Posted on October 24, 2017
Helping people be able to do whatever comes next both personally and professionally is at the heart of our founder, Eren Bali’s story. In pursuit of his mission to improve lives through learning, Udemy has grown to become one of the world’s largest online learning platforms connecting tens of millions of students with 55,000 courses created by 34,000 experts around the world. What is largely untold is why Eren created Udemy. To share his story, we go back to the 1990s in a small remote village in Duralova, Turkey.
Educated in a one-room schoolhouse, Eren Bali never believed learning opportunities were finite. His drive and curiosity primed him for a life beyond the expected. Driven by his love of mathematics, Eren became an online learner when his family purchased their first computer. It was then that Eren began to use the Internet to expand his knowledge and connect with people from around the world. In a short period of time, he was able to improve his skills every day.
In his pursuit of learning, Eren stumbled upon online math forums where users exchanged math problems and taught one other new theorems and algorithms. He learned complex mathematics through different online sites, eventually leading him to win a gold medal at the National Math Olympiad in Turkey and a silver medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad. Eren went on to study mathematics and computer engineering at the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey.
Despite all of his success, Eren never forgot what got him there. In the midst of learning online, Eren discovered the best teachers aren’t always found in a classroom. After experiencing how much online learning improved his life, Eren made it his mission to give that same opportunity to anyone, anywhere. He wanted to turn the idea of learning online into something powerful that would benefit other people who needed access to great, affordable content. He imagined a world where anyone could learn anything—from any expert in the world. It didn’t take him long to realize how his idea could change people’s lives.
Watch a video about Eren’s story
After graduating from university, Eren began the journey to make his dream a reality. He built Udemy in 2010 and moved to San Francisco where he secured his first round of VC funding. While he hit many roadblocks, Eren’s idea finally began to take off. Users were joining the Udemy platform and experts around the world began teaching on Udemy. Eren’s innovative learning platform harnessed the expertise of thousands of managers, entrepreneurs, artists, programmers, scientists, chefs, accountants, journalists, farmers, lawyers, and hobbyists—who were passionate about sharing their knowledge with others.
Today, Udemy has become one of the world’s leading online learning platforms, fueled by 18 million+ learners and 34,000 experts from all corners of the globe.
Eren had the vision to harness the power of the Internet as a learning destination for everyone. His story is at the heart of why Udemy for Business is dedicated to helping employees at every organization transform their lives and careers through learning. We believe every employee should be able to do whatever comes next—whether it’s working towards a promotion, project, career change, or simply just satisfying the desire to learn something new.
Our new brand captures Eren’s vision and our commitment to helping improve lives through learning. We want all your employees to be able—to feel empowered to achieve their goals, no matter where they started or where they want to go. With learning, anything is possible.
This is an exciting next step for Udemy. We invite you to join the learning movement with us and share your #BeAble moment on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.