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Coursera receives lots of attention in the business of helping millions of people take free courses online. Now, Udemy has a shot at becoming just as big of a name.

The startup announced $32 million in new funding today.

Udemy offers some free courses, while it charges for others. It claims more than 3 million students, up 50 percent from January; while Coursera had hit 5 million as of October 2013. Competitor Udacity had more 1.6 million students by that time; and edX, a non-profit organization, claimed more than 1.3 million.

With its new funding, Udemy can expand the list of content it offers and grow its footprint around the globe. The company can also provide better tooling to help teachers create courses for Udemy.

But other massively open online course (MOOC) providers have been picking up funding recently, too, just as they have taken on more students. Coursera took $20 million in November and $43 million in July. Udacity raised $15 million in October 2012.

Meanwhile, companies like Desire2Learn, Lynda, Moodle, Pluralsight, Simplilearn, Skillshare, and Treehouse also provide online courses.

Norwest Venture Partners led today’s funding for Udemy. Insight Venture Partners and MHS Capital also participated. (MHS Capital’s Mark Sugarman is also an investor in VentureBeat.)

To date, Udemy has raised $48 million.


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