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Company > 2U Inc: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

2U Inc: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Published: Jan 23, 2023

Inside This Article


    In this blog article, we will delve into the business model of 2U Inc, a leading educational technology company. We will explore the key components of their business model and how it has contributed to their success in the industry. Additionally, we will conduct a SWOT analysis to identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Finally, we will examine the competitive landscape and identify the major players that pose a challenge to 2U Inc's growth and market dominance in the year 2023.

    What You Will Learn:

    • Who owns 2U Inc and what their ownership structure looks like.
    • The mission statement of 2U Inc and how it guides their business operations.
    • How 2U Inc generates revenue and the primary sources of their income.
    • An in-depth explanation of 2U Inc's business model canvas and how it is structured.
    • A list of the main competitors of 2U Inc in the education technology industry.
    • A comprehensive SWOT analysis of 2U Inc, highlighting their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the market.

    Who owns 2U Inc?


    2U Inc is a publicly traded company, listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol TWOU. As a publicly traded company, ownership of 2U Inc is distributed among various institutional and individual investors who hold shares of the company's stock. In this section, we will explore the different types of shareholders and provide an overview of the ownership structure of 2U Inc.

    Institutional Shareholders

    Institutional shareholders play a significant role in the ownership of 2U Inc. These are typically large financial institutions, such as mutual funds, pension funds, and investment firms, that manage vast amounts of money on behalf of their clients. Institutional shareholders often have the resources and expertise to conduct extensive research and analysis before making investment decisions. They may hold substantial positions in 2U Inc, influencing the company's direction and strategy.

    Some notable institutional shareholders of 2U Inc include Vanguard Group, BlackRock, and Fidelity Management & Research Company. These institutions are known for their long-term investment approach and often have diversified portfolios that include shares of various companies across different sectors.

    Insider Ownership

    Insider ownership refers to the shares of a company that are held by its executives, directors, and other individuals closely associated with the organization. These insiders have in-depth knowledge about the company's operations, strategies, and future prospects, which can influence their investment decisions.

    As of the latest available information, insiders collectively own a significant portion of 2U Inc. This demonstrates the confidence and commitment of the company's management team in its long-term success. Insiders may include the CEO, CFO, board members, and other key executives who have a vested interest in the company's performance.

    Individual Shareholders

    Individual shareholders also play a role in the ownership of 2U Inc. These are retail investors who purchase shares of the company's stock through brokerage accounts or other investment platforms. Individual shareholders may have different motivations for investing in 2U Inc, ranging from seeking capital appreciation to supporting the company's mission and products.

    While the ownership percentage of individual shareholders may not be as substantial as institutional investors or insiders, their collective ownership can still have an impact on the company. Individual shareholders may express their opinions and exercise their voting rights during annual general meetings, influencing strategic decisions and corporate governance.


    The ownership of 2U Inc is distributed among institutional shareholders, insiders, and individual investors. Large financial institutions, such as Vanguard Group and BlackRock, hold significant positions in the company. Insiders, including executives and directors, also own a considerable portion of the company's shares. Additionally, individual shareholders contribute to the ownership structure of 2U Inc. This diverse ownership base reflects the confidence and support that various stakeholders have in the company's future prospects and growth.

    What is the mission statement of 2U Inc?

    The Mission Statement of 2U Inc: Unlocking the Potential of Higher Education

    2U Inc, an educational technology company founded in 2008, has a clear and compelling mission statement that drives its operations and initiatives. This mission statement can be summarized as follows:

    "2U Inc aims to unlock the potential of higher education by partnering with top universities to deliver the world's best online degree programs."

    The mission statement encapsulates the fundamental goal of 2U Inc, which is to revolutionize the traditional higher education landscape. By leveraging technology, innovation, and strategic partnerships, 2U Inc seeks to provide access to high-quality education for students all around the globe.

