Mail.ru Group announces establishment of new education holding based on Skillbox and GeekBrains

Once the two platforms, which are parts of the VK ecosystem, merge together, Skillbox Limited will become Russia’s leading educational service provider

Mail.ru Group will partner up with the founders of Skillbox and Alexander Galitsky’s private fund to establish Skllbox Limited, an education holding based on Skillbox and GeekBrains. Following the deal, Mail.ru Group will remain the majority shareholder with a stake of 50.06%, while Skillbox and Alexander Galitsky’s private fund will hold 22.72% and 14.21% respectively, and another 13% will be reserved for a long-term employee incentive program.

The merger of Skillbox and GeekBrains will enable Skillbox Limited to take a stronger foothold and become No. 1 player in the Russian online education market. The companies will pool their financial resources together for the most efficient growth, scaling, and geography expansion. Mail.ru Group and the founders of Skillbox agreed on their further active participation in business development and management of the consolidated company. The education holding will be managed by Dmitry Krutov, co-founder and CEO of Skillbox.

The consolidated revenue of Skillbox and GeekBrains in H1 2021 totaled RUB 4.3 bn, up 2.3 times year-on-year (H1 2020: RUB 1.9 bn). The companies will continue to use the existing brands for promoting their educational products.

“I am more than convinced that in today’s world, online education is essential for everyone. It is the most accessible tool for learning from the best teachers and quickly acquiring new skills regardless of your physical location. By 2023, we are planning to make our educational projects available to ten million people, helping them master new subjects, grow professionally, obtain an occupation or move to a new field. We believe the emergence of the new holding company will contribute significantly to this goal,” said Boris Dobrodeev, CEO (Russia) of Mail.ru Group.

“We see our mission in developing the educational market. To this end, the merger of the two industry leaders will help us expand our product range and train professionals to spearhead the country's digital breakthrough,” commented Dmitry Krutov, co-founder and CEO of Skillbox.

Skillbox education format is on-demand. It includes pre-recorded video lectures enabling students to take courses at the time and place convenient to them. The company offers over 560 products: continuing professional education training courses, comprehensive programs in new and in-demand occupations, as well as bachelor's, master's and business education programs in partnership with Russia’s leading universities, and corporate training for business.

GeekBrains’ model is primarily based on real-time video lectures. Its portfolio includes more than 150 programs in various fields.