly accessing our platform on mobile devices through our Udemy and UB apps in recent years. The smaller screen size and reduced functionality associated with some mobile devices may make the use of our platform more difficult. Those accessing our platform primarily on mobile devices may not enroll in the courses offered on our platform as often as those accessing our platform through personal computers, which could result in less revenue for us. If we are not able to provide a rewarding experience on mobile devices, our ability to attract learners to our platform could be impaired, and consequently our business may suffer.
As new mobile devices and mobile features are released, we may encounter problems in developing or supporting apps for them. In addition, supporting new devices and mobile device operating systems may require substantial time and resources.
The success of our mobile apps could also be harmed by factors outside our control, including:
•actions taken by mobile app distributors, including the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store;
•unfavorable treatment received by our mobile apps, especially as compared to competing apps, such as the placement of our mobile apps in a mobile app download store;
•increased costs in the distribution and use our mobile app; or
•changes in mobile operating systems, such as iOS and Android, that degrade the functionality of our mobile website or mobile apps or that give preferential treatment to competitive offerings.
If our learners encounter difficulty accessing or using, or if they choose not to use, our mobile platform, our business and results of operations may be adversely affected.
Internet search engines drive traffic to our platform and, if we fail to appear prominently in search results, our growth rate could decline and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.
Many learners find our website through internet search engines, like Google. A critical factor in attracting learners to our website is how prominently we are displayed in response to search queries. Search engine companies typically provide two types of search results: algorithmic listings and paid advertisements. We rely on both types of search results to attract visitors to our website. Algorithmic search result listings are determined and displayed in accordance with a set of proprietary formulas or algorithms developed by particular search engine companies. From time to time, these companies revise their algorithms without notice. In some instances, these modifications have caused our website to be listed less prominently in search results. In addition, search engine companies retain broad discretion to remove from search results any company whose marketing practices are deemed to be inconsistent with the search engine companies’ guidelines. If our marketing practices violate or appear to violate search engine company guidelines, we may, without warning, not appear in search result listings at all. If we are listed less prominently or fail to appear in search result listings for any reason, visits by prospective learners to our website would likely decline. We may not be able to replace this traffic and any attempt to do so may require us to increase our sales and marketing expenditures, which may not be offset by additional revenue and could adversely affect our operating results.
Risks related to our intellectual property
We may be unable to adequately obtain, maintain, protect, and enforce our intellectual property and proprietary information, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Our business depends on our intellectual property, the protection of which is critical to our success. We rely on a combination of intellectual property rights, including patents, trade secrets, trade dress, domain names, copyrights, and trademarks to protect our competitive advantage, all of which offer only limited protection. The steps we take to protect our intellectual property, including physical, operational, and managerial protections of our confidential information, contractual obligations of confidentiality, assignment agreements with our employees and contractors, license agreements, and the prosecution and maintenance of registrations and applications for registration of intellectual property rights, require significant resources and may be inadequate. We will not be able to protect our competitive advantage if we are unable to establish, protect, maintain, or enforce our rights or if we do not detect or are unable to address unauthorized use of our intellectual property. We may be required to use significant resources to monitor and protect these rights. Despite our precautions, it may be possible for unauthorized third parties to copy portions or all of our platform and use information that we regard as proprietary to create services that compete with ours. Some license provisions protecting against unauthorized use, copying, transfer, and disclosure of our proprietary information may be unenforceable under the laws of certain jurisdictions.
We hold various registered trademarks in the United States and in foreign jurisdictions. We also have common law rights in some trademarks and pending trademark applications in the United States and foreign jurisdictions. In addition, we have registered domain names for websites that we use in our business, such as www.udemy.com and some other variations. Competitors may adopt service names or domain names similar to ours, thereby harming our ability to build brand identity and possibly leading to user confusion. In addition, our registered or unregistered trademarks or trade names could be declared generic, and there could be potential trade name or trademark infringement claims brought by owners of other trademarks that are similar to our trademarks. If our trademarks and trade names are not adequately protected, then we may not be able to build and maintain name recognition in our markets of interest and our business may be adversely affected. Effective trademark protection may not be available or may not be sought in every country in which our products are made available, in every class of goods and services in which we operate, and contractual disputes may affect the use of marks governed by private contract. Further, we hold a small number of issued patents and thus have a limited ability to exclude or prevent our competitors from implementing technology, methods, and processes similar to our own. Litigation or proceedings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or other governmental authorities and administrative bodies in the United States and abroad may be necessary in the future to enforce our intellectual property rights and to determine the validity and scope of our rights and the proprietary rights of others. Further, we may not timely or successfully apply for a patent or register its trademarks or otherwise secure rights in our intellectual property. We expect to continue to expand internationally and, in some foreign countries, the mechanisms to establish and enforce intellectual property rights may be inadequate to protect our technology, which could harm our business.
It is our policy to enter into confidentiality and invention assignment agreements with our employees and consultants and enter into confidentiality agreements with the parties with whom we have strategic relationships. No assurance can be given that these agreements will be effective in controlling access to our proprietary information and trade secrets. The confidentiality agreements on which we rely to protect certain technologies may be breached, may not be adequate to protect our confidential information, trade secrets, and proprietary technologies, and may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized use or disclosure of our confidential information, trade secrets, or proprietary technology. Further, these agreements do not prevent our competitors or others from independently developing products that are substantially equivalent or superior to ours. In addition, others may independently discover our trade secrets and confidential information, and in such cases we may not be able to assert any trade secret rights against such parties. Additionally, we may from time to time be subject to opposition or similar proceedings with respect to applications for registrations of our intellectual property, including trademarks. While we aim to acquire adequate protection of our brand through trademark registrations in key markets, occasionally third parties may have already registered or otherwise acquired rights to identical or similar marks for services that also address our market. We rely on our brand and trademarks to identify our platform and to differentiate our platform and services from those of our competitors, and if we are unable to adequately protect our trademarks, third parties may use our brand names or trademarks similar to ours in a manner that may cause confusion in the market, which could decrease the value of our brand and adversely affect our business and competitive advantages.
Our intellectual property rights and the enforcement or defense of such rights may be affected by developments or uncertainty in laws and regulations relating to intellectual property rights. Moreover, many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in foreign jurisdictions. The legal systems of certain countries, particularly certain developing countries, do not favor the enforcement of patents, trade secrets, and other intellectual property protection, which could make it difficult for us to stop the infringement, misappropriation, or other violation of our intellectual property or marketing of competing products in violation of our intellectual property rights generally.
Policing unauthorized use of our intellectual property and misappropriation of our technology and trade secrets is difficult and we may not always be aware of such unauthorized use or misappropriation. Despite our efforts to protect our intellectual property rights, unauthorized third parties may attempt to use, copy, or otherwise obtain and market or distribute our technology or otherwise develop services with the same or similar functionality as our platform. If our competitors infringe, misappropriate, or otherwise violate our intellectual property rights and we are not adequately protected, or if our competitors are able to develop a platform with the same or similar functionality as ours without infringing our intellectual property, our competitive advantage and results of operations could be harmed. Litigation brought to protect and enforce our intellectual property rights could be costly, time consuming, and distracting to management and could result in the impairment or loss of portions of our intellectual property. As a result, we may be aware of infringement by our competitors but may choose not to bring litigation to protect our intellectual property rights due to the cost, time, and distraction of bringing such litigation. Furthermore, if we do decide to bring litigation, our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights may be met with defenses, counterclaims, and countersuits challenging or opposing our right to use and otherwise exploit particular intellectual property, services, and technology or the enforceability of our intellectual property rights. Our inability to protect our proprietary technology against unauthorized copying or use, as well as any costly litigation or diversion of our management’s attention and resources, could delay further sales or the implementation of our solutions, impair the functionality of our platform, prevent or delay introductions of new or enhanced solutions, result in us substituting inferior or more costly technologies into our platform, or injure our reputation. Furthermore, many of our current and potential competitors may have the ability to dedicate substantially greater resources to developing and protecting their technology or intellectual property rights than we do.
Intellectual property litigation, including litigation related to content available on our platform, could result in significant costs and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and reputation.
Any claims successfully brought against us could subject us to significant liability for damages and we may be required to stop using technology or other intellectual property alleged to be in violation of a third party’s rights. We also might be required to seek a license for third-party intellectual property. Even if a license is available, we could be required to pay significant royalties or submit to unreasonable terms, which would increase our operating expenses. We may also be required to develop alternative non-infringing technology, which could require significant time and expense. If we cannot license or develop technology for any allegedly infringing aspect of our business, we would be forced to limit our service and may be unable to compete effectively. Any of these results could harm our business.
Our platform contains third-party open source software components, and failure to comply with the terms of the underlying open source software licenses could restrict our ability to provide our platform.
We use open source software in our platform and expect to continue to use open source software in the future. In addition, we contribute software source code to open source projects under open source licenses or release internal software projects under open source licenses and anticipate continuing to do so in the future. Additionally, under some open source licenses, if we combine our proprietary software with open source software in a certain manner, certain proprietary software (including our own software) or other intellectual property rights could become subject to obligations to be disclosed in source code form and licensed, including for the purpose of enabling further modification and distribution, and at no charge or for only a nominal fee. Third parties may also seek to enforce the terms of the applicable open source license through litigation which, if successful, could subject us to liability and require us to make our proprietary software source code available under an open source license, seek to purchase a license (which, if available, could be costly), and cease offering the implicated products or services unless and until we can re-engineer them to avoid infringement. This re-engineering process could require significant additional research and development resources, and we may not be able to complete it successfully. Many of the terms of many open source licenses to which we are subject have not been interpreted by U.S. or foreign courts, and there is a risk that open source software licenses could be construed in a manner that imposes unanticipated conditions or restrictions on our ability to provide or distribute our products or services. While we try to insulate our proprietary code from the effects of such open source license provisions, we cannot guarantee that we will be successful, that all open source software is reviewed prior to use in our products, that our developers have not incorporated open source software into our products in potentially disruptive ways, or that they will not do so in the future. In addition to risks related to open source license requirements, use of certain open source software may pose greater risks than use of third-party commercial software, since open source licensors generally do not provide warranties or controls on the origin of software. Any of these risks could be difficult to eliminate or manage, and, if not addressed, could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Risks related to financial reporting, taxation, and operations as a public company
If we fail to maintain an effective system of disclosure controls and internal control over financial reporting, our ability to produce timely and accurate financial statements or comply with applicable regulations could be impaired, which may adversely affect investor confidence in us and, as a result, lead to a decline in the market price of our common stock.
As a public company, we are required to comply with the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (the “Sarbanes-Oxley Act”), and the rules and regulations of Nasdaq. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, among other things, requires that we maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting. We are continuing to develop and refine our disclosure controls and other procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by us in the reports that we will file with the SEC is recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified in SEC rules and forms and that information required to be disclosed in reports under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to our management, including our principal executive and financial officers.
Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, we are required to make a formal assessment of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. As an “emerging growth company”, we availed ourselves of an exemption from the requirement that our independent registered public accounting firm attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. However, we may no longer avail ourselves of this exemption since we ceased to be an “emerging growth company” on December 31, 2022. As a result, our independent registered public accounting firm is required to undertake an assessment of our internal control over financial reporting and the cost of our compliance with Section 404 will continue to divert resources and take significant time and effort. Moreover, we may be unable to successfully complete all the procedures, certifications and attestation requirements of Section 404 in a timely manner. In addition, if we are unable to continue to meet these requirements, we may not be able to remain listed on Nasdaq. Our current controls and any new controls that we develop may become inadequate because of changes in conditions in our business. Moreover, our testing, or the subsequent testing by our independent registered public accounting firm, may reveal additional deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting that are deemed to be material weaknesses.
