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Udacity was started with the mission to democratize education. I wanted it to be the place for people to get an education to get a job to change their lives. Today, we have achieved that with millions enrolled in our free courses and more students in our Nanodegree programs than many four-year colleges.

Now, it’s time to scale our operations rapidly and begin the next chapter of Udacity. Three years ago, I recruited Vishal Makhijani to Udacity. Vish had most recently served as Zynga’s COO and SVP, overseeing some of its rapid growth in the gaming industry. He had also spent years at Yahoo scaling their operations. When Vish joined Udacity, we just started tossing around the idea of Nanodegree credentials and working closely with Silicon Valley tech giants. Since then, Vish has been an amazing partner in building our product and business in the United States and overseas so that we could raise $105 million in our most recent round.

Vish (1)

This is why I am pleased to have Vish take over the helm of CEO. This will give me the ability to focus my time on what I am most passionate about—innovation and hitting our next moon shots at Udacity—as president and chairman of the company I founded.

We have an amazing portfolio of new products and launches that I am really excited about. This week, we announced Udacity Connect, our way of offering physical meetups to our students. I was in China earlier this week launching our operations with global partners.  And, that’s just the start.

I am humbled by what we have achieved at Udacity to date but more excited for what lies ahead as I dig deeper into getting education right, one innovation after the other.  For the first time in history, we  have it in our grasp to empower students of all ages, geographies, and capabilities to learn new things and land dream jobs.  And, if we can truly democratize education, we will double the world’s GDP.

Onwards from here!

Sebastian Thrun
Sebastian Thrun
Sebastian Thrun is a scientist, educator, inventor, and entrepreneur. As the founder, president, and now executive chairman of Udacity, Sebastian’s mission is to democratize education by providing lifelong learning to millions of students worldwide. He is also the founder of Google X, where he led projects including the Self-Driving Car, Google Glass, and more. Previously, he led the Stanford Racing Team whose robot “Stanley” won the DARPA Grand Challenge. Sebastian has been named the 5th Most Creative Person in Business (Fast Company), among the 50 Smartest People in Tech (Fortune), and highlighted in 50 Best Inventions of 2010 (Time). He is the first recipient of the inaugural Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award for Education, and is also featured in the recent film Lo & Behold: Reveries of the Connected World by award-winning writer and director Werner Herzog.