Skillshare Business Model

Skillshare Business Model Canvas - Skillshare Business Model

The Skillshare business model works by offering a convenient and cheap platform for people to learn new skills and boost their personal and professional growth. Skillshare, an online learning platform founded in 2010 by Michael Karnjanaprakorn and Malcolm Ong, has amassed over 8 million registered users and more than 30,000 classes since its launch. The company has transformed online learning.

This blog post will delve further into Skillshare’s economics, history, ownership, and operations. We will also examine the company’s revenue streams, corporate strategy, mission statement, and target market. We will also investigate Skillshare’s business operations, including its subscription model, alliances with other organizations, enterprise program, and referral system. You will have a thorough grasp of Skillshare and how it has developed into a major supplier of online learning by the end of this article.

Skillshare Key Information - Skillshare Business Model

A brief history of Skillshare

Skillshare provides classes on various subjects, including design, business, technology, and the creative arts. It was launched by Michael Karnjanaprakorn and Malcolm Ong in 2010 and has developed into one of the most well-known online e-learning systems. Michael Karnjanaprakorn and Malcolm Ong started Skillshare in 2010, intending to develop an internet platform enabling people to share their abilities with others. The concept was straightforward: anyone could join to teach lessons on any subject they were interested in, and students could sign up to learn from these teachers at a low cost.

In April 2011, the site’s founders put it in beta, and it soon grew in popularity. Early on, Skillshare mainly focused on artistic courses like painting, photography, and sketching. Yet as the website became popular, it started diversifying its content by adding sections on business, technology, and entrepreneurship. With this growth, Skillshare attracted more students trying to advance their professional careers.

In 2012, Skillshare had more than 100,000 users who had enrolled as the platform’s popularity continued to rise. The business raised $6 million in funding in 2013, enabling it to grow its staff and invest in new services and technology. Also, a mobile app was released, making it even more straightforward for consumers to access classes while on the go.

In 2015, Skillshare had more than 1 million registered members and had increased the number of lessons it offered to over 1,000. The business also introduced a membership program that charged consumers a monthly price to access all courses on the website. This business model worked well, and by 2017, Skillshare had more than 2 million registered users and more than 17,000 classes available.

Skillshare has expanded its products and kept up with innovation over the past few years. The company introduced Skillshare for Teams in 2018, enabling companies to provide Skillshare classes to their employees as a resource for professional development. Also, it introduced Skillshare Originals, a collection of top-notch courses created internally by Skillshare’s staff of professionals.

By raising $66 million in funding in 2020, Skillshare was able to grow its staff and make investments in new products and technologies. A series of live classes and events called Skillshare Live, also introduced by the business, lets users communicate with instructors and others real-time in real time.

With over 8 million registered members and more than 30,000 classes, Skillshare is one of the most well-known online learning platforms. The platform continues to develop and broaden its offerings to give individuals worldwide access to affordable and high-quality education.

Who Owns Skillshare

Skillshare is a privately-owned company founded in 2010 by Michael Karnjanaprakorn and Malcolm Ong. The company’s headquarters is in New York City. It has become one of the most popular e-learning platforms on the internet, with over 8 million registered users and more than 30,000 classes.

Skillshare is also owned by investors, who have provided funding to help the company grow and expand its offerings. The company has raised $93.1 million in funding, with its most recent round in 2020 led by OMERS Growth Equity. Skillshare’s mission is to provide affordable and accessible education to people worldwide, and its success is a testament to the power of online learning and the importance of lifelong education.

Skillshare Mission Statement

Skillshare Mission Statement - Skillshare Business Model

The Skillshare mission statement is “to reunite learning with education and make it accessible to everyone. Anyone can learn anything, at any age, at an affordable cost, anywhere in the world.”

How Skillshare works

Users of the online learning community Skillshare can learn new skills from knowledgeable instructors by watching pre-recorded video lessons. Users must first create an account on the website or mobile app to access Skillshare.

After logging in, visitors can browse and sign up for courses on various subjects, including business, technology, the arts, and more. Skillshare helps users quickly learn at their own pace because the courses are presented through video lessons, typically divided into manageable pieces. Students must perform a project each semester to show they have grasped the subject.

Within the Skillshare community, users may communicate with instructors and other students, ask questions, give feedback, and work together on projects. Moreover, Skillshare provides a subscription model that enables users to access all the platform’s courses for a fixed monthly fee, allowing them to study as much as they want at a reasonable cost.

How Skillshare makes money

Skillshare generates profit and makes money through the following ways:

Subscription Model

Users pay a monthly fee to access all the courses on the platform, which is Skillshare’s primary income source. Users can study as much as they want for a reasonable price using the subscription model, giving the company a consistent cash stream. Skillshare offers a free trial period to entice new users to try the site before subscribing.