    Fostering Collaborative Partnerships

    At the core of 2U Inc's mission is the emphasis on collaboration with prestigious universities. Through strategic partnerships, the company works hand in hand with these institutions to design, develop, and deliver online degree programs that mirror the rigor and excellence associated with traditional, on-campus education.

    By fostering these collaborative relationships, 2U Inc ensures that its programs meet the highest academic standards, leveraging the expertise of renowned faculty members and the resources of esteemed universities. This commitment to partnering with top-tier institutions enables 2U Inc to offer students an unparalleled educational experience.

    Harnessing the Power of Technology

    2U Inc recognizes the transformative potential of technology in the field of education. By harnessing the power of digital platforms, the company aims to create immersive and interactive learning environments. These platforms integrate cutting-edge instructional tools, multimedia resources, and real-time collaboration features to enhance the student experience.

    The mission statement reflects 2U Inc's dedication to leveraging technology to expand access to education. Through its innovative approach, the company strives to remove barriers such as geographical limitations, allowing students from diverse backgrounds to pursue their academic goals without sacrificing quality or flexibility.

    Empowering Students for Success

    Ultimately, 2U Inc's mission is centered around empowering students and helping them succeed in their educational journey. By providing access to high-quality online degree programs, the company enables individuals to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in their chosen fields.

    Through its mission statement, 2U Inc emphasizes the importance of student success and the commitment to supporting learners throughout their academic journey. This includes ongoing support services, such as student success coaching, technical assistance, and access to a vibrant online community that fosters collaboration and networking.

    In conclusion, 2U Inc's mission statement reflects its dedication to unlocking the potential of higher education through strategic partnerships with top universities, harnessing the power of technology, and empowering students for success. By staying true to this mission, 2U Inc continues to make a significant impact in the realm of online education, revolutionizing the way students access and engage with higher learning opportunities.

    How does 2U Inc make money?

    Tuition and Fees

    One of the primary ways that 2U Inc generates revenue is through tuition and fees paid by students enrolled in their partner university programs. When students enroll in an online degree or short course offered by a university partnered with 2U, they are required to pay tuition fees directly to the university. 2U then receives a portion of this tuition revenue as part of their agreement with the university.

    Revenue Share

    In addition to tuition and fees, 2U Inc also earns money through revenue sharing arrangements with their partner universities. Under these agreements, 2U receives a percentage of the revenue generated by the online programs they develop and manage for the universities. This revenue share model incentivizes both 2U and the universities to work together to attract more students and increase program enrollment, as it directly impacts their financial success.

    Program Development and Implementation

    Another way that 2U Inc generates revenue is through program development and implementation fees. When partnering with a university, 2U invests significant resources into developing and launching high-quality online programs. These expenses include hiring instructional designers, creating online course content, and developing the necessary technology infrastructure. The universities pay 2U for these services, ensuring that 2U recoups their upfront costs and generates revenue for their expertise in online program development.

    Additional Services

    2U Inc offers a range of additional services to their partner universities, which also contribute to their revenue stream. These services may include marketing and recruitment support, technical support for students and faculty, and ongoing program management. The universities pay for these services, allowing 2U to generate additional revenue beyond the initial program development and implementation fees.


    In summary, 2U Inc generates revenue through a variety of channels. Tuition and fees paid by students enrolled in partner university programs, revenue sharing agreements, program development and implementation fees, and additional services provided to their partner universities all contribute to the company's revenue stream. These revenue streams allow 2U to continue expanding their partnerships and developing innovative online education programs.

    2U Inc Business Model Canvas Explained


    The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management tool that helps businesses visualize, analyze, and communicate their business models. In this section, we will delve into the business model canvas of 2U Inc, a leading educational technology company.

    Key Partnerships

    2U Inc operates in the online education sector, partnering with prestigious universities to deliver high-quality degree programs. These partnerships are crucial for the company's success as they provide access to renowned faculty and established curriculum. By collaborating with universities, 2U Inc gains credibility and access to a wide network of potential students.

