Deal To Watch: Expedia for Executive Education

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At time of publication, June 25th, 2019 Coursealytics has raised $127,000 of the $600,000 seed funding.
The Coursalytics team has been selected as a “Deal To Watch” by KingsCrowd. This distinction is reserved for deals selected into the top 10-20% of our due diligence funnel. If you have questions regarding our deal diligence and selection methodology please reach out to


The US Executive Education Market is expected to reach $1.17 billion by 2022. On average the top tier business schools gained 11% of their revenues from executive education. Despite this growing trend, on average 50% of executive education seats at top-tier schools are unsold.

In 2018, 70% of MBA programs reported a drop in applications. The top two reasons were international students concerned about the political climate in the US as well as a strong job market. New foreign student enrollment in the U.S. dropped by 6.6 percent in the 2017-18 academic year, double the previous year’s rate of decline.

Full-time MBA programs have seen a decrease in interest while interest in their Executive Education programs have increased. The desire for education is unchanged, and this era of personalization has trickled down to education. People want business training and are less interested in the significant time commitment of a full MBA. Additionally, Universities are increasingly relying on revenue from Executive Education, yet classes are being run with empty seats, thus not maximizing the fixed cost of the classes.

US Corporations spend a whopping $160 Billion each year on employee training and education. Unfortunately, most executives do not think they are receiving value for their spending. 


What if there was a comprehensive marketplace for a company or an individual to search for the right executive education course at the right time and location to fit their specific needs?

Coursalytics core product is an online course booking platform which allows any user to search, compare and book short, executive-level courses from over four hundred providers whether online or in-person. Additionally, Coursealytics has a data set of over 7,500 reviews from participants in courses taken on their website, which they are planning to launch to supplement the user’s ability to find the optimal course to fit their needs. 

While the platform is central, Coursalytics mission is to solve the large inefficiency issue in the executive education space on both sides. The executive or chief learning officer struggles to find the right course to suit their needs while the course provider rarely fills more than 50% of their seats. 

Coursalytics management understands the business of Universities and reluctance to enter into an agreement with a startup. While Coursalytics reportedly has contracted to sell courses from fourteen universities, they are able to gather revenues from the remainder of their bookings through value-added services. The strategy is to build the volume of users in the marketplace to monetize both sides of the transaction.


Coursalytics has two distinct consumers; customers, students or Chief Learning Officers and suppliers; Universities or other executive education course creators. On the consumer side, Coursalytics serves Executives/Entrepreneurs willing to pay for targeted, intense (short) course to fill in knowledge gaps. Often there is an HR executive who is selecting and paying for the education. 

On the supplier side, Coursalytics is assisting the excess capacity in the executive education market. According to CEO, Ilya Breyman, the average top tier executive education class is only 50% full. Lower tier programs can have as many as 75% of the seats unfilled.


At this point there is no direct competitor for Coursalytics. The closest direct competitor is the Economist ExecEd, but it is a different business. The Economist has a site for people to sort through some Executive Education courses. Then the user fills out a form, ExecEd emails it to the provider and the consumer waits to be contacted. It is essentially a lead generation platform. The student can not book an executive education class through the site. 

Alternatively, there are a variety of online courses from providers such as Coursera, Lynda, etc… These are typically referred to as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). While there is excitement and has been promised opportunity in online education for the past few decades, only 10% of executive education revenues come from online platforms. 

The Team

Ilya Breyman is the founder and CEO. Prior to founding Coursalytics, Breyman spent over a decade working in the talent acquisition industry. Alex Dolinskiy is the founder and director of University Relations. Before Coursalytics, Dolinskiv worked in public policy and talent acquisition. Dolinskiv is a PhD in international relations.

Coursalytics was launched after the founders experienced the pain of identifying the optimal executive education course to meet their needs. They were shocked at the fragmented market, with no central hub to compare options. Their combined experiences in talent acquisition and public policy enabled them to tap their network to explore the problem and thus collaborate on the solution.

Why We Like it

1. Channel Strategy: Coursalytics founders are wisely focused in the most efficient acquisition strategy. The company initially pursued corporate HR to include Coursalytics in internal procurement offerings. Quickly, they realized the more efficient strategy is to pursue consumers through SEO and social media. Breyman stated while he welcomes an agreement with a corporation, Coursalytics can build market share more effectively through attracting the end user.

2. Market Timing: Full time MBA programs have seen a decrease in applications. In fact some are shutting down according to a recent WSJ article. The article reports people are less likely to view the value of taking two years off working combined with the generalist approach of an MBA. Consumers want quicker, more targeted knowledge such as Executive Education.

Additionally, business schools are increasingly relying on revenues from executive MBA’s. While online executive education is growing in popularity, roughly 85% of executive education is in person. 

3. Product: Coursalytics focus on the consumer demand side of the business is centered around developing a strong, customized experience for the user. The company is ready in the next few weeks to launch reviews on the site. They have collected thousands of reviews from customers who have taken courses and will push this feature live. Future software updates will utilize artificial learning elements to customize course recommendations meeting the individual consumer’s personalized needs.

4. Advisors: Coursalytics assembled an advisory board with key contacts in MBA programs as well as HR executives. The advisors listed in their pitch deck are different than those on the SeedInvest site. Coursalytics management seems to understand the importance of partnering with key contacts in academia as well as talent acquisition industries. These advisors include: 

    • Serguei Netessine – vice dean for Global Initiatives at Wharton with a specialty in executive education.
    • Greg Marchi – Assistant Dean of Executive Education at Texas A & M.
    • Abdushelishvili George – Chairman of the Board, Ward Howell’s Talent Equity Institute.
    • Stanislav Shekshnia – Senior Affiliate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise, Insead.


Coursalytics is a Deal To Watch. Coursalytics is building an offering not available anywhere else in the executive education marketplace. The rising popularity of executive education might mean consumers want to utilize a marketplace to find the best fit. Then again, executive education has existed for a long time without such a product. It is easy to deduce consumers would want a marketplace, but maybe the lack of marketplace is because there is not a ton of demand just yet. 

On the other hand, Coursalytics unique offering, Expedia for executive education, could be the essential tool executives never knew they were missing. If executed properly, the launch of reviews for courses will provide it with a competitive advantage. At this point course executive education reviews are published largely by the university, which is hosting the course, clearly a potential conflict of interest. Coursalytics can serve as an objective 3rd party collector of reviews. 

As executive education continues to increase in popularity, Coursalytics can position themselves as an indispensable source for end users to find the perfect course to meet their needs via reviews and sophisticated AI. If successful, Coursalytics will reach a tipping point in which Universities will solicit the company to ensure their courses are available on the platform. Coursalytics can potentially provide a university targeted information about developing future offerings to meet demand.

Universities have capacity to supply more lucrative executive education. Executive education seekers currently have a fragmented marketplace to search for the best fit to fulfill their needs. Coursalytics may have the right formula to capture these divergent needs and may have enough of a head start on the market to defend their lead.

It’s been proven in travel (Expedia,, banking (Nerdwallet), cars (Car & Driver) and many more markets that an aggregator/review provider is needed and can be a big business. As an early mover in a nascent but growing market, we think Coursalytics is well positioned to become the leading aggregator/review website. Time will tell if the market is fruitful enough to make this a huge business. 

About: Meridith Taylor

Meridith Blank Taylor has spent the past two decades providing strategic guidance to early stage businesses. Meridith has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago.

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