Teachable helps creators earn over $1B with Stripe

Teachable is a simple platform that empowers over 100,000 creators, coaches, and businesses to produce online courses and coaching services to share their knowledge. It gives creators powerful tools to create, market, and sell their online learning experiences and ensures that they receive the majority of their profits. Since 2013, Teachable has expanded its Stripe partnership from enabling subscription payments to providing the complete payments infrastructure that has allowed creators to earn more than $1 billion to date.

Products used

    Payments
    Billing
    Connect
    Radar
North America
Startup

Challenge

Teachable founder Ankur Nagpal was struggling to find a solution that not only made it easy to sell his courses online, but didn’t take a huge cut of his revenue. He launched Teachable in 2013 to help creators build and sell online courses on a platform that enabled them to keep a greater share of their earnings.

Initially, creators could accept payments from their students using third-party payment gateways integrated with the Teachable platform. But, over the years, creators started building bigger businesses and wanted advanced functionality and controls, including more payment options for their students and better payout management. In addition to meeting the growing needs of its users, Teachable also had an opportunity to unlock a meaningful revenue stream by embedding payments directly in the Teachable platform.

To provide a more robust and intuitive payment experience for its creators, Teachable needed a flexible payments solution that it could easily embed into its platform. What’s more, the solution had to support its international growth ambitions, provide protection against potential fraud or compliance issues, and enable payments monetization.

Solution

Teachable wanted to get up and running quickly and didn't have time to create a complex payments infrastructure from scratch. It considered Braintree, Adyen, Tipalti, and others, but eventually chose Stripe. Teachable already had an existing relationship with Stripe, which it used to collect subscription payments from creators. Teachable also preferred Stripe’s relative speed of implementation and other features, like Stripe Radar for fraud prevention.

“We wanted to enable our creators with seamless and simple payment options that could get them up and running almost immediately,” said Tabitha Hickman, chief financial officer and general manager at Teachable. “Our existing solutions required us to hold payments for 30 days. Obviously, creators wanted those payments faster, so we let them open their own Stripe Connect Express accounts to access those funds almost immediately. That was very popular with our creators.”

With Stripe, Teachable could easily allow creators to split payments between collaborators, simplify payments compliance and “know your customer” identity verifications, improve fraud management capabilities, and streamline international payments as the company expanded across the globe. Teachable could also unlock a powerful new revenue stream by earning a share of each payment transaction between creators and their students.

“We did enough investigation to know it could take years to implement a comprehensive payments platform,” Hickman added. “With Stripe, it took three months and only three engineers.”

Results

Since launching Teachable Payments—its new, branded, and embedded payments solution—Teachable has seen a 140% increase in payments revenue growth. With Teachable Payments, creators can get started in minutes, accept payments from students around the world, set custom payout schedules, and streamline administrative tasks.

Easier, faster payments across the globe

Hickman said: “As we expand globally, cross-border opportunities outside the US make up 50% of our business. Stripe makes it easy for our creators to sell courses to students around the world.”

With Teachable Payments, creators can accept payment in more than 130 currencies and multiple payment methods, including Apple Pay and Google Pay. Teachable has also made it easy to handle VAT and other taxes by collecting and remitting VAT, GST, and other sales taxes in the US, EU, and 16 other countries around the world.

Better tools to run their businesses

Marissa Fong, head of product, money, at Teachable, said: “Part of our value proposition for creators is having payment management built into the integrated Teachable experience. We’re committed to making the hard things easy, and Stripe allows us to do that.” Creators can automate payouts schedules to receive course earnings daily, weekly, or monthly, and rely on Teachable to automatically handle any chargebacks or disputes.

Teachable also has tools to run its payments business on the macro level. With the Stripe Dashboard, Teachable teams can monitor trends in payment volume, geographies, and chargebacks, helping them make strategic decisions and get ahead of any potential compliance or risk challenges.

Protection against fraud, confidence in accepting payments

To protect their platform and creators, Hickman explains, “We use Radar to create custom ‘block and allow’ lists so Stripe can automatically deny fraudulent charges. Radar also lets us see the IP address behind charges, which we can compare with the user’s IP and instantly see if there’s a mismatch that could indicate fraud. But what our fraud team really likes is being able to use Radar instantly instead of having to buy and integrate third-party tools.”

Stripe helps us provide value to our creators with streamlined payments, and just makes our payments infrastructure simpler and more insightful for our users and businesses.

Marissa Fong, Head of Product

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