Partnerships with brands and companies

Skillshare collaborates with brands and businesses to develop specialized courses and content for their staff or customers. These collaborations give Skillshare a new source of income and enable it to reach new audiences.

Enterprise program

Skillshare’s enterprise program offers companies and organizations training and development services. Under the service, businesses can give their staff members access to Skillshare’s courses and information, helping them develop their abilities and keep up with the most recent business trends. The enterprise program enables the business to provide its services to a broader audience of users and is a crucial source of revenue for it.

Referral program

The referral program at Skillshare pays customers to introduce new users to the service. Every referral that results in a paid subscription earns the user a free month of Skillshare. The referral program encourages current users to spread the word about the platform and assists the business in bringing in new users.

Due to its various funding sources, Skillshare can offer accessible and affordable education to people worldwide. Skillshare has created a lucrative business strategy that works for the organization and its customers through its subscription-based business model, alliances with well-known brands and businesses, enterprise program, and referral system.

Skillshare Business Model Canvas

The Skillshare Business Model can be explained in the following business model canvas:

Skillshare Business Model Canvas - Skillshare Business Model

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Skillshare Customer Segments

Skillshare’s customer segments include:

  • Learners: Skillshare’s customer base comprises those interested in expanding their personal and professional growth and learning new skills. To meet the needs of students with diverse skill levels, from novices to experts, Skillshare provides various courses and content on multiple subjects, including business, technology, the creative arts, and more. The platform offers a convenient and economical solution for learners looking to advance their job prospects, launch a new business, or explore their passions;
  • Entrepreneurs: Skillshare is a well-liked learning platform for business owners aiming to launch and expand their enterprises. The website offers courses on marketing, finance, and other vital subjects for entrepreneurs to advance their knowledge and skills. Experts and seasoned businesspeople instruct the courses on Skillshare, giving students helpful advice and insights that will help them succeed;
  • Freelancers: Many independent contractors use Skillshare to upgrade or reskill to increase their marketability and skill set. The portal offers courses on various subjects, including those in high demand in the world of freelancing, such as graphic design, web development, content writing, and more. To thrive in their employment, freelancers can also master commercial skills, including project management, pricing, and negotiating;
  • Creative Professionals: For creative professionals like painters, designers, authors, and photographers, Skillshare is a go-to platform. The platform allows users to develop their abilities and discover new mediums by offering classes and information on various creative disciplines, including graphic design, painting, and more. The instructors in Skillshare’s courses are authorities and prosperous practitioners in their professions, giving students insightful instruction and criticism of their work.

Skillshare Value Propositions

Skillshare’s value propositions include:

Value propositions for learners:

  • Personal and professional growth for learners: Learners acquire information and skills to advance their personal and professional growth on an affordable and accessible platform with Skillshare. The platform caters to various skill levels and interests by providing courses and content on numerous subjects. Students may access the lessons at their convenience and pace, so it’s an excellent choice for people with hectic schedules;

Value propositions for entrepreneurs:

  • Helpful insights for business expansion: Entrepreneurs can find invaluable advice from accomplished business people and entrepreneurs on Skillshare. The platform provides learners with the information and abilities to launch and expand their businesses by offering courses on vital subjects like business strategy, marketing, finance, and more. It is a significant resource for up-and-coming entrepreneurs to learn from other successful entrepreneurs’ experiences;

Value propositions for freelancers:

  • Upskilling and reskilling for freelancers: Skillshare offers independent contractors the chance to upskill or reskill to increase their marketability and expand their client base. The world of work keeps changing every day, with workers required to develop new competencies to help them thrive. As such, Skillshare offers freelancers the opportunity to learn how to do better what they are doing or acquire different skill sets to enable them to take on different roles. Some courses offered include graphic design, web programming, and content creation. To scale their freelance businesses, freelancers can also master crucial business skills like project management, pricing, and negotiating;

Value propositions for creative professionals:

  • Talent refinement for creative professionals: With the help of Skillshare, creative workers can develop their talents and experiment with various media. The platform offers classes taught by accomplished experts in their respective disciplines in various creative arts, including painting, graphic design, and more. It is an excellent resource for any creative who wants to hone their talents and build a thriving business.