Any failure to implement and maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting, including the identification of one or more material weaknesses, could cause investors to lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial statements and reports, which would likely adversely affect the market price of our common stock. In addition, we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by Nasdaq, the SEC, and other regulatory authorities.
Operating as a public company requires us to incur substantial costs and administrative burdens, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
As a public company, we incur substantial legal, accounting, administrative, and other costs and expenses that we did not incur as a private company. As a public company, we are subject to additional reporting and other obligations, such as the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, the applicable requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the applicable listing standards of Nasdaq. For example, the Exchange Act requires, among other things, we file annual, quarterly, and current reports with respect to our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Compliance with these rules and regulations will increase our legal and financial compliance costs and increase demand on our systems. In addition, we ceased to be an “emerging growth company” on December 31, 2022 and are no longer eligible for reduced disclosure requirements and exemptions applicable to “emerging growth companies”. We expect our loss of “emerging growth company” status will require additional attention from management and will result in increased costs to us, which could include higher legal fees, accounting fees and fees associated with investor relations activities, among others. As a public company, we may also be subject to stockholder activism, which can lead to additional substantial costs, distract management, and impact the manner in which we operate our business in ways we cannot currently anticipate. Our business and financial condition will become more visible as a result of our reporting obligations as a public company, which may result in threatened or actual litigation, including by competitors.
Many members of our management team have limited experience managing a publicly traded company, interacting with public company investors, and complying with the increasingly complex laws pertaining to public companies, and certain members joined us more recently. Our management team may not successfully or efficiently manage our transition to being a public company subject to significant regulatory oversight and reporting obligations under the federal securities laws and the continuous scrutiny of securities analysts and investors. These new obligations and constituents will require significant attention from our senior management and could divert their attention away from the day-to-day management of our business, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Unanticipated changes in our effective tax rate and additional tax liabilities, including as a result of our international operations or implementation of new tax rules, could harm our future results of operations.
We are subject to income taxes in the United States and certain foreign jurisdictions, including Australia, Brazil, India, Ireland, Japan, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Our effective tax rate could be subject to volatility or adversely affected by several factors, many of which are outside of our control, including changes in the mix of earnings and losses in countries with differing statutory tax rates, changes in tax laws, rates, treaties, and regulations or the interpretation of the same, changes to the financial accounting rules for income taxes, the outcome of current and future tax audits, examinations or administrative appeals, certain non-deductible expenses, any decision to repatriate non-U.S. earnings for which we have not previously provided for taxes and the valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities. Increases in our effective tax rate would reduce profitability or increase losses. In addition, we are subject to complex transfer pricing regulations administered by taxing authorities in various jurisdictions. Changes in tax and trade laws, treaties, or regulations, or their interpretation or enforcement, have become more unpredictable and may become more stringent, which could have a material adverse effect on our tax position. We made significant judgments and assumptions in the interpretation of new laws and in our calculations reflected in our financial statements.
As we expand the scale of our international business activities, any changes in the United States or foreign taxation of such activities may increase our worldwide effective tax rate and harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
On an ongoing basis, we are subject to examination by federal, state, local, and foreign tax authorities on income, employment, sales, and other tax matters. While we regularly assess the likelihood of adverse outcomes from such examinations and the adequacy of our provision for taxes, there can be no assurance that such provision is sufficient and that a determination by a tax authority would not have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. We believe our income, employment, and transactional tax liabilities are reasonably estimated and accounted for in accordance with applicable laws and principles, but an adverse resolution of one or more uncertain tax positions in any period could have a material impact on the results of operations for that period. Certain risks relating to employment and sales taxes are described in more detail under Note 9 (“Accrued expenses and other current liabilities”).
The United States recently enacted the Inflation Reduction Act, which imposes a 1% excise tax on certain stock repurchases and a 15% alternative minimum tax on adjusted financial statement income. Proposed legislation before Congress may make changes to the U.S. tax law, which may include reduced benefits related to the taxation of foreign income. Many countries and organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development are also actively considering changes to existing tax laws or have proposed or enacted new laws, such as those relating to digital tax and a 15% global minimum tax, that may increase our tax obligations in countries where we do business or cause us to change the way we operate our business. Any of these developments or changes in federal, state, or international tax laws or tax rulings could adversely affect our effective tax rate and our operating results.
Taxing authorities may successfully assert that we have not properly collected or remitted, or in the future should collect or remit, sales and use, gross receipts, value added, or similar taxes, or employment, payroll, or withholding taxes, and may successfully impose additional obligations on us, and any such assessments, obligations, or inaccuracies could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
The application of non-income, or indirect, taxes, such as sales and use tax, value-added tax, goods and services tax, business tax, and gross receipt tax, to businesses like ours is a complex and evolving issue. Significant judgment is required on an ongoing basis to evaluate applicable tax obligations, and as a result, amounts recorded are estimates and are subject to adjustments. In many cases, the ultimate tax determination is uncertain because it is not clear how new and existing statutes might apply to our business. In addition, governments are increasingly looking for ways to increase revenue, which has resulted in discussions about tax reform and other legislative action to increase tax revenue, including through indirect taxes. Such taxes could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to indirect taxes, such as sales, use, value-added, and goods and services taxes, in the United States and other foreign jurisdictions, and we do not collect and remit indirect taxes in all jurisdictions in which we operate on the basis that such indirect taxes are not applicable to us. Certain jurisdictions in which we do not collect and remit such taxes may assert that such taxes are applicable, which could result in tax assessments, including penalties and interest, and we may be required to collect such taxes in the future. A successful assertion by one or more tax authorities requiring us to collect taxes in jurisdictions in which we do not currently do so or to collect additional taxes in a jurisdiction in which we currently collect taxes could result in substantial tax liabilities, including taxes on past sales, as well as penalties and interest, could discourage learners, instructors, or organizations from using our platform, could increase the cost for consumers using our platform, or could otherwise harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Further, even where we are collecting taxes and remitting them to the appropriate authorities, we may fail to accurately calculate, collect, report, and remit such taxes.
Additionally, one or more states, localities, or other taxing jurisdictions may seek to impose additional reporting, record-keeping, or indirect tax collection obligations on businesses like ours. For example, taxing authorities in the United States and other countries have identified e-commerce platforms as a means to calculate, collect, and remit indirect taxes for transactions taking place over the internet, and are considering related legislation. After the U.S. Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc., certain states have enacted laws that would require tax reporting, collection, or tax remittance on items sold online, even where the online seller lacks a physical presence or nexus in that state. Requiring tax reporting or collection could decrease learner or instructor activity, which would harm our business. These state laws could require us to incur substantial costs in order to comply, including costs associated with tax calculation, collection, and remittance and audit requirements, which could make our offerings less attractive and could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Also, tax rules of certain countries, including the United States, generally require payors to report payments to unrelated parties to the applicable taxing authority and to withhold a percentage of certain amounts and remit such amounts to the applicable taxing authority. Failure to comply with such reporting and withholding obligations with respect to payments we make to our instructors could result in the imposition of liabilities for the under withheld amounts, fines, and penalties. In addition, a tax authority could assert that we should be withholding employment or other taxes from payments to instructors. In 2020, we began approaching the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”), to address our historical withholding amounts for instructors. Due to our large number of instructors and the amounts paid to each, process failures with respect to these reporting obligations could result in financial liability and other consequences to us if we were unable to remedy such failures in a timely manner.
As a result of these and other factors, the ultimate amount of tax obligations owed may differ from the amounts recorded in our financial statements and any such difference may adversely affect our results of operations in future periods in which we change our estimates of our tax obligations or in which the ultimate tax outcome is determined.
Our ability to use our net operating loss carryforwards and certain other tax attributes may be limited.
We have incurred net operating losses (“NOLs”) since our inception, and we expect to continue to incur net losses in the near future. As such, there is a risk that our existing NOLs could expire unused and be unavailable to offset future income tax liabilities if we do not achieve profitability. This may require us to pay federal income taxes in future years even if our NOLs were otherwise sufficient to offset our federal taxable income in such years. There is also a risk that due to regulatory and economic changes, such as suspensions on the use of NOLs, or other unforeseen reasons, our existing NOLs could expire or otherwise be unavailable to offset future income tax liabilities. Our NOLs may similarly expire under state laws. We have recorded a full valuation allowance related to our NOLs and other deferred tax assets due to the uncertainty of the realization of the future benefits of these assets. If our NOLs and other tax attributes expire before utilization or are subject to limitations, our business and financial results could be harmed.
In addition, under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), if a corporation undergoes an “ownership change,” the corporation’s ability to use its pre-change NOLs and federal tax credit carryforwards to offset its post-change taxable income, or reduce its federal income tax liability, may be limited. In general, an “ownership change” occurs when there is a cumulative change in our equity ownership by “5 percent shareholders” that exceeds 50 percentage points over a rolling three-year period. Certain of our gross U.S. federal NOLs are subject to this limitation as a result of these ownership changes, and if it is determined that we have in the past experienced additional ownership changes, including as a result of our IPO, future transactions in our stock, some of which are outside our control, or both, our ability to use our NOLs and federal tax credit carryforwards to reduce future taxable income and tax liabilities may be further limited. Similar limitations may apply under state tax laws.
Our results of operations, which we report in U.S. dollars, could be adversely affected if currency exchange rates fluctuate substantially in the future.
We conduct our business across more than 180 countries around the world. As we continue to expand our international operations, we will become more exposed to the effects of fluctuations in currency exchange rates. This exposure is the result of selling in multiple currencies and operating in foreign countries where the functional currency is the local currency. During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, 32% of our sales were denominated in currencies other than U.S. dollars, including euros, Indian rupees, British pounds sterling, Brazilian reais, and Japanese yen. Our expenses, by contrast, are primarily denominated in U.S. dollars. As a result, any increase in the value of the U.S. dollar against these foreign currencies may cause our revenue to decline relative to our costs, thereby decreasing our gross margins. For example, the euro, British pound sterling and Japanese yen have all recently experienced declines in value against the U.S. dollar, which has negatively affected our results of operations during the year ended December 31, 2022 and could continue to negatively impact our results of operations in future periods. Because we conduct business in currencies other than U.S. dollars, but report our results of operations in U.S. dollars, we also face remeasurement exposure to fluctuations in currency exchange rates, which could hinder our ability to predict our future results and earnings and could materially impact our results of operations. We do not currently maintain a program to hedge exposures to non-U.S. dollar currencies.
We could be adversely impacted by the effects of inflation.
