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Fast Talk

Udemy: A Free Online University for All

Photograph by Justin Fantl
Photograph by Justin Fantl

GAGAN BIYANI
Cofounder and president, Udemy
Palo Alto

Biyani, 23, is connecting the eager-to-teach with the eager-to-learn through Udemy, the Academy of You.

"There are millions of experts everywhere, and we provide them with the tools to share their knowledge online. Udemy gives instructors the ability to use video, PowerPoint, articles, and blog posts to build rich courses. They can even host virtual conferences with students. People spend $9 billion on casual learning each year, and another $20 billion on continuing and professional education. We can catalyze that market to move online, and provide forums that create in-depth learning experiences about everything from Thai cooking to calculus to Esperanto. We launched in May 2010 and more than 2,000 courses have been created. We're introducing a pay platform so our instructors can decide if they want to charge for their courses, but we expect 80% will remain free. The education industry is very top-down, but this has the power to change that."

A version of this article appeared in the December 2010/January 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.

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