It is the outgrowth of free computer science classes offered in 2011 through Stanford University. Currently, Udacity has two courses running with four due to start in April. Thrun has stated he hopes half a million students will enroll, after an enrollment of 160,000 students in the predecessor course at Stanford, and 90,000 students had enrolled on the initial two classes as of March 