    Additionally, 2U Inc forms partnerships with technology and service providers to enhance the online learning experience. These partners offer specialized tools and services that support the delivery of online courses, such as learning management systems, video conferencing platforms, and academic support services. These collaborations enable 2U Inc to provide a seamless and effective online education platform.

    Key Activities

    The primary activity of 2U Inc is the development and delivery of online degree programs. This involves working closely with partner universities to design and create engaging and interactive course content. The company also invests in technological infrastructure and software development to ensure smooth delivery of courses and optimal user experience.

    2U Inc places significant emphasis on marketing and recruitment to attract prospective students. They employ various marketing strategies, including digital advertising, social media campaigns, and targeted email marketing. Additionally, the company actively engages in student recruitment efforts, leveraging its partnerships with universities to reach potential students.

    Value Proposition

    2U Inc's value proposition is centered around providing high-quality online education that is on par with traditional, on-campus degree programs. They achieve this by partnering with prestigious universities and offering rigorous curriculum taught by experienced faculty members. By providing an immersive and interactive online learning environment, 2U Inc ensures that students receive a comprehensive education that equips them with the skills and knowledge needed for their desired careers.

    Customer Segments

    2U Inc primarily targets working professionals who seek to advance their careers or acquire new skills through online education. These individuals may already be employed and are looking for flexible education options that can be pursued alongside their jobs. By offering online degree programs, 2U Inc caters to this specific segment of learners who value convenience and flexibility.

    Additionally, 2U Inc also targets undergraduate students who prefer the flexibility of online education or seek access to programs not available at their local universities. By expanding their customer segments to include undergraduate students, 2U Inc can tap into a broader market and increase their revenue streams.


    Understanding the Business Model Canvas of 2U Inc provides insights into the company's key partnerships, activities, value proposition, and customer segments. By partnering with prestigious universities and leveraging technology, 2U Inc has successfully established itself as a leader in the online education industry. Through their commitment to providing high-quality online degree programs, they continue to attract and serve a diverse range of students, helping them achieve their educational and career goals.

    Which companies are the competitors of 2U Inc?

    Competitors of 2U Inc in the Online Education Market

    2U Inc, a leading education technology company, faces competition from several other players in the online education market. These companies provide similar services and solutions, targeting both traditional and non-traditional students seeking flexible and accessible learning opportunities. Here are some of the main competitors of 2U Inc:

    1. Coursera: Coursera is one of the largest online learning platforms, offering a wide range of courses from top universities and institutions around the world. With a user-friendly interface and a vast library of courses, Coursera competes directly with 2U Inc in terms of online course offerings and partnerships with prestigious universities.

    2. Udacity: Udacity focuses on providing industry-specific courses and nanodegree programs that are designed to equip students with practical skills for specific job roles. With a strong emphasis on technology and career-oriented learning, Udacity competes with 2U Inc's emphasis on professional and specialized education.

    3. Udemy: Udemy is an online marketplace that allows individual instructors to create and sell their own courses. It offers a wide variety of courses across multiple disciplines, making it a popular choice among learners looking for specific skills or interests. While Udemy operates on a different business model compared to 2U Inc, it competes with its diverse course offerings and affordable pricing.

    4. Pearson Online Learning Services: Pearson is a well-established education company that offers a range of learning solutions, including online programs and courses. Through its Online Learning Services division, Pearson competes with 2U Inc by providing online degree programs and corporate training solutions to universities and organizations.

    5. FutureLearn: FutureLearn is a UK-based online learning platform that partners with universities and institutions to offer courses and degrees online. With a focus on social learning and a global user base, FutureLearn competes with 2U Inc in terms of its international reach and collaborative learning features.

    6. Pluralsight: Pluralsight is an online learning platform that specializes in technology-related courses and skill development. It offers a subscription-based model with a vast library of video courses, making it a direct competitor to 2U Inc in terms of technical and IT-focused education.