Skillshare Channels

Skillshare’s channels consist of:

  • Access Partner Content
  • Exclusive Partners
  • Wide Range
  • Expert Instructors
  • Convenient Platform
  • Subscription Access
  • Unlimited Content
  • Regular Updates
  • Valuable Resource
  • Included in Subscription

Skillshare Customer Relationships

Skillshare customer relationships comprises: 

  • Interactive Learning
  • Student Feedback
  • Community Support
  • Instructor Engagement
  • Collaborative Environment
  • Personalized Experience
  • Targeted Notifications
  • Customer Service
  • Learning Resources
  • Mobile Accessibility

Skillshare Revenue Streams

Skillshare’s revenue streams include:

  • Subscription model
  • Partnerships with brands and companies
  • Enterprise program
  • Referral program

Skillshare Key Resources

Skillshare’s key resources are: 

  • Platform Technology
  • Instructors and Staff
  • Course Content
  • Skillshare Community
  • Brand and Reputation
  • Marketing Channels
  • Funding and Investors
  • Partner Network
  • Intellectual Property
  • Data Analytics

Skillshare Key Activities

 Skillshare’s key activities include:

  • Course Curation
  • Instructor Recruitment
  • Course Creation
  • User Acquisition
  • Platform Maintenance
  • Marketing and Promotion
  • Partnership Development
  • Content Management
  • Technology Development
  • Data Analysis

Skillshare Key Partners

Skillshare’s key partners consist of: 

  • Instructors and Experts
  • Partner Channels
  • Corporate Clients
  • Investors and Funders
  • Advertising Partners
  • Affiliates and Referral Partners
  • Industry Associations
  • Education Partnerships
  • Event and Workshop Hosts
  • Content Partnerships

Skillshare Cost Structure

Skillshare’s cost structure consists of:

  • Employee Salaries
  • Course Content Creation Costs
  • Platform Development and Maintenance Costs
  • Marketing and Advertising Expenses
  • Technology Infrastructure Costs
  • Administrative Costs
  • Partner Compensation
  • Legal and Regulatory Expenses
  • Data Analytics and Research Costs
  • Events and Workshops Costs

Skillshare Competitors

Below, there are some of Skillshare’s competitors;

  • Udemy: Business, design, programming, and marketing are just a few areas covered by Udemy, an online learning platform. The site boasts 35 million users and over 150,000 courses. In addition to classes from prestigious universities like Harvard and MIT, Udemy also features courses written and taught by independent educators. The sizeable course selection and competitive pricing of Udemy are among its strong points. Nevertheless, there is minimal curation or quality control and wide variation in course quality, which might create a less uniform learning environment for students;
  • Coursera: As one of the world’s most recognized online learning portals, Coursera provides courses and degrees from prestigious institutions worldwide. The platform has over 76 million users and offers over 3,900 courses and 200 degrees. The advantages of Coursera include its top-notch courses and alliances with prestigious colleges. However, the platform provides more expensive courses and information targeted toward academic or professional development than other online learning platforms, making it less appropriate for hobbyists or casual learners;
  • LinkedIn Learning: LinkedIn Learning provides business, technology, and creative skills courses. LinkedIn, the largest professional networking website in the world, owns the platform, which offers more than 16,000 courses. The benefits of LinkedIn Learning’s connection with LinkedIn are individualized suggestions based on a user’s employment background and hobbies. Also, LinkedIn Learning is excellent for corporate training and provides courses in several languages. The platform’s content, however, might not be the best for casual learners because it may be more aimed toward experts;
  • MasterClass: MasterClass provides classes taught by famous people and business leaders in writing, music, and culinary subjects. The site offers over 100 courses and is renowned for its distinctive course offerings and top-notch video production. The courses produced by MasterClass and celebrity instructors are its most vital points. However, the platform’s course selection is constrained and might not be appropriate for students seeking more conventional academic or professional development courses. In addition, MasterClass charges a premium compared to other online learning environments.

Skillshare SWOT Analysis

Below, there is a detailed swot analysis of Skillshare:

Skillshare SWOT Analysis - Skillshare Business Model

Skillshare Strengths

Below, there are some qualities that make Skillshare stands out in the marketplace:

  • Diverse Courses: A wide array of courses on Skillshare are available, ranging from business and technology to graphic design and creative writing. Around 30,000 classes are open to students, all of which are taught by specialists in the topics they are interested in. Moreover, Skillshare provides courses in various formats, including quick lessons, extensive lectures, and workshops. With such a wide range of course options, students can pick the one that best suits their requirements and areas of interest;
  • Interactive Learning: The interactive nature of Skillshare courses enables students to engage with the subject matter actively and put their learning to use. Numerous courses feature practical assignments that students can complete to hone their skills. In addition, Skillshare provides a community of students and teachers who may offer support and comments, fostering a collaborative learning environment;
  • Affordable Pricing: Skillshare is available to various students because of its low cost. A free membership option provides access to a constrained number of courses. In contrast, a premium membership, open for a monthly or annual fee, grants unrestricted access to the whole course collection. With this price structure, students can select the degree of access that best suits their needs regarding cost and learning objectives;
  • High-Quality Instructors: The instructors on Skillshare are professionals in their disciplines and authorities in their respective industries, giving students a wealth of information and expertise. Learners receive a top-notch education from qualified and experienced professors because instructors are carefully chosen and vetted;
  • Flexibility: Skillshare is flexible in terms of scheduling and pacing. Students can fit learning into their busy lives by choosing their speed and course timetable. In addition, classes are offered on demand, allowing students to start and stop as needed without worrying about skipping or falling behind.

