The Silicon Valley-based company brought in $220,000 in the first quarter after it started charging for verified completion certificates, its co-founders said. The company also receives revenue from an Amazon.com affiliates program if users buy books suggested by professors.
“It’s the beginning of revenue,” said a Coursera co-founder, Daphne Koller.
The company has 3.2 million registered users, an increase of nearly 700,000 from mid-February. The company was founded in fall 2011 by Koller and her colleague at Stanford University, Andrew Ng.
The vast majority of users are just dropping in to take free courses, but the company introduced a “Signature Track” to try to put more weight behind the end-of-course awards issued by universities that offer courses through its platform. Users who pay for this have to submit a photo ID of themselves to the company and are also tracked based on their “unique typing pattern” to ensure that people who take tests or turn in assignments are who they say they are. Prices are set around $50 so far.