    These are just a few examples of the competitors that 2U Inc faces in the online education market. As the demand for online education continues to grow, the competition in this space is expected to intensify, driving companies like 2U Inc to innovate and differentiate their offerings to stay ahead in the market.

    2U Inc SWOT Analysis


    • Strong brand recognition and reputation in the online education industry.
    • Wide range of partnerships with prestigious universities and colleges.
    • Robust technology platform that enables seamless online learning experiences.
    • Diverse portfolio of programs and courses across various disciplines.
    • Experienced management team with deep industry knowledge and expertise.


    • Reliance on a few key partners for a significant portion of revenue.
    • High operating costs due to investments in technology infrastructure and marketing.
    • Limited presence in international markets compared to competitors.
    • Vulnerability to regulatory changes and evolving accreditation requirements.
    • Potential challenges in maintaining consistent quality across various programs and institutions.


    • Growing demand for online education and distance learning options.
    • Expansion into international markets to tap into the global education market.
    • Potential partnerships with additional universities and colleges to diversify revenue sources.
    • Development of specialized programs to cater to niche markets and industries.
    • Integration of emerging technologies such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence into online learning experiences.


    • Intense competition from established online education providers and traditional institutions.
    • Potential disruptions caused by technological advancements and changes in learning preferences.
    • Regulatory and accreditation challenges in new markets.
    • Economic downturns and budget cuts impacting higher education spending.
    • Negative public perception or backlash against online education and its effectiveness.

    Key Takeaways

    • 2U Inc is owned by a combination of institutional investors and individual stakeholders, with the largest shareholders being BlackRock and The Vanguard Group.

    • The mission statement of 2U Inc is to eliminate the back row in higher education by partnering with top universities to offer online degree programs that are accessible and convenient for students.

    • 2U Inc generates revenue through a revenue-sharing model with its partner universities, where the company receives a percentage of the tuition fees paid by students enrolled in their online programs.

    • The Business Model Canvas of 2U Inc revolves around key activities such as university partnerships, technology development, marketing, and student support services, all enabling the delivery of high-quality online education.

    • Some of the competitors of 2U Inc include Coursera, Udacity, and Pearson, who also offer online education platforms and services.

    • In terms of SWOT analysis, 2U Inc's strengths lie in its strong university partnerships and established brand reputation. However, it faces weaknesses such as high operating costs and potential dependence on partner universities. Opportunities for growth include the increasing demand for online education, while threats include competition from other online learning providers and potential regulatory changes.


    In conclusion, 2U Inc is a leading educational technology company that partners with universities to deliver online degree programs. While the company was founded by John Katzman, Chip Paucek, and Rob Cohen, it is now publicly traded and owned by various shareholders.

    The mission statement of 2U Inc is to eliminate the back row in higher education by helping universities deliver high-quality, accessible education to students around the world. They aim to transform the way students learn and interact with educational content through innovative online platforms.

    2U Inc generates revenue through various sources, including tuition fees paid by students enrolled in their partner university programs. They also offer technology and support services to their university partners, which further contributes to their revenue stream.

    The company's business model canvas revolves around building strategic partnerships with universities, providing technology infrastructure and support, and offering marketing and enrollment services. This allows 2U Inc to create a sustainable and scalable model for online education delivery.

    In terms of competition, 2U Inc faces competition from other online education platforms and service providers. Some of its notable competitors include Coursera, Udacity, and edX. These companies also offer online courses and degrees, making the online education market highly competitive.

    A SWOT analysis of 2U Inc reveals its strengths in strong university partnerships and innovative technology platforms. However, it also faces challenges in terms of increasing competition, potential regulatory changes, and the need to constantly adapt to evolving educational trends.

    Overall, 2U Inc has positioned itself as a leader in the online education industry, driven by its mission to expand access to quality education. With its unique business model and strategic partnerships, the company continues to make a significant impact in the higher education landscape.


    What is a 2.1 SWOT analysis?

