Growth Lessons from Gagan Biyani, Co-Founder of Udemy

Gagan Biyani — a co-founder of Udemy, a large online education company, and a former interim head of growth at Lyft — discusses his background as an entrepreneur, his bias for small businesses, the success of Growth Hackers Conference, and lessons he’s learned from building (and sometimes struggling to build) large companies.

Below are the slides and notes from his lecture, along with the video of his presentation, which includes a Q&A.

Video playback


Idea creation & evaluation with Gagan Biyani from HengQiu


  • “As soon as you take angel investor capital, you must go big” (meaning that you can’t have a moderate outcome)
  • Think twice whether you want to build a “startup” or a “bootstrapped business”
  • Always ask yourself: “Why and how is this market underserved?” 
  • Your core competency must align with what the market needs the most
  • Prioritize traction over “pixel-perfect”
  • Spammy? Or an imperfect way of getting the utility across?
  • Utility & Community are both important (look at Uber & Lyft)
  • Just by explicitly saying “I care about you” to your community makes a difference
  • Not all businesses should be VC-backed 
  • Analyze but don’t be afraid of competition 
  • Build relationships over time so they’re fertile in the long run