I found this letter from Erin Bali, co-founder of Udemy in 2010, utterly inspirational (thanks ZoPa). It is available on page 96 of the S1 Udemy just filed with the SEC last week for a Nasdaq IPO.
S1-page 96: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1607939/000119312521291460/d163445ds1.htm
Education has the power to transform the lives of human beings and nothing is more cruel than a country that denies education to its poorest, most vulnerable citizens. I witnessed this human tragedy myself while growing up as a son of a privileged family in Karachi, Pakistan but grasped early in life that the opportunities for global travel, books and learning gifted to me by my parents were unthinkable for untold millions of kids my own age whose parents happened to be poor and illiterate souls.
My deep respect for HH Prince Karim Aga Khan and the global Ismaili community stems from their passionate dedication to education and healthcare in the Islamic world. In the same vein I see the same passion for education that the visionary founders of the UAE have exhibited since the birth of the Federation.
The dominance of Indians in global technology and Silicon Valley venture capital only happened because Jawaharlal Nehru had the foresight to create the Indian Institutes of Technology 60 years ago. Now India is a $3 trillion economic colossus, well on the path to digital transformation and technological take-off. A nation should be proud of its literacy rate especially for its poor and female citizens. This is the reason Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani woman who won the Nobel Peace Prize is a true heroine and the Taliban gunmen who shot her in the head for the crime of being a school girl, the very embodiment of human evil.
The teachers of Pakistan are the only people who can arrest its descent into a Malthusian nightmare, not the parasitical military generals and black market nuclear proliferators being hailed as heroes. History proves that societies that glorify militaristic values are doomed to end up in its twilight zone while societies that celebrate learning amass wealth and soft power on an epic scale.
America gave me my university education and I first saw New York/Philly/San Fran/Miami from the eyes of a teenager. America is an easy place to fall in love with when you are 18 years old but, now decades later, the thrill of that first love still animates me.
Udemy, embodies all the values I cherish in life and I hope all my friends experience Udemy (UDMY) as a public company when it is born as the world’s pre-eminent EdTech market place on Nasdaq.
Matein Khalid is Chief Investment Officer at Asas Capital