(New throughout, adds CEO comments from interview and updates share price to close)
March 31 (Reuters) - Shares of online learning platform Coursera Inc surged on Wednesday on their first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange, with investors eager to get into the red-hot sector pushing them 36% above the initial public offering price.
Coursera closed at $45 a share, giving the nine-year-old firm a valuation of about $5.8 billion, up from a $2.57 billion valuation in a private funding round last July, according to data from PitchBook.
On Tuesday, the Mountain View, California-based firm priced 15.7 million shares at the upper end of its $30 to $33 range, raising around $519 million. About 1.1 million shares were offered by selling stockholders.
Coursera is the latest strong market debut by a technology company that has benefited from disruptions caused by the pandemic.
As people staying at home during the pandemic shifted to digital learning in 2020, about 30.6 million new users registered for the platform, up from 9.2 million new users in 2019. Coursera’s revenue jumped 59% to $293 million.
“I think that the need for adult learning is growing, because the world is changing faster,” Jeff Maggioncalda, chief executive at Coursera, said in an interview. “What we think makes Coursera a bit different starts with the content and credentials that are available.”
Coursera offers courses directly to users. It partners with corporations and governments to retrain employees and works with more than 3,700 universities and colleges worldwide to provide degree programs, its website showed.
It launched “Coursera for Campus” during the pandemic to help educational institutions teach stuck-at-home students.
Other online learning portals like Nerdy Inc and Skillsoft have announced in recent months they would go public through mergers with special purpose acquisition companies.
Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are among the underwriters for Coursera’s offering. (Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru and Krystal Hu in New York; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and David Gregorio)