Skillshare Weaknesses

The following factors are considered Skillshare’s weaknesses:

  • Quality Control Issues: Lack of quality control is one of Skillshare’s most significant flaws. Skillshare, unlike other e-learning sites like Udemy, enables anyone to become a teacher and develop courses. Because of this, some courses might not meet the required caliber, depth, or accuracy. Due to a lack of quality control, pupils may be given inaccurate or out-of-date information;
  • Limited Course Selection: Skillshare’s small selection of courses is another shortcoming. Although Skillshare has a large selection of courses, it does not have the same depth of content as websites like Udemy or Coursera. Moreover, some courses might not be as thorough as others, leaving students dissatisfied;
  • Pricing Structure: The business model for Skillshare is subscription-based. Although it may seem like an excellent deal, consumers who only need to take one or two courses may find it a drawback. Customers who want to enroll in only one course must pay for the entire month, which might not be economical. The total cost of learning on Skillshare is reasonably high because some courses can need additional fees or supplies;
  • Lack of Accreditation: Skillshare courses are not certified, so they cannot be used to fulfill academic or professional requirements. This may not be a problem for people who want to pick up a new interest or talent, but it may be for those who wish to use the courses to advance their careers or increase the strength of their resumes.

Skillshare Opportunities

Written below are some opportunities that Skillshare can enjoy:

  • More Courses Selection: Even though there is quite a wide selection of courses on the platform, Skillshare can add more to this broad array, especially by including the recent competencies the 21st-century workplace demands.  As such, there would be something for everyone, from business to technology to creative arts. Due to this, students can explore different topics and enroll in classes that best suit their interests and needs;
  • Affordable Learning: With a subscription-based pricing structure, Skillshare provides accessible educational options. The company can make this more affordable by providing pricing options for individuals who want to take individual courses instead of subjecting everyone to a fixed monthly fee. This will enable more students to enroll on the platform and broaden their knowledge;
  • Community Building: Skillshare allows learners to connect with other students and instructors. This community-building opportunity will enable learners to connect with like-minded individuals, share their knowledge, and collaborate on projects. This social aspect of learning can be enhanced through physical meetings and real-time project developments in the different countries Skillshare operates. 

Skillshare Threats

The following are threats to Skillshare:

  • Competition from Other E-Learning Platforms: Other e-learning platforms’ competitiveness is among Skillshare’s key dangers. Online platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning offer similar courses with even more depth, thoroughness, and affordability. This competition may impact the user base and revenue streams of Skillshare;
  • Dependence on User-Generated Content: Skillshare mainly relies on user-generated content for its courses. Everyone can teach and learn from anyone else, but there is a problem with quality control because of this. Specific courses might be unreliable or deceptive, resulting in lousy feedback and diminished credibility;
  • Limited Monetization Options for Instructors: Skillshare only provides a few monetization alternatives for educators. Although course sales and excellent recommendations might bring in money for instructors, these earnings are sometimes insufficient to support a full-time job. This restriction may result in a shortage of competent teachers on the site, affecting users’ learning experiences;
  • Dependency on Subscriber Retention: The business strategy for Skillshare is subscription-based payments. This reliance may impact the platform’s sustainability on subscriber retention. Skillshare’s revenue sources could be significantly affected if subscribers quit their memberships or don’t renew them;
  • Cybersecurity Threats: As an online platform, Skillshare is vulnerable to cybersecurity risks like malware, data leaks, and hacking. These dangers have the potential to affect platform functionality and compromise user data. Skillshare’s reputation and user confidence might suffer significantly if a security compromise happens.


Skillshare has changed the way people acquire new skills online. Thanks to its extensive selection of courses taught by professionals in various industries, it has become a well-liked platform for anyone wishing to upgrade their skills or learn something new. Its community-oriented approach and subscription-based model enable learners to connect with peers and experts while offering convenient and affordable access to high-quality education. 

Regarding money and ownership, Skillshare has gone through multiple investment rounds and attracted illustrious investors, including Amasia, Spark Capital, and Union Square Ventures. The company has also purchased several smaller startups to broaden its scope and product offerings. However, there is still room for improvement. Skillshare must strengthen its unique selling proposition to remain a global leader in the online learning industry.



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