Coursera Is A Promising Investment Opportunity With Solid Growth Prospects

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Written By Marcus Reynolds

Investment Thesis

Coursera is poised for significant growth, driven by strong demand for professional certifications and the increasing need for reskilling and upskilling. This demand is further supported by the addition of certifications from renowned industry partners, which should continue to boost new learner registrations and drive revenue growth.

Additionally, strength in the government and campus businesses, traction towards online degree courses, and the implementation of AI tools and technologies to enhance offerings and user experience should further support revenue growth.

On the margin front, Coursera should benefit from operating leverage and cost-saving initiatives. The company is trading at a discount to its peer Udemy (UDMY) and the sector median, offering a healthy balance sheet that should help it overcome any temporary near-term headwinds.

Company Overview

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Coursera, Inc., established in 2012, is a leading online learning platform offering a wide range of courses, specializations, and degrees from top universities and industry partners. The company provides access to high-quality education and professional certifications, enabling learners to enhance their skills and advance their careers.

Coursera operates across three main segments: Consumer, Enterprise, and Degree, catering to individual learners, businesses, governments, and educational institutions.

Revenue Analysis and Outlook

In the first quarter of fiscal 2024, Coursera’s revenue growth continued to benefit from healthy demand for entry-level professional certificates, robust new learner registrations, high net customer retention rates, and growth in new degree students.

Despite a temporary slowdown in North America due to delays in content launches by key educational partners, the company posted a 14.6% year-over-year revenue growth, reaching $169 million.

The Consumer segment revenue grew by 17.9% year-over-year, driven by strong demand for entry-level professional certificates and AI content. The Enterprise segment saw a 10.2% year-over-year growth, supported by strong demand within government and campus verticals.

The Degree segment posted a 10.4% year-over-year growth, driven by a 23% increase in new students globally and the scaling of recent program launches.

Looking forward, Coursera’s revenue growth prospects remain positive. The increasing number of professional certifications available on the platform from industry leaders like Microsoft (MSFT), Meta (META), and Alphabet (GOOG) is a significant driver.

The job-relevant certifications in high-demand fields such as AI, data science, cloud computing, and cybersecurity provide valuable resources for individuals and employers, supporting the rising need for upskilling and reskilling.

Coursera’s registered user base continues to grow, indicating the utility of the company’s offerings and boding well for future revenue growth. The integration of Coursera’s content into university curriculums should continue to benefit the company’s sales in the coming years.

Additionally, the company’s degree segment has the largest total addressable market (TAM), with pathway degree programs making higher education more accessible and affordable.

The company is also leveraging generative AI and other technological advances to improve course quality and delivery efficiency. Tools like Coursera Coach, AI-assisted course builders, and AI-powered translations enhance the company’s scalability and global reach.

Margin Analysis and Outlook

In the first quarter of fiscal 2024, Coursera reported a stable adjusted gross margin of 54%. The adjusted EBITDA margin improved by 1000 basis points to 4.9%, benefiting from volume leverage and cost-saving initiatives.

Looking ahead, Coursera’s margin growth prospects are promising. The company’s business model inherently offers good operating leverage, spreading the fixed cost of developing content over a larger revenue base.

The use of AI to reduce costs, such as translating and localizing content, should further support margin improvement.

Valuation and Conclusion

Coursera is currently trading at 34.18x FY24 consensus EPS estimate of $0.19 and 23.64x FY25 consensus EPS estimate of $0.28. The company’s EV/Sales is 0.47x, significantly lower than its peer Udemy’s 1.11x EV/Sales and the sector median EV/Sales of 1.24x.

With a strong balance sheet, good long-term growth prospects, and reasonable valuations, Coursera presents an interesting investment opportunity. Contrarian investors who can look beyond near-term headwinds and muted sentiment may find the stock attractive at current levels.

Risks and Investment Considerations

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While Coursera has a strong market position, the highly competitive Edtech industry poses a risk. Additionally, the evolving field of AI presents both opportunities and competitive threats, with platforms like ChatGPT potentially impacting the market.

Despite these risks, Coursera’s robust financials, growth prospects, and market position make it a compelling investment.

Overall, Coursera offers a promising investment opportunity with significant upside potential, supported by strong demand for its offerings, strategic growth initiatives, and a favorable valuation.



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