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Openclassrooms keeps growth under control


In the e-learning sector, one player stands out. Founded in 2013, the French start-up Openclassrooms has experienced hyper-growth in a post-Covid world. The group, which has raised several rounds of funding, is now in a phase of consolidation and international expansion. Here’s an analysis from the experts at AURIS Finance, a consultancy specialising in mergers and acquisitions.

The digitalisation of training tools in the 2010s has given rise to new business models. The French group Openclassrooms is one of the pioneers in this sector. Founded in 2013, five years after its creation, it managed to raise its first round of financing of $60 million, notably from the American fund General Atlantic. In 2018, this fundraising was one of the largest ever in the French tech sector. The model appealed to investors: The platform offers online training courses for people undergoing professional retraining and for those already in work.  To date, the platform has 600 open-access courses and 50 training options leading to jobs with high recruitment potential: web development, cybersecurity, data analysis, and educational engineering.

Post-covid hypergrowth

It was during and after the pandemic that the start-up experienced a sharp acceleration. Mathieu Nebra, co-founder of Openclassrooms, described the market opportunity as “extraordinary” in the columns of Maddyplay. The digital training platform then closed a second round of Series C funding from its historical investors (General Atlantic and Bpifrance), Salesforce Ventures and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (a philanthropic company founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan). This hyper-growth is being driven by increasing demand: as remote working becomes more widespread; more companies are looking for agile training solutions to build loyalty and support the skills development of their employees. Meanwhile, employees are looking to broaden their horizons and gain greater autonomy. Against this backdrop, demand for distance learning is exploding.

A quest for profitability

In 2022, the group, which employs nearly 500 people, was operating in a more challenging environment. As interest rates rose, liquidity dried up and investors became more impatient. Openclassrooms implemented a redundancy plan and shed 130 jobs. From then on, the group embarked on a new strategy: more controlled growth and a quest for rapid profitability. According to its 2023 mission statement, OpenClassrooms will have completed more than 2 million courses in 2022 with a presence in 84 countries. In the same year, Openclassrooms recorded a total of 44,010 professional developments, an increase of 46.7% over the previous year. The group has become a mission-driven company with the aim of achieving maximum social impact, measured by the number of people who manage to find a job after completing an OpenClassrooms programme.

Our experts at your side

As is the case for Openclassrooms, all innovative companies go through cycles. These stages are fundamental and require managers to be highly adaptable. At AURIS Finance, our experts are specialised by sector. Our technology and professional training specialists can help you to raise funds. Whatever your project: finding a financial partner, identifying a target to capture new technological functionalities, we are at your side.

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#Human resources & Temporary work