    A 2.1 SWOT analysis is a modified version of the traditional SWOT analysis that incorporates two additional elements: opportunities and threats. The "2" in 2.1 refers to the two additional elements, while the ".1" signifies that it is an extension of the original SWOT analysis.

    In a 2.1 SWOT analysis, the four main components are:

    1. Strengths: Internal factors that give an organization a competitive advantage or unique capabilities.
    2. Weaknesses: Internal factors that put an organization at a disadvantage or limit its capabilities.
    3. Opportunities: External factors or situations that could benefit the organization or create new possibilities.
    4. Threats: External factors or situations that could negatively impact the organization or pose risks.

    By including opportunities and threats in the analysis, organizations can gain a more comprehensive understanding of their internal strengths and weaknesses in relation to the external environment. This helps in developing strategies and making informed decisions to maximize strengths, address weaknesses, take advantage of opportunities, and mitigate threats.

    How can I find a SWOT analysis on a company?

    There are several ways to find a SWOT analysis on a company:

    1. Company website: Check if the company you are interested in has a section on their website that provides a SWOT analysis or similar strategic information. Some companies publish their SWOT analysis as part of their annual reports or investor presentations.

    2. Business databases: Utilize business databases such as ProQuest, EBSCO, or Business Source Complete. These databases contain a wide range of articles, reports, and other publications that may include SWOT analyses on various companies.

    3. Industry reports: Look for industry reports from market research firms such as IBISWorld, Statista, or MarketResearch.com. These reports often include SWOT analyses of major companies within the industry.

    4. Business news websites: Visit reputable business news websites like Bloomberg, Forbes, or Reuters. They often publish articles or analysis pieces that discuss a company's SWOT analysis, especially during significant events or milestones.

    5. Business and financial publications: Explore business magazines, newspapers, or journals like The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, or Fortune. These publications often publish SWOT analyses along with other insights on companies.

    6. Online search: Conduct a simple online search using the company's name and "SWOT analysis." This may lead you to websites, blogs, or forums where individuals or analysts have shared or discussed SWOT analyses of the company.

    Remember, while accessing external SWOT analyses can provide valuable insights, it's important to critically evaluate the sources and consider multiple perspectives to form a well-rounded understanding of the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

    What are the 5 elements of SWOT analysis?

    The 5 elements of SWOT analysis are:

    1. Strengths: Internal factors or resources that give an advantage to the organization over others. These could be expertise, unique products or services, strong brand reputation, or efficient processes.

    2. Weaknesses: Internal factors that put the organization at a disadvantage compared to others. These could be lack of resources, outdated technology, poor customer service, or high employee turnover.

    3. Opportunities: External factors or trends in the market that can be leveraged to the organization's advantage. These could be emerging markets, changes in regulations, new technologies, or growing consumer demand.

    4. Threats: External factors or challenges that pose a risk to the organization's success. These could be intense competition, economic downturns, changing consumer preferences, or new regulations.

    5. Trends: External factors that are likely to impact the organization in the future. These could include technological advancements, demographic shifts, environmental concerns, or social and cultural changes.

    What are the four 4 parts of SWOT analysis?

    The four parts of SWOT analysis are:

    1. Strengths: This involves identifying the internal factors and resources that give an organization an advantage over others. It includes aspects such as brand reputation, skilled workforce, unique products, and strong financial position.

    2. Weaknesses: This focuses on the internal factors that put an organization at a disadvantage compared to others. It involves analyzing areas where the organization lacks resources, skills, or competitive advantage, such as poor infrastructure, outdated technology, or limited market presence.

    3. Opportunities: This explores the external factors in the business environment that can be advantageous to the organization. It involves identifying potential areas for growth, market trends, emerging technologies, new customer segments, or favorable government policies.

    4. Threats: This examines the external factors that could potentially harm the organization's performance or hinder its growth. It includes analyzing competitive pressures, market saturation, economic downturns, changing consumer preferences, or regulatory changes that can negatively impact the organization.

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