Certain of our key markets, including the United States, are experiencing historically high rates of inflation, resulting from a number of macroeconomic and geopolitical factors, including supply chain constraints and rising oil and natural gas prices. Our operating costs have increased and may continue to increase due to rising inflation and as a result we may be required to take measures to respond to the impact of inflation. Among other things, we could be required to change our pricing model to offset inflationary pressures on our operating costs, but doing so could adversely affect customer acquisition and retention, negatively impacting our long-term growth, and could impair our competitive position if our competitors choose to absorb the cost of inflation. Alternatively, if we choose to absorb the cost of inflation to prioritize growth, our financial condition and results of operations may be negatively impacted as a result. Moreover, our instructors may independently make pricing decisions with respect to the courses they offer on our platform as a result of inflationary pressures, and any price increase could negatively impact the attractiveness of our marketplace to learners. Inflation has also contributed to higher interest rates, which may make it more difficult for us to raise capital on acceptable terms, should we choose to pursue additional financing in the future.
In any case, there can be no assurance that any measures we take to mitigate or address the impact of inflation will be effective. Even if such mitigatory measures are effective, there could be a difference between the timing of when these beneficial actions impact our results of operations and when the cost of inflation is incurred.
Any failure to successfully manage the impact of inflation on our business in a timely manner could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Our reported financial results may be adversely affected by changes in generally accepted accounting principles.
Generally accepted accounting principles are subject to interpretation by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the SEC, and various bodies formed to promulgate and interpret appropriate accounting principles. A change in these principles or interpretations could have a significant effect on our reported results of operations and could affect the reporting of transactions completed before the announcement of a change. It is difficult to predict the impact of future changes to accounting principles or our accounting policies, any of which could negatively affect our reported results of operations.
Risks related to ownership of our common stock
The trading price of our common stock may be volatile, and you could lose all or part of your investment.
The market price of our common stock has, and may continue to, fluctuate substantially depending on a number of factors, including those described in this “Risk Factors” section, many of which are beyond our control and may not be related to our operating performance. These fluctuations could cause you to lose all or part of your investment in our common stock. Factors that could cause fluctuations in the trading price of our common stock include the following:
•price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market from time to time;
•volatility in the trading prices and trading volumes of technology stocks;
•changes in operating performance and stock market valuations of other technology companies generally, or those in our industry in particular;
•sales of shares of our common stock by us or our stockholders;
•failure of securities analysts to maintain coverage of us, changes in financial estimates by securities analysts who follow our company, or our failure to meet these estimates or the expectations of investors;
•the financial projections we may provide to the public, any changes in those projections, or our failure to meet those projections;
•announcements by us or our competitors of new services or platform features;
•the public’s reaction to our press releases, other public announcements, and filings with the SEC;
•rumors and market speculation involving us or other companies in our industry;
•actual or anticipated changes in our results of operations or fluctuations in our results of operations;
•actual or anticipated developments in our business, our competitors’ businesses, or the competitive landscape generally;
•litigation involving us, our industry or both, or investigations by regulators into our operations or those of our competitors;
•actual or perceived privacy or security breaches or other incidents;
•developments or disputes concerning our intellectual property or other proprietary rights;
•announced or completed acquisitions of businesses, services, or technologies by us or our competitors;
•new laws or regulations or new interpretations of existing laws or regulations applicable to our business;
•changes in accounting standards, policies, guidelines, interpretations, or principles;
•any significant change in our management;
•general economic conditions and slow or negative growth of our markets; and
•other events or factors, including those resulting from wars and other armed conflicts, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, incidents of terrorism, natural disasters, public health concerns or epidemics, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, or responses to these events.
In addition, in the past, following periods of volatility in the overall market and the market price of a particular company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been instituted against these companies. This litigation, if instituted against us, could result in substantial costs and a diversion of our management’s attention and resources.
Future sales of our common stock could depress the market price of our common stock.
The market price of our common stock could decline as a result of substantial sales of our common stock, particularly sales by our directors, executive officers, and significant stockholders, a large number of shares of our common stock becoming available for sale, or the perception in the market that such sales could occur.
Certain holders of our common stock are entitled to rights with respect to the registration of their shares under the Securities Act under our investors’ rights agreement. Registration of these shares under the Securities Act would result in the shares becoming freely tradable without restriction under the Securities Act, except for shares held by our affiliates as defined in Rule 144 under the Securities Act, which are subject to the limitations of Rule 144. Sales of our securities or the perception that such sales could occur pursuant to these registration rights may make it more difficult for us to issue and sell securities in the future at a time and at a price that we deem appropriate. These sales could also adversely affect the trading price of our common stock and make it more difficult for you to sell shares of our common stock.
Future issuances of our common stock or rights to purchase common stock could result in additional dilution to our stockholders and cause the price of our common stock to decline.
We may issue additional common stock, convertible securities, or other equity from time to time. We also expect to issue common stock to our employees, directors, and other service providers pursuant to our equity incentive plans. Such issuances will be dilutive to investors and could cause the price of our common stock to decline. New investors in such issuances could also receive rights senior to those of holders of our common stock.
If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about us, our business or our industry, or if they change their recommendation regarding our common stock adversely, the market price and trading volume of our common stock could decline.
The trading market for our common stock will depend in part on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us, our business, our market, or our competitors. The analysts’ estimates are based upon their own opinions and are often different from our estimates or expectations. If any of the analysts who cover us change their recommendation regarding our common stock adversely, provide more favorable relative recommendations about our competitors, or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the price of our securities would likely decline. If few securities analysts commence coverage of us, or if one or more of these analysts cease coverage of us or fail to publish reports on us regularly, we could lose visibility in the financial markets and demand for our securities could decrease, which could cause the price and trading volume of our common stock to decline.
We do not expect to pay dividends in the foreseeable future.
We have never declared nor paid cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain any future earnings to finance the operation and expansion of our business, and we do not anticipate declaring or paying any dividends to holders of our capital stock in the foreseeable future. Consequently, stockholders must rely on sales of their shares of our common stock after price appreciation, which may never occur, as the only way to realize any future gains on their investment.
Our directors, executive officers, and principal stockholders beneficially own a substantial percentage of our common stock and are able to exert significant control over matters subject to stockholder approval.
As of December 31, 2022, our directors, executive officers, and holders of more than 5% of our outstanding common stock, together with their respective affiliates, beneficially owned shares representing approximately 48% of our outstanding common stock. As a result, these stockholders, if they act together, will be able to influence our management and affairs and all matters requiring stockholder approval, including the election of directors and approval of significant corporate transactions. This concentration of ownership may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control of our company and might affect the market price of our common stock.
Delaware law and provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws might delay, discourage or prevent a merger, tender offer or proxy contest, thereby depressing the market price of our common stock.
Our status as a Delaware corporation and the anti-takeover provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”), may discourage, delay or prevent a change in control by prohibiting us from engaging in a business combination with an interested stockholder for a period of three years after the date of the transaction in which the person became an interested stockholder, even if a change of control would be beneficial to our existing stockholders. In addition, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws contain provisions that may make any acquisition of our company more difficult or delay or prevent changes in control of our management. Among other things, these provisions:
•provide that our board of directors is expressly authorized to make, alter or repeal our bylaws;
•authorize our board of directors to issue shares of preferred stock and determine the price and other terms of those shares, including preferences and voting rights, without stockholder approval;
•provide that the authorized number of directors may be changed only by resolution of the board of directors;
•provide that all vacancies on our board of directors and all newly created directorships may only be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of directors then in office, even if less than a quorum, or by a sole remaining director, except as otherwise required by law, our governing documents or resolution of our board of directors, and subject to the rights of the holders of our preferred stock;
•establish that our board of directors is divided into three classes, with each class serving staggered three-year terms;
•provide that a director may only be removed from the board of directors by the stockholders for cause and only by the affirmative vote of the holders of at least a majority of the voting power of the issued and outstanding capital stock entitled to vote in the election of directors;
•prohibit cumulative voting (therefore allowing the holders of a plurality of the shares of common stock entitled to vote in any election of directors to elect all of the directors standing for election, if they should so choose);
•require that any action to be taken by our stockholders must be effected at a duly called annual or special meeting of stockholders and not be taken by written consent;
•require that stockholders give advance notice to nominate directors or submit proposals for consideration at stockholder meetings;
•provide that special meetings of our stockholders may be called only by the board of directors acting pursuant to a resolution adopted by the majority of the entire board of directors, the Chairperson of the board of directors, our Chief Executive Officer or our President;
•provide that, unless we otherwise consent in writing, a state or federal court located within the State of Delaware shall be the sole and exclusive forum for (1) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (2) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers or other employees to us or our stockholders, (3) any action asserting a claim against us arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, and our amended and restated bylaws, or (4) any action asserting a claim against us governed by the internal affairs doctrine;
•provide that the federal district courts of the United States of America will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act; and
•require a super-majority vote of stockholders to amend some of the provisions described above.
These provisions, alone or together, could delay, discourage, or prevent a transaction involving a change in control of our company. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for stockholders to elect directors of their choosing and to cause us to take other corporate actions they desire, any of which, under certain circumstances, could limit the opportunity for our stockholders to receive a premium for their shares of our common stock and could also affect the price that some investors are willing to pay for our common stock.
Our amended and restated bylaws provide, to the fullest extent permitted by law, that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware and the federal district courts of the United States are the exclusive forum for substantially all disputes between us and our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to choose the judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, stockholders, or employees and, in turn, discourage lawsuits against our directors, officers, or employees.
Our amended and restated bylaws provide that, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law and unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (or, if the Court of Chancery does not have jurisdiction, another state court in Delaware or the federal district court for the District of Delaware) will be the sole and exclusive forum for any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf; any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, stockholders, officers, or other employees to us or our stockholders; any action arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL, our certificate of incorporation, or our bylaws; and any other action asserting a claim that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine. This exclusive forum provision would not apply to any action brought to enforce a duty or liability created by the Exchange Act or any other claim for which the federal courts of the United States have exclusive jurisdiction.
Our amended and restated bylaws also provide that, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law and unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the federal district courts of the United States will be the sole and exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act against any person in connection with any offering of our securities. The enforceability of similar exclusive federal forum provisions in other companies’ organizational documents has been challenged in legal proceedings, and while the Delaware Supreme Court and certain other state courts have ruled that this type of exclusive federal forum provision is facially valid under Delaware law, there is uncertainty as to whether other courts would enforce such provisions and that investors cannot waive compliance with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder. This exclusive federal forum provision would not apply to suits brought to enforce a duty or liability created by the Exchange Act or any other claim for which the federal courts of the United States have exclusive jurisdiction.
These exclusive forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum of its choosing for disputes with us or our current or former directors, officers, stockholders, or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and our current and former directors, officers, stockholders, and other employees. Alternatively, if a court were to find either exclusive forum provision in our amended and restated bylaws to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur further significant additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Item 1B. Unresolved staff comments
Item 2. Properties
Our corporate headquarters, consisting of approximately 59,000 square feet of office space in San Francisco, California, is leased through 2024, with an option to extend until 2029. We also lease additional office space in locations around the world, including Mountain View, California; Denver, Colorado; Ankara, Turkey; and Dublin, Ireland. We also maintain co-working or other short-term office spaces in Austin, Texas; Melbourne, Australia; Gurugram, India; and Istanbul, Turkey through co-working leases or similar arrangements. We believe that our facilities are suitable to meet our current needs. We also anticipate that suitable additional or alternative space will be available at commercially reasonable terms for future expansion.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
From time to time, we are involved in legal proceedings and subject to claims that arise in the ordinary course of our business. Although the results of legal proceedings and claims cannot be predicted with certainty, we believe we are not currently party to any legal proceedings which, if determined adversely to us, would individually or taken together have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results or financial condition.
California class action complaint
On August 23, 2021, a putative class action complaint captioned Williams v. Udemy, Inc., Case No. 3:21-CV-06489, was filed against us in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleging violations of California’s unfair competition and false advertising statutes as well as the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act in connection with our pricing practices. The complaint sought injunctive relief, unspecified damages, restitution and disgorgement of profits. On December 13, 2022, the parties entered into a definitive settlement agreement for an immaterial amount.
Other legal proceedings
We are subject to other legal proceedings and claims that arise in the ordinary course of business from time to time, as well as governmental and other regulatory investigations and proceedings. In addition, third parties may from time to time assert claims against us in the form of letters and other communications. We are not currently a party to any legal proceedings that, if determined adversely to us, would, in our opinion, have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows. Future litigation may be necessary to defend ourselves and our business partners and to determine the scope, enforceability, and validity of third-party proprietary rights, or to establish our proprietary rights. The results of any current or future litigation cannot be predicted with certainty, and regardless of the outcome, litigation can have an adverse impact on us because of defense and settlement costs, diversion of management resources, and other factors.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Item 5. Market for registrant's common equity, related stockholder matters and issuer purchases of equity securities
Market information for common stock
Our common stock is traded on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange under the symbol “UDMY”. Trading of our common stock commenced on October 29, 2021 in connection with our initial public offering.
Use of proceeds
Our initial public offering of our common stock was affected pursuant to a registration statement on Form S-1 (File No. 333-260042), which was declared effective by the SEC on October 28, 2021.
There has been no material change in the planned use of proceeds from our IPO as described in our final prospectus dated as of October 28, 2021 and filed with the SEC pursuant to Rule 424(b)(4) on October 29, 2021.
We have never paid any cash dividends on our common stock. Our board of directors currently intends to retain any future earnings to support operations and to finance the growth and development of our business and does not intend to pay cash dividends on our common stock for the foreseeable future. Any future determination related to our dividend policy will be made at the discretion of our board of directors.
As of December 31, 2022, there were 40 registered stockholders of record of our common stock. The actual number of stockholders is greater than this number of record holders and includes stockholders who are beneficial owners but whose shares are held in street name by brokers and other nominees.
Recent sales of unregistered equity securities
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Securities authorized for issuance under equity compensation plans
Refer to Item 8, Note 14 (“Stockholders’ equity”) for information on securities authorized for issuance.
Stock performance graph
The following shall not be deemed “filed” for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), or incorporated by reference into any of our other filings under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Exchange Act, except as shall be expressly set forth by specific reference in such filing.
The graph below compares the cumulative total stockholder return on our common stock with the cumulative total return on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ("S&P 500 Index") and the Nasdaq Computer Index (“Nasdaq Computer Index”) since our IPO on October 29, 2021 through December 31, 2022, assuming an initial investment of $100. Data for the S&P 500 Index and Nasdaq Computer Index assumes reinvestment of dividends.
The graph below uses the closing market price on October 29, 2021 of $27.50 per share as the initial value of our common stock. The comparisons below are based upon historical data and are not indicative of, nor intended to forecast, future performance of our common stock.
|October 29, 2021||December 31, 2021||March 31, 2022||June 30, 2022||September 30, 2022||December 31, 2022|
|Udemy||$||100.00 ||$||71.05 ||$||45.31 ||$||37.13 ||$||43.96 ||$||38.36 |
|S&P 500 Index||$||100.00 ||$||103.76 ||$||98.37 ||$||82.19 ||$||77.86 ||$||83.37 |
|Nasdaq Computer||$||100.00 ||$||105.56 ||$||95.23 ||$||73.55 ||$||67.80 ||$||67.79 |
Item 6. [Reserved]
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Form 10-K. In addition to historical consolidated financial information, the following discussion contains forward-looking statements that reflect our plans, estimates, and beliefs. Our actual results could differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. You should review the sections titled “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” for a discussion of forward-looking statements and in Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors” for a discussion of factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results described in or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in the following discussion and analysis and elsewhere in this Form 10-K.
A discussion regarding our financial condition and results of operations for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 compared to the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021 is presented below. A discussion regarding our financial condition and results of operations for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021 compared to the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 can be found in “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in our prior year Form 10-K, which was originally filed with the SEC on March 25, 2022.
Our mission is to improve lives through learning.
We believe traditional education and training methods are fast becoming outdated. Technological advancements and novel industries have significantly altered the types of skills required of workers, and lifelong training and continuous skills acquisition are becoming the norm. There is a clear need to expand access to learning across traditional barriers such as geography and social demographics. Our online platform empowers organizations and individuals with flexible and effective skill acquisition and development, connecting global learners with relevant and up-to-date knowledge from experts and practitioners around the world.
Udemy’s consumer marketplace has attracted 59 million learners in over 180 countries who are looking for the knowledge and skills they need to attain in-demand jobs, further their career, and improve their well-being. We curate the highest-quality content from our marketplace for Udemy’s enterprise SaaS platform, Udemy Business, which enables companies around the world to offer effective on-demand learning for employees, immersive laboratory-style learning for tech teams, and cohort-based learning focused on leadership development. Our network of over 70,000 instructors have created over 200,000 courses in nearly 75 languages that cover a wide range of topics, including technology, business, soft skills, and personal development.
In February 2023, in response to current macroeconomic conditions and to further streamline our operations and cost structure, we enacted a plan to reduce our global workforce by approximately 10%. As a result, we expect to recognize restructuring charges of $9.0 million to $11.0 million in the first quarter of 2023, primarily consisting of personnel expenses such as salaries and wages, one-time severance payments, and other benefits, as well as stock-based compensation expense. Cash payments related to these expenses will occur primarily in the first and second quarters of 2023.
Key factors impacting our performance
We believe that the growth of our business and our future success are dependent upon many factors. While each of these factors presents significant opportunities for us, these factors also pose challenges that we must successfully address in order to sustain the growth of our business and enhance our results of operations.
Ability to attract and engage new learners and Udemy Business customers
To grow our business, we must attract new learners and UB customers efficiently and increase engagement on our platform over time. We acquire a substantial portion of our learners via organic channels and also use paid marketing to further enhance the growth of our learner base. Our organic channels include those outside of our paid market efforts, such as a Udemy brand name internet search. Once we bring new learners onto our platform, we work to create a best-in-class experience to encourage engagement and drive learning and career outcomes.
Ability to retain and expand our existing learner and customer relationships
Our business and results of operations will depend on our ability to continue to drive higher usage of our platform within our existing customer base and our ability to add new customers.
Our efforts to grow our existing relationships with our consumer learners are focused on increasing their engagement and converting free learners into buyers. New learners to our platform typically begin to engage with our free courses, which serve as a funnel to grow our total learner base and drive referrals to our paid other offerings.
Our efforts to grow our UB offering are focused primarily on corporate and government customers. Historically, we have expanded from individual to department to multi-department to enterprise-wide sales as our value is proven. Building upon this success, we believe a significant opportunity exists for us to acquire new UB customers and expand our existing UB customers’ use of our platform by identifying new use cases and increasing the size of existing deployments.
We often enter into customized contractual arrangements with our UB customers in which we offer more favorable pricing terms in exchange for larger total contract values that accompany larger deployments. As we drive a greater portion of our revenue through our deployments with UB customers, we expect that our revenue will continue to grow significantly, but the price we charge UB customers per seat may decline, which could reduce margins in the future.
Ability to source in-demand content from our instructors
We believe that learners and UB customers are attracted to Udemy largely because of the high quality and wide selection of content our instructors offer. Continuing to source in-demand content and credentials from our instructors will be an important factor in attracting learners and UB customers and growing our revenue over time. When we offer content as part of the UB and consumer subscription offerings, our instructors agree to contribute such content exclusively through our platform, which we believe demonstrates our ability to increase the value of our platform through unique content.
Although we view the breadth and diverse expertise of our instructor base and the content they create as one of our competitive advantages, a significant portion of the most popular content on our platform, and as a result a significant portion of our revenue, is attributable to a limited number of our instructors. We experienced minimal turnover among top instructors during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022.
Impact of mix of Consumer and Enterprise segments
Our mix of business among our Consumer and Enterprise segments is shifting, and this shift will affect our financial performance. Content costs for our Enterprise segment are lower relative to our Consumer segment. The mix of customer acquisition methods in our Consumer segment will substantially impact our financial performance. We presently expect that revenue from our Enterprise segment will grow faster than our Consumer segment, which will be beneficial to our overall margins.
Ability to expand our international footprint
We currently generate a significant portion of our revenue outside North America. We see a significant opportunity to expand our offerings into regions with large underserved adult learning populations. We have invested, and plan to continue to invest, in personnel and marketing efforts to support our international growth and expand our international operations as part of our strategy to grow our customer and learner base, particularly among our UB customers. We also plan to continue investing in strategic partnerships that either extend our marketing reach or the capabilities and reach of our global go-to-market sales team.
Our investment in growth
We are actively investing in our business as we believe that we are only beginning to penetrate our market opportunity, and we intend to continue to invest in our future growth. We anticipate that our operating expenses will increase as we continue to build our sales and marketing efforts, expand our course catalog, develop our immersive learning capabilities, and invest in our technology development. Any investments we make in our sales and marketing organization, in encouraging the development of new content, and in expanding our platform offerings and capabilities, whether organically or through acquisitions, will occur in advance of the benefits from such investments, making it difficult to determine if we are efficiently allocating our resources in these areas.
Pace of adoption of cloud-based skill development solutions
Our ability to grow our learner base and drive market adoption of our platform is affected by the overall demand for cloud-based skill development solutions. The market for cloud-based skill development is less mature than the market for in-person, instructor-led-training, and potential customers may be slow or unwilling to migrate from these legacy approaches. We believe that as technology becomes increasingly critical to business operations, the need for cloud-based skill development solutions, particularly an integrated enterprise-grade platform such as ours, will increase, and our customer base and the breadth and deployment of usage in our customer base will also increase. However, it is difficult to predict customer adoption rates and demand, the future growth rate and size of the market for cloud-based skill development solutions, or the entry of competitive solutions.
Components of results of operations
We recognize revenue from contracts with paid consumer learners and UB customers by delivering access to our online learning platform.
Consumer revenue consists of individual course content purchases made by individual learners, as well as our consumer subscription offerings. Consumer revenue includes the gross transaction value paid by the learner at checkout, net of (a) actual and estimated refunds and (b) passthrough taxes collected from learners and remitted to governmental authorities. After a successful checkout, consumer learners receive a non-exclusive license to the digital course content in addition to stand-ready access to the Udemy platform hosting services needed to access the content. Access to the online content on the Udemy platform represents a series of distinct services as we continually provide access to and fulfill our hosting obligation to the learner. This series of distinct services represents a single performance obligation that is satisfied over time. Revenue from single course purchases is recognized ratably over the estimated service period, which is four months from the date of enrollment, while revenue from consumer subscriptions is recognized ratably over the contractual subscription term.
Enterprise revenue primarily relates to enterprise license subscription contracts with annual or multi-year subscription terms. Enterprise license subscriptions include Team Plan, Enterprise Plan, Udemy Business Pro, and Cohort Learning. Enterprise subscriptions are generally billed in advance on a quarterly or annual basis. Subscription revenue excludes any taxes to be remitted to governmental authorities. Access to the Udemy platform represents a series of distinct services as we continually provide access to course content and fulfill our obligation to the UB customer over the subscription term. Because the series of distinct services represents a single performance obligation that is satisfied over time, we recognize revenue ratably over the contractual subscription term. Enterprise revenue recognized from professional services were immaterial for the periods presented.
We are the principal with respect to revenue generated from sales to consumer and UB customers as we control the performance obligation and are the primary obligor with respect to delivering our customers access to the course content.
Cost of revenue
Cost of revenue primarily consists of content costs, which are the payments to our instructors. Content costs are driven by the means by which we acquired the learner consuming the content. For courses offered on Udemy’s consumer marketplace, instructors earn a specific percentage of the net sale amount when a learner purchases the instructor’s course. For courses offered through Udemy Business or a consumer subscription offering, instructors earn a pro-rata share of a monthly instructor payments pool for that subscription offering. Each month, Udemy calculates the revenue for each subscription offering, with a fixed percentage allocated as an instructor payments pool. Instructors whose content is included in the collection earn a prorated portion of this pool based on the number of minutes of consumption their courses achieved that month.
Content costs as a percentage of revenue for our UB and consumer subscription offerings are lower relative to individual course content purchases in our consumer offering. As a result, shifts in the mix between our two offerings is expected to be a significant driver of future changes in gross margin. Content costs are recorded as cost of revenue in the period earned by our instructors. For consumer single course purchases, content costs are incurred at the time of purchase. As consumer course content revenue is recognized ratably over an estimated service period of four months, consumer gross margins are lower in the period of purchase, and higher in the remaining periods of the estimated service period over which revenue is recognized. For our subscription based UB offering, content costs are incurred based on monthly subscription fees, and margins are more stable from period to period.
Cost of revenue also includes payment and mobile processing fees, costs associated with hosting digital content, employee related expenses for our customer support organization, including salaries, benefits, stock-based compensation, facilities and other expenses, depreciation of network equipment, amortization of capitalized software, amortization of vendor relationships and developed technologies acquired through business combinations, and the portion of fees paid to certain reseller partners attributable to their providing customer support services to UB customers. We expect cost of revenue to generally decrease as a percentage of revenue as we increase the percentage of revenue derived from our UB offering.
Operating expenses consist of research and development, sales and marketing, and general and administrative expenses. Personnel costs are the most significant component of our operating expenses and consist of salaries, benefits, bonuses, stock-based compensation, and commissions. Our operating expenses also include allocated costs of facilities, information technology, depreciation, and amortization. Although our operating expenses may fluctuate from period to period, we currently expect our operating expenses to increase in absolute dollars over time.
Sales and marketing
Our sales and marketing expenses consist primarily of personnel-related costs, including stock-based compensation, as well as marketing costs, costs related to customer and instructor acquisition, amortization of deferred contract costs, amortization of tradenames and customer relationships acquired through business combinations, and brand marketing. Sales and marketing expenses also consist of costs incurred for hosting and customer support services related to providing our platform to free learners. We expect sales and marketing expenses to increase in absolute dollars as our business grows. In addition, we expect sales and marketing expenses as a percentage of revenue to vary from period to period but generally decrease over the long term.
Research and development
Our research and development expenses consist primarily of personnel-related costs, including stock-based compensation, costs related to the ongoing management, maintenance, and expansion of features and services offered on our platform. Research and development costs also include contracted services, supplies, and other miscellaneous expenses. We believe that continued investment in our platform is important to our future growth and to maintain and attract learners to our platform. As a result, we expect research and development expenses to increase in absolute dollars. In addition, we expect research and development expenses as a percentage of revenue to vary from period to period but generally decrease over the long term.
General and administrative
Our general and administrative expenses consist primarily of personnel-related costs, including stock-based compensation, costs related to our executive, legal, finance, and human resources departments, as well as charges for indirect tax reserves, allowance for credit losses, professional fees, and other corporate expenses.
As a result of our IPO, we have incurred and expect to continue to incur additional expenses to operate as a public company, including costs to comply with the rules and regulations applicable to companies listed on a national securities exchange, costs related to compliance and reporting obligations, and increased expenses for insurance, investor relations, and professional services. We expect general and administrative expenses to increase in absolute dollars as our business grows. In addition, we expect general and administrative expenses as a percentage of revenue to vary from period to period but generally decrease over the long term.
Interest income (expense), net
Interest income consists primarily of interest income earned on our cash equivalents and short-term and long-term investments, including amortization of premiums and accretion of discounts related to our available-for-sale marketable securities, net of associated fees. Interest expense consists primarily of interest expense recorded related to certain indirect tax reserves. Interest income and interest expense were each immaterial for the periods presented.
Other income (expense), net
Other income (expense), net consists primarily of foreign currency transaction gains and losses, as well as changes in the valuation of strategic investments, if any.
Income tax provision
Our income tax provision consists primarily of income taxes in certain foreign jurisdictions in which we conduct business. We have a full valuation allowance against our U.S. federal and state deferred tax assets as the realization of the full amount of these deferred tax assets is uncertain, including net operating loss carryforwards and tax credits related primarily to research and development. The valuation allowance is driven by our overall loss position, and we will not be able to utilize any of these favorable tax attributes until we are in a taxable income position. When we begin to consistently operate in a taxable income position, we may release portions of the valuation allowance to recognize and use those tax attributes. Until then, we expect to maintain this full valuation allowance until it becomes more likely than not that the deferred tax assets will be realized.
Results of operations
The following table summarizes our results of operations for the periods presented. The results below are not necessarily indicative of results to be expected for future periods. Results are as follows (in thousands):
|Fiscal Year Ended December 31,|
|Revenue||$||629,097 ||$||515,657 ||$||429,899 |
|Cost of revenue (1)(2)||275,320 ||236,024 ||209,253 |
|Gross profit||353,777 ||279,633 ||220,646 |
|Operating expenses (1)(2)|
|Sales and marketing||301,347 ||227,023 ||192,600 |
|Research and development||104,556 ||66,107 ||50,643 |
|General and administrative||99,064 ||64,410 ||50,783 |
|Total operating expenses||504,967 ||357,540 ||294,026 |
|Loss from operations||(151,190)||(77,907)||(73,380)|
|Other income (expense)|
|Interest income (expense), net||4,297 ||(16)||(1,146)|
|Other income (expense), net||(4,696)||(920)||55 |
|Total other expense, net||(399)||(936)||(1,091)|
|Net loss before taxes||(151,589)||(78,843)||(74,471)|
|Income tax provision||(2,286)||(1,183)||(3,149)|
|Net loss attributable to common stockholders||$||(153,875)||$||(80,026)||$||(77,620)|
|Net loss per share attributable to common stockholders|
|Basic and diluted||$||(1.09)||$||(1.46)||$||(2.33)|
|Weighted-average shares used in computing net loss per share attributable to common stockholders|
|Basic and diluted||140,873,504 ||54,972,827 ||33,384,438 |
(1)Includes stock-based compensation expense as follows (in thousands):
|Fiscal Year Ended December 31,|
|Cost of revenue||$||5,360 ||$||1,623 ||$||418 |
|Sales and marketing||29,054 ||8,637 ||7,518 |
|Research and development||20,850 ||6,816 ||5,232 |
|General and administrative||26,029 ||17,604 ||18,450 |
|Total stock-based compensation expense||$||81,293 ||$||34,680 ||$||31,618 |
(2) Includes amortization of intangible assets as follows (in thousands):
|Fiscal Year Ended December 31,|
|Cost of revenue||$||2,900 ||$||1,022 ||$||— |
|Sales and marketing||1,366 ||481 ||— |
|Total amortization of intangible assets||$||4,266 ||$||1,503 ||$||— |
The following table summarizes our results of operations as a percentage of revenue for each of the periods indicated:
|Fiscal Year Ended December 31,|
|Revenue||100 ||%||100 ||%||100 ||%|
|Cost of revenue||44 ||46 ||49 |
|Gross profit||56 ||54 ||51 |
|Operating expenses |
|Sales and marketing||48 ||44 ||45 |
|Research and development||17 ||13 ||12 |
|General and administrative||15 ||12 ||11 |
|Total operating expenses||80 ||69 ||68 |
|Loss from operations||(24)||(15)||(17)|
|Other income (expense)|
|Interest income (expense), net||1 ||— ||— |
|Other income (expense), net||(1)||— ||— |
|Total other expense, net||— ||— ||— |
|Net loss before taxes||(24)||(15)||(17)|
|Income tax provision||— ||— ||(1)|
|Net loss attributable to common stockholders||(24)||%||(15)||%||(18)||%|
Comparison of the fiscal years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021
|Fiscal Year Ended December 31,||Change|
|Revenue||(in thousands, except percentages)|
|Consumer||$||315,059 ||$||328,703 ||$||(13,644)||(4)||%|
|Enterprise||314,038 ||186,954 ||127,084 ||68 ||%|
|Total revenue||$||629,097 ||$||515,657 ||$||113,440 ||22 ||%|
Revenue for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 was $629.1 million, compared to $515.7 million for the same period in the prior year, which represents an increase of $113.4 million, or 22%. For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, Consumer and Enterprise revenue were $315.1 million and $314.0 million, respectively, representing 50% and 50% of total revenue, respectively, compared to $328.7 million and $187.0 million, respectively, representing 64% and 36% of total revenue, respectively, for the same period in the prior year. The increase in revenue for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 was primarily driven by the significant growth in our UB customer base, which was partially offset by a decrease in Consumer revenue during the same period.
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, total Consumer revenue decreased by $13.6 million, or 4%, compared to the same period in the prior year. The decrease in Consumer revenue is primarily due to negative impacts from foreign currency exchange rates. Monthly average buyers were flat for the comparative periods.
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, total Enterprise revenue increased by $127.1 million, or 68%, compared to the same period in the prior year. The increase in Enterprise revenue was primarily driven by an increase in the number of UB customers, as well as an increase in the average deal size per new customer and net expansions in our existing UB customer base. Pricing was not a significant driver of the increase in revenue.
Cost of revenue, gross profit and gross margin
|Fiscal Year Ended December 31,||Change|
|(in thousands, except percentages)|
|Cost of revenue||$||275,320 ||$||236,024 ||$||39,296 ||17 ||%|
|Gross profit||353,777 ||279,633 ||74,144 ||27 ||%|
|Gross margin||56 ||%||54 ||%|
Cost of revenue for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 was $275.3 million, compared to $236.0 million for the same period in the prior year, which represents an increase of $39.3 million, or 17%. Content costs for the Consumer and Enterprise segments were $118.8 million and $73.7 million for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, respectively, compared to $131.9 million and $45.0 million for the same period in the prior year, respectively. Content costs as a percentage of segment revenue for the Consumer and Enterprise segments were 38% and 23% for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, respectively, compared to 40% and 24% for the same period in the prior year, respectively.
In our Consumer segment, customer support costs increased by $1.7 million, and hosting and platform costs increased by $2.0 million for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, as compared to the same period in the prior year. In our Enterprise segment, customer support costs increased by $11.5 million in the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, as compared to the same period in the prior year. On a consolidated basis, there was an increase of $3.3 million in amortization of capitalized software, an increase of $1.9 million of amortization of intangible assets, and an increase of $3.7 million related to stock-based compensation expense for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, when compared to the same period in the prior year.
Gross margin was 56% for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, compared to 54% for the same period in the prior year. The increase in gross margin was primarily due to a shift in mix of revenue toward our Enterprise segment, which has comparatively lower content costs as a percentage of revenue than the Consumer segment.
|Fiscal Year Ended December 31,||Change|
|Operating expenses||(in thousands, except percentages)|
|Sales and marketing||$||301,347 ||$||227,023 ||$||74,324 ||33 ||%|
|Research and development||104,556 ||66,107 ||38,449 ||58 ||%|
|General and administrative||99,064 ||64,410 ||34,654 ||54 ||%|
|Total operating expenses||$||504,967 ||$||357,540 ||$||147,427 ||41 ||%|
Sales and marketing. Sales and marketing expenses for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 were $301.3 million, compared to $227.0 million for the same period in the prior year. The $74.3 million increase in sales and marketing expense was primarily due to higher personnel-related expenses of $32.5 million, driven by headcount growth in our sales force to support additional demand for our platform; increased stock-based compensation expense of $20.4 million; increased amortization expense related to deferred contract acquisition costs of $14.5 million, driven by an expansion of our UB customer base over time; a $5.0 million increase in travel and employee activities due to additional in-person sales events and the easing of COVID-19 travel restrictions; a $7.4 million increase in software subscriptions and allocated costs to support the growth in our sales force; and a $1.7 million increase in professional services to support the growth of our business. These increases were partially offset by a decrease in marketing costs of $8.3 million.
Research and development. Research and development expenses for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 were $104.6 million, compared to $66.1 million for the same period in the prior year. The $38.4 million increase was primarily due to higher personnel-related expenses of $17.9 million, mainly driven by additional headcount; increased stock-based compensation expense of $14.0 million; and an additional $6.5 million of software subscriptions and allocated costs to support the growth of our business.
General and administrative. General and administrative expenses for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 were $99.1 million, compared to $64.4 million for the same period in the prior year. The $34.7 million increase in general and administrative expense was primarily due to an increase of $12.1 million in personnel-related expenses, mainly driven by additional headcount; an increase in stock-based compensation of $8.4 million; a $4.4 million increase in business related insurance, due to our status as a public company; and an additional $1.7 million of software subscriptions and allocated costs to support the growth of our business. We recorded a $1.2 million reduction in our Instructor Withholding tax reserve during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, based on revisions of certain key assumptions prior to settling the outstanding principal balance with the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) in the fourth quarter of 2022. During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, we recorded a $5.6 million reduction to the reserve based on revisions of certain key assumptions. We also recorded $2.1 million in other indirect tax reserves during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, compared to an immaterial amount for the same period in the prior year.
Total other expense, net
|Fiscal Year Ended December 31,||Change|
|Other income (expense)||(in thousands, except percentages)|
|Interest income (expense), net||$||4,297 ||$||(16)||$||4,313 ||n/m|
|Other expense, net||(4,696)||(920)||(3,776)||n/m|
|Total other expense, net||$||(399)||$||(936)||$||537 ||(57)||%|
|n/m - not meaningful|
We recorded $0.4 million of total other expense, net for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, compared to $0.9 million for the same period in the prior year. The $4.3 million increase in interest income (expense), net was primarily attributable to interest earned on our existing cash and cash equivalents balances and accretion income from marketable securities portfolio, totaling $5.5 million, partially offset by $1.3 million of interest incurred, primarily related to indirect tax reserves. The $3.8 million increase in other expense, net is primarily attributable to an impairment loss of $2.9 million on our strategic investments recorded during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022.
Income tax provision
|Fiscal Year Ended December 31,||Change|
|(in thousands, except percentages)|
|Income tax provision||$||(2,286)||$||(1,183)||$||(1,103)||93 ||%|
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, we recognized income tax expense of $2.3 million, compared to $1.2 million for the same period in the prior year. Income tax expense for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021, was primarily comprised of foreign taxes.
Certain key business metrics and non-GAAP financial metrics
In addition to the measures presented in our consolidated financial statements, we use the key business metrics and non-GAAP financial metrics identified below to help us assess the health of our community, evaluate our business, identify trends affecting our business, formulate business plans, and make strategic decisions.
Monthly average buyers
A buyer is a consumer who purchases a course or subscription through our direct-to-consumer offering. The number of monthly average buyers is calculated as the average of monthly buyers during a particular period, such as a fiscal year. Our monthly average buyer count is not intended as a measure of active engagement, as not all buyers are active at any given time or over any given period. We believe that the number of monthly average buyers in a given period is an important indicator of the growth of our business and potential future revenue trends. Our monthly average buyers count is expected to fluctuate in future periods due to a number of factors, including the growth of our customer base, expansion of products and features, and our ability to retain our Consumer customers.
|Fiscal Year Ended December 31,|
|Monthly average buyers||1,336 ||1,345 ||1,439 |
Udemy Business customers
We count the total number of UB customers at the end of each period. To do so, we generally count unique customers using the concept of a domestic ultimate parent, defined as the highest business in the family tree that is in the same country as the contracted entity. In some cases, we deviate from this methodology, defining the contracted entity as a unique customer despite existence of a domestic ultimate parent. This often occurs where the domestic ultimate parent is a financial owner, government entity, or acquisition target where we have contracted directly with the subsidiary. We define a UB customer as a customer who purchases Udemy via our direct sales force, reseller partnerships or through our self-service platform. We believe that the number of UB customers and our ability to increase this number is an important indicator of the growth of our UB and future revenue trends. The increase in UB customers is primarily attributable to the continued pursuit of our global land and expand strategy, as well as growth of our enterprise sales force.
|Udemy Business customers||13,920 ||10,515 ||7,300 |
Udemy Business Annual Recurring Revenue
We disclose our UB Annual Recurring Revenue (“ARR”) as a measure of our Enterprise revenue growth. ARR represents the annualized value of our UB customer contracts on the last day of a given period. Only revenue from closed UB contracts with active seats as of the last day of the period are included. The increase in UB ARR was primarily driven by an increase in the number of UB customers, as well as an increase in the average deal size per new customer and net expansions in our existing UB customer base. Pricing was not a significant driver of the increase in UB ARR.
|Udemy Business annual recurring revenue||$||371,727 ||$||239,257 ||$||137,621 |
Udemy Business Net Dollar Retention Rate and Udemy Business Large Customer Net Dollar Retention Rate
We disclose UB Net Dollar Retention Rate, or UB NDRR, as a measure of revenue growth for all UB customers within our Enterprise segment, including UB Large Customers, which we define as companies with at least 1,000 employees. We believe UB NDRR is an important metric that provides insight into the long-term value of our UB subscription agreements and our ability to retain and grow revenue from our UB customers. We believe UB Large Customer NDRR reflects our ability to retain and expand our footprint with larger organizations, who present greater opportunities for us to retain and grow revenue given the wider range of potential use cases and land-and-expand opportunities.
We calculate UB NDRR as the total ARR at the end of a trailing twelve-month period divided by the total ARR at the beginning of a trailing twelve-month period for the cohort of all UB customers active at the beginning of the trailing twelve-month period. We calculate UB Large Customer NDRR as the total UB Large Customer ARR at the end of a trailing twelve-month period divided by the total Large Customer ARR at the beginning of a trailing twelve-month period for the cohort of UB customers with at least 1,000 employees active at the beginning of the trailing twelve-month period. Total ARR and Large Customer ARR at the end of a trailing twelve-month period are calculated as ARR and Large Customer ARR, respectively, at the beginning of a trailing twelve-month period that are then adjusted for upsells, downsells, and churns for the same cohort of customers during that period. Large Customer ARR represents the annualized value of contracts for UB customers with active seats and having at least 1,000 employees on the last day of a given period.
Our UB NDRR and UB Large Customer NDRR are expected to fluctuate in future periods due to a number of factors, including the growth of our revenue base, the penetration within our learner base, expansion of products and features, and our ability to retain our UB customers.
|Udemy Business net dollar retention rate||115 ||%||118 ||%||118 ||%|
|Udemy Business Large Customer net dollar retention rate||123 ||%||124 ||%||121 ||%|
Segment revenue and segment gross profit
Our revenue is generated from our Consumer and UB offerings, each of which is an individual segment of our business. Segment revenue represents the revenue recognized from each of these offerings and is a key measure of the performance of our platform, and in turn drives our financial performance. We also monitor segment gross profit as a key metric to help evaluate the financial performance of our individual segments and our business as a whole. Segment gross profit is defined as segment revenue less segment cost of revenue, which include content costs, hosting and platform costs, customer support services, and payment processing fees that are allocable to each segment. Segment gross profit excludes amortization of capitalized software, amortization of intangible assets, depreciation, and stock-based compensation allocated to cost of revenue as our chief operating decision maker does not include the information in his measurement of the performance of the operating segments. Content costs, which are payments made to our instructors, are the largest individual component of segment cost of revenue. We expect to increase the percentage of our revenue derived from our Enterprise segment over time, which we expect will improve our gross margins.
|Fiscal Year Ended December 31,|
|(in thousands, except percentages)|
|Consumer segment revenue||$||315,059 ||$||328,703 ||$||326,454 |
|Consumer segment gross profit||$||165,805 ||$||169,361 ||$||160,650 |
|Consumer segment gross margin||53 ||%||52 ||%||49 ||%|
|Enterprise segment revenue||$||314,038 ||$||186,954 ||$||103,445 |
|Enterprise segment gross profit||$||209,461 ||$||122,970 ||$||67,926 |
|Enterprise segment gross margin||67 ||%||66 ||%||66 ||%|
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, the increase in Consumer segment gross margin was primarily due to a decrease in content costs as a percentage of Consumer revenue and the timing of revenue recognition relative to content costs. Otherwise, the mix of hosting costs, payment processing fees, and customer support services remained a consistent percentage of Consumer revenue when compared to the prior year.
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, the increase in Enterprise segment gross margin was primarily due to a decrease in content costs as a percentage of Enterprise revenue. Otherwise, the mix of hosting costs, payment processing fees, and customer support services remained a consistent percentage of Enterprise revenue when compared to the prior year.
Non-GAAP financial metrics
In addition to the measures presented in our consolidated financial statements, we use the following non-GAAP financial metrics identified below to help us evaluate our business, formulate business plans, and make strategic decisions.
Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin
As adjusted EBITDA facilitates internal comparisons of our historical operating performance on a more consistent basis, we use this measure for business planning purposes. Accordingly, we believe that adjusted EBITDA provides useful information to investors and others in understanding and evaluating our operating results in the same manner as our management team and board of directors. In addition, it provides a useful measure for period-to-period comparisons of our business, as it removes the effect of certain non-cash expenses and certain variable charges.
We define adjusted EBITDA as net loss attributable to common stockholders, adjusted to exclude:
•interest expense (income), net;
•provision for income taxes;
•depreciation and amortization;
•stock-based compensation expense; and
•other expense (income), net.
We define adjusted EBITDA margin as adjusted EBITDA divided by revenue for the same period.
The following table provides a reconciliation of net loss, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure, to adjusted EBITDA (in thousands):
|Fiscal Year Ended December 31,|
|Adjusted to exclude the following:|
|Interest (income) expense, net||(4,297)||16 ||1,146 |
|Income tax provision||2,286 ||1,183 ||3,149 |
|Depreciation and amortization||21,216 ||15,297 ||11,055 |
|Stock-based compensation expense||81,293 ||34,680 ||31,618 |
|Other (income) expense, net||4,696 ||920 ||(55)|
The following table provides a reconciliation of net loss margin, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure, to adjusted EBITDA margin (in thousands, except percentages):
|Fiscal Year Ended December 31,|
|Revenue||$||629,097 ||$||515,657 ||$||429,899 |
|Net loss margin||(24)||%||(16)||%||(18)||%|
|Revenue||$||629,097 ||$||515,657 ||$||429,899 |
|Adjusted EBITDA margin||(8)||%||(5)||%||(7)||%|
Net loss increased by $73.8 million in the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 compared to the same period in the prior year, and adjusted EBITDA decreased by $20.8 million in the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 compared to the same period in the prior year. The increase in net loss was primarily driven by increase in stock-based compensation of $46.6 million, as well as other increased operating expenses as we scale and grow our business. The decrease in adjusted EBITDA was primarily due to increased operating expenses as we scale and grow our business.
Liquidity and capital resources
As of December 31, 2022, our principal sources of liquidity were cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash of $317.3 million and marketable securities of $151.7 million. Cash and cash equivalents includes money market funds, certain U.S. government securities purchased with original maturities of less than 90 days, on demand deposits, and amounts in transit from certain payment processors for credit and debit card transactions. Restricted cash totaled $3.6 million and consists of cash deposited with financial institutions held as collateral for our obligations under various facility leases. Marketable securities are comprised of investments in U.S. government securities with an original maturity greater than 90 days at the date of purchase. Our non-U.S. cash and cash equivalents have been earmarked for indefinite investment in our operations outside the U.S., and consequently no U.S. current or deferred taxes have been accrued on such amounts. We believe that our existing cash and cash equivalents and our expected cash flows from operations will be sufficient to meet our cash needs for at least the next 12 months.
Over the long term, we plan to continue investing in the growth and development of our platform. If our available funds are insufficient to fund these future activities or execute on our business strategies, we may raise additional capital through equity, equity-linked or debt financing, to the extent such funding sources are available. Alternatively, we may be required to reduce expenses to manage liquidity; however, any such reductions could adversely impact our business and competitive position.
Sources of funds
We have historically financed our operations primarily through revenue, as well as proceeds from issuances of our capital stock. In October 2021, we received net proceeds of $397.4 million, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions of $23.1 million, from our IPO. In November 2021, the underwriters exercised their option to purchase additional shares of our common stock, resulting in net proceeds of $17.8 million after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions of $1.0 million.
From time to time, we may explore additional financing sources, which could include equity, equity-linked or debt financing. In addition, in connection with any future acquisitions or strategic investments, we may pursue additional funding, which could include debt, equity or equity-linked financings, or a combination of these methods. We can provide no assurance that any additional financing will be available to us on acceptable terms.
Use of funds
Our principal uses of cash are funding our operations, capital expenditures and working capital requirements. We have generated significant net losses from our operations as reflected in our accumulated deficit of $612.4 million as of December 31, 2022. We have generally incurred operating losses and generated negative cash flows from operations as we have invested in growing our business. Our operating cash requirements may increase in the future as we continue to invest in the development of our platform and the growth of our business. We cannot be certain our revenue will grow sufficiently to offset our operating expense increases. As a result, we may need to raise additional funds to support our operations, and such funding may not be available to us on acceptable terms, if at all.
The following table summarizes our cash flows for the periods indicated (in thousands):
|Fiscal Year Ended December 31,|
|Net cash provided by (used in):|
|Operating activities||$||(60,957)||$||(7,104)||$||9,624 |
|Financing activities||14,755 ||418,634 ||131,093 |
|Effect of foreign exchange rates on cash flows||(25)||— ||— |
|Net increase (decrease) in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash||$||(219,454)||$||358,837 ||$||126,180 |
Cash used in operating activities mainly consists of our net loss adjusted for certain non-cash items, including stock-based compensation, depreciation and amortization, amortization of deferred sales commissions, as well as the effect of changes in operating assets and liabilities during each period.
Our main source of operating cash is payments received from our customers. Our primary use of cash from operating activities are for personnel-related expenses, instructor payments, advertising expenses, indirect taxes, and third-party cloud infrastructure expenses.
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, cash used in operating activities was $61.0 million, primarily consisting of our net loss of $153.9 million, adjusted for non-cash charges of $144.6 million and net cash outflows of $51.7 million provided by changes in our operating assets and liabilities. The main drivers of the changes in operating assets and liabilities were a $67.7 million increase in deferred revenue, resulting primarily from our enterprise business growth, offset by a $32.3 million increase in accounts receivable, a $28.6 million decrease in accounts payable, accrued expenses and other current liabilities, which includes a $13.7 million one-time payment to settle our instructor withholding tax reserve, and a $53.4 million increase in deferred contract costs.
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, cash used in operating activities was $7.1 million, primarily consisting of our net loss of $80.0 million, adjusted for non-cash charges of $68.1 million and net cash outflows of $4.8 million provided by changes in our operating assets and liabilities. The main drivers of the changes in operating assets and liabilities were a $66.6 million increase in deferred revenue, resulting primarily from our enterprise business growth, which was offset by a $27.0 million increase in accounts receivable, a $36.5 million increase in deferred contract costs, and a $9.9 million increase in prepaid expenses and other assets.
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 cash provided by operating activities was $9.6 million, primarily consisting of our net loss of $77.6 million, adjusted for non-cash charges of $50.4 million and net cash inflows of $36.9 million provided by changes in our operating assets and liabilities. The main drivers of the changes in operating assets and liabilities were a $54.7 million increase in deferred revenue, resulting primarily from our enterprise business growth and an increase of $17.5 million in accounts payable, accrued expenses and other current liabilities, which were offset by a $19.6 million increase in accounts receivable, and a $18.9 million increase in deferred contract costs.
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, net cash used in investing activities was $173.2 million, primarily as a result of $158.5 million in purchases of marketable securities, $5.0 million for the purchase of strategic investments, and $14.2 million related to capitalized software costs. These changes were partially offset by $7.5 million of proceeds received from the maturity of marketable securities.
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, net cash used in investing activities was $52.7 million, primarily as a result of our $24.5 million acquisition of CorpU, as well as $10.0 million for the purchase of strategic investments, $5.3 million of capital expenditures for property and equipment, and $12.9 million related to capitalized software costs.
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, cash used in investing activities was $14.5 million, primarily as a result of $5.2 million of capital expenditures for property and equipment and $9.4 million related to capitalized software costs.
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, net cash provided by financing activities was $14.8 million, primarily driven by proceeds from issuance of common stock via stock option exercises of $7.1 million and issuances of common stock under our employee stock purchase plan of $9.2 million, which was partially offset by a $1.6 million payment of deferred offering costs associated with our IPO.
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, net cash provided by financing activities was $418.6 million, primarily as a result of proceeds of $415.2 million from our initial public offering, as well as proceeds of $10.9 million from the issuance of common stock following employee stock option exercises, offset by payments of $2.3 million for redeemable convertible preferred stock issuance costs and $5.2 million for deferred offering costs.
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, net cash provided by financing activities was $131.1 million, primarily as a result of proceeds of $120.7 million from our issuance of redeemable convertible preferred stock and $10.4 million from the issuance of common stock following employee stock option exercises.
Off-balance sheet arrangements
During the periods presented, we did not have any relationships with unconsolidated entities or financial partnerships, such as entities often referred to as structured finance or special purpose entities, which would have been established for the purpose of facilitating off-balance sheet arrangements or other contractually narrow or limited purposes.
Contractual obligations and commitments
Our estimated future obligations as of December 31, 2022 include both current and long term obligations. Under our operating leases, as noted in the consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data", we have a current obligation of $7.0 million and a long-term obligation of $6.5 million.
Our purchase obligations as of December 31, 2022 were $61.2 million, which primarily consisted of our commitments related to third-party cloud infrastructure agreements and subscription arrangements to support ongoing operations. As noted in Note 10, Commitments and Contingencies, to the consolidated financials included in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data", we have a current obligation of $24.3 million and a long-term obligation of $36.9 million.
Critical accounting policies and estimates
Our consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with GAAP. The preparation of these consolidated financial statements requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue, expenses, and related disclosures. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe are reasonable under the circumstances. We evaluate our estimates and assumptions on an ongoing basis. Actual results may differ from these estimates. To the extent that there are material differences between these estimates and our actual results, our future financial statements will be affected.
The critical accounting policies requiring estimates, assumptions, and judgments that we believe have the most significant impact on our consolidated financial statements are described below. See Note 2 to our consolidated financial statements for a description of our other significant accounting policies.
We recognize revenue using the five steps outlined in Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 606. We derive revenue from contracts with consumer and UB customers for access to our online learning platform and related services. We offer a single, combined performance obligation, which is the customer’s access to the online content on the Udemy platform, representing a series of distinct services as we continually fulfill our stand-ready obligation to provide the customer access to the online licensed content with the functionality of the Udemy platform. As such, we recognize revenue on a straight-line basis using an estimated service period for consumer single course purchases and the contractual subscription term for UB and consumer subscription customers.
We believe the following are the significant estimates and judgments impacting our revenue recognition, and any changes to these estimates and judgments could impact the timing and amount of revenue recognized.
Estimated service period for consumer single course purchases— Consumers who purchase an individual course receive a non-exclusive lifetime license to the digital course content in addition to stand-ready access to the Udemy platform hosting services needed to access the content. Because consumers who purchase an individual course receive lifetime access to their purchased content, we believe an estimated service period best represents the time period during which learners access the online course content on the platform. Determining the estimated service period requires us to make certain judgments about the expected period over which a consumer benefits from their purchase. We consider quantitative and qualitative data in determining our estimate, including, but not limited to, the average time period between a learner’s purchase date and the last date the learner accesses the purchased content, the average total hours consumed for a given purchase, the time period over which learner activity stabilizes, known online trends, and, to the extent publicly available, service periods for competitors with similar online content. The estimated service period for single course purchases is four months from the date of enrollment.
Principal versus agent— In order to determine whether revenue should be reported as gross or net of either payments to third-party instructors or amounts retained by reseller partners who sell access to Enterprise subscription offerings, we evaluated whether we are the principal for sales of our consumer and UB offerings.
Determining whether we are the principal involves making key judgments about whether Udemy controls the contracted services before being transferred to the end customer. We have determined that we are the principal to customers who purchase access to online individual course content or through our subscription offerings, as we control the promised goods or services (i.e., access to course content via the Udemy platform) before it is transferred to the customer and are primarily responsible for fulfillment with respect to delivering access to course content. We also have substantial discretion to determine the pricing of our offerings. We therefore report revenue related to these arrangements based on the gross purchase price paid by customers.
We account for stock-based compensation from stock-based awards using the estimated fair value of the awards on the date of grant. Stock-based awards that may be granted to employees, directors, and non-employees include restricted stock units (“RSUs”), stock options, stock appreciation rights (“SARs”), restricted stock, and stock purchase rights granted to employees under the Employee Stock Purchase Plan (“ESPP Rights”).
We estimate the fair value of RSUs based on our common stock price on the date of grant or modification. We estimate the fair value of stock options, SARs, and ESPP Rights using the Black-Scholes option-pricing model, which requires the use of the following subjective and complex assumptions:
Expected Term— For stock options and SARs, we use the midpoint of the vesting term and contractual expiration period to compute the expected term, as we do not have sufficient historical information to develop reasonable expectations about future exercise patterns and post-vesting employment termination behavior. For ESPP Rights, the expected term is equal to the purchase periods in a given offering period.
Risk-Free Interest Rate— The risk-free interest rate is based on the U.S. Treasury yield curve in effect at the time of grant for zero-coupon U.S. Treasury notes with maturities approximately equal to the award’s expected term.
Expected Volatility— We estimate future expected volatility by considering both the average volatility of a peer group of representative public companies with sufficient trading history and, to the extent available, our historical volatility over the expected term.
Dividend Yield— The expected dividend was assumed to be zero as we have never paid dividends and have no current plans to do so.
During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, we launched an equity exchange program (the “Equity Exchange”) in which eligible employees and executives were able to exchange certain outstanding stock options and SARs for RSUs on a one-for-one basis. We considered the Equity Exchange a modification event because it simultaneously canceled the existing equity-classified Eligible Awards and concurrently granted new RSUs as replacement awards. The incremental modification value was calculated as the excess of the fair value of each new RSU awarded, as measured immediately after closing of the exchange, over the fair value of the corresponding exchanged options and SARs, as measured immediately prior to closing of the exchange using the Black Scholes model described above. The incremental modification value and remaining unrecognized expense from the exchanged stock options and SARs at the time of the exchange will be recognized as stock-based compensation expense over the requisite service period for the new RSUs.
We will continue to use judgment in evaluating the assumptions related to our stock-based compensation on a prospective basis. Future grants or modifications of stock-based awards that require the use of complex valuation models may cause us to alter or refine the estimates and assumptions described above, which could impact future stock-based compensation expense.
We are subject to income taxes in the United States and numerous foreign jurisdictions. Significant judgment is required in determining our income tax expense and deferred tax assets and liabilities, including evaluating uncertainties in the application of accounting principles and complex tax laws.
We utilize the asset and liability method under which deferred tax assets and liabilities arise from the temporary differences between the tax basis of an asset or liability and our reported amount in the consolidated financial statements, as well as from net operating loss and tax credit carryforwards. Deferred tax amounts are determined by using the tax rates expected to be in effect when the taxes will actually be paid or refunds received, as provided for under currently enacted tax law. A valuation allowance is established if, based upon the available evidence, it is more likely than not that some or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized. We consider all available evidence, both positive and negative, including historical levels of income, expectations, and risks associated with estimates of future taxable income in assessing the need for a valuation allowance.
Accounting for business combinations requires us to make significant estimates and assumptions, especially at the acquisition date with respect to tangible and intangible assets acquired and liabilities assumed. We use our best estimates and assumptions to assign fair value to the tangible and intangible assets acquired and liabilities assumed at the acquisition date. Significant estimates we’ve made in valuing certain acquired intangible assets include, but are not limited to, future expected cash flows from acquired customer bases, acquired technology and acquired trade names, useful lives, royalty rates, and discount rates. The estimates are inherently uncertain and subject to revision as additional information is obtained during the measurement period for an acquisition, which may last up to one year from the acquisition date. Unanticipated events and circumstances in future periods may affect the accuracy or validity of such assumptions, estimates or actual results.
Goodwill and intangible assets
We evaluate and test the recoverability of goodwill for impairment annually, during the fourth quarter, or more often if and when circumstances indicate that goodwill may not be recoverable. We also evaluate the estimated remaining useful life of intangible assets and whether events or changes in circumstances warrant a revision to the remaining period of amortization. In order to identify potential impairment, we consider a variety of judgmental qualitative factors, which may include financial performance; legal, regulatory, contractual, political, or business factors; entity specific events; industry and market considerations; and macroeconomic conditions. To the extent we determine that it is more likely than not that the fair value of the reporting unit is less than its carrying value, a quantitative test would be performed.
Recent accounting pronouncements
See Note 2 to our consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for information regarding recently issued accounting pronouncements.
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Interest rate sensitivity
As of December 31, 2022 we had $313.7 million of cash and cash equivalents, which includes money market funds, certain U.S. government securities purchased with original maturities of less than 90 days, on demand deposits, and amounts in transit from certain payment processors for credit and debit card transactions. We also held $151.7 million of marketable securities, consisting of investments in various U.S. government securities. In addition, we had $3.6 million of restricted cash, primarily due to the outstanding letter of credit related to the operating lease agreement for our corporate headquarters. We did not hold any long-term debt as of or during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022.
As of December 31, 2021 we had $533.9 million of cash and cash equivalents, which includes on demand deposits and amounts in transit from certain payment processors for credit and debit card transactions. In addition, we had $2.9 million of restricted cash, primarily due to the outstanding letter of credit related to the operating lease agreement for our corporate headquarters. We did not hold any marketable securities or long-term debt as of or during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021.
Our cash and cash equivalents are held for working capital purposes. Given the above facts and circumstances, hypothetical changes in interest rates of 100 basis points would not result in a material increase or decrease of the market value of our marketable securities portfolio as of December 31, 2022.
Foreign currency risk
The reporting currency is the U.S. dollar. We determine the functional currency for each of our foreign subsidiaries by reviewing their operations and currencies used in their primary economic environments. Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates may cause us to recognize transaction gains and losses in our consolidated statement of operations, or translation gains and losses in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) as a component of stockholders’ equity. Our marketable securities portfolio is also held in U.S. dollar investments, and to date, we have not entered into any hedging arrangements with respect to foreign currency risk or other derivative financial instruments, although we may choose to do so in the future. As such, a hypothetical 10% increase or decrease in current exchange rates would not have had a material impact on income or expense for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021.
Item 8. Consolidated financial statements
The following financial statements are filed as part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K:
REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
To the stockholders and the Board of Directors of Udemy, Inc.
Opinion on the Financial Statements
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Udemy, Inc. and subsidiaries (the "Company") as of December 31, 2022 and 2021, the related consolidated statements of operations, comprehensive loss, redeemable convertible preferred stock and stockholders’ equity (deficit), and cash flows, for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2022, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the "financial statements"). In our opinion, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2022 and 2021, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2022, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.
We have also audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight
Board (United States) (PCAOB), the Company's internal control over financial reporting as of December
31, 2022, based on criteria established in Internal Control — Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission and our report dated February 27, 2023, expressed an unqualified opinion on the Company's internal control over financial reporting.
Change in Accounting Principle
As discussed in Note 2 to the financial statements, effective January 1, 2022, the Company adopted Accounting Standards Update 2016-02, Leases, and related amendments (Topic 842).
Basis for Opinion
These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company's management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company's financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.
Critical Audit Matter
The critical audit matter communicated below is a matter arising from the current-period audit of the financial statements that was communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that (1) relates to accounts or disclosures that are material to the financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgments. The communication of critical audit matters does not alter in any way our opinion on the financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matter below, providing a separate opinion on the critical audit matter or on the accounts or disclosures to which it relates.
Revenue - Estimated service period for consumer single course purchases — Refer to Notes 2 and 3 to the financial statements.
Critical Audit Matter Description
Consumer customers purchasing a single course receive a lifetime license to the digital course content in addition to stand-ready access to the Udemy platform needed to access the course content. The Company recognizes revenue from consumer single course purchases over an estimated service period (“estimated service period”). The determination of the estimated service period involves management’s judgement in evaluating the average time period between a learner’s purchase date and the last date the learner accesses the purchased content (the “consumption data”), among other factors.
We identified the estimated service period as a critical audit matter because the judgements made by management in determining the estimated service period rely on consumption data captured by automated and internally-developed systems. This required a high degree of auditor judgement and increased extent of effort, including the need for us to involve professionals with expertise in information technology (IT), when performing audit procedures to test and evaluate the Company’s systems, software applications, and automated controls that relate to the consumption data.
How the Critical Audit Matter Was Addressed in the Audit
Our audit procedures related to the estimated service period for consumer single course purchases included the following, among others:
•With the assistance of our IT specialists, we:
◦Identified the relevant systems used to record consumer revenue transactions and capture consumption data and tested the operating effectiveness of the general IT controls over each of these systems, including testing of user access controls, change management controls, and IT operations controls.
◦Performed testing of automated controls related to the capturing of consumption data.
•We tested the operating effectiveness of internal controls related to management’s review of factors used in determining the estimated service period for consumer single course purchases, including review of the consumption data.
•We evaluated the reasonableness of the methodology used by management to determine the estimated service period and tested the mathematical accuracy of the calculations involved.
•We evaluated the reasonableness of management's estimated service period by comparing the estimate to the consumption data and other internal and external information.
•We tested the completeness and accuracy of the consumption data used to determine the estimated service period by independently purchasing and consuming courses and tracing the transaction and consumption data through the Company's IT systems and to its inclusion in the underlying course consumption data.
/s/ DELOITTE & TOUCHE LLP
San Francisco, California
February 27, 2023
We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2019.
Consolidated Balance Sheets
(in thousands, except share and per share amounts)
|December 31,||December 31,|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||313,685 ||$||533,868 |
|Marketable securities||151,687 ||— |
|Accounts receivable, net ||104,530 ||73,180 |
|Prepaid expenses and other current assets||14,878 ||15,927 |
|Deferred contract costs, current||30,234 ||18,898 |
|Total current assets||615,014 ||641,873 |
|Property and equipment, net||7,012 ||9,887 |
|Capitalized software, net||27,412 ||20,054 |
|Operating lease right-of-use assets||11,377 ||— |
|Restricted cash, non-current||3,629 ||2,900 |
|Deferred contract costs, non-current||35,411 ||25,647 |
|Strategic investments||12,104 ||10,000 |
|Intangible assets, net||9,331 ||13,597 |
|Goodwill||12,646 ||12,646 |
|Other assets||3,632 ||3,247 |
|Total assets||$||737,568 ||$||739,851 |
|Liabilities and stockholders' equity|
|Accounts payable||$||14,529 ||$||34,627 |
|Accrued expenses and other current liabilities||31,247 ||40,140 |
|Content costs payable||37,310 ||35,961 |
|Accrued compensation and benefits||22,882 ||22,341 |
|Operating lease liabilities, current||7,002 ||— |
|Deferred revenue, current||273,937 ||208,274 |
|Total current liabilities||386,907 ||341,343 |
|Operating lease liabilities, non-current||6,545 ||— |
|Deferred revenue, non-current||4,342 ||2,280 |
|Other liabilities, non-current||464 ||6,528 |
|Total liabilities||398,258 ||350,151 |
|Note 10 – Commitments and contingencies|
|Stockholders' equity: |
Preferred stock, $0.00001 par value - 50,000,000 shares authorized; zero shares issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2022, and December 31, 2021.
|— ||— |
Common stock, $0.00001 par value - 950,000,000 shares authorized; 145,013,786 and 139,164,693 shares issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2022, and December 31, 2021, respectively.
|1 ||1 |
|Additional paid-in capital||951,946 ||848,229 |
|Accumulated other comprehensive loss||(233)||(1)|
|Total stockholders’ equity||339,310 ||389,700 |
|Total liabilities and stockholders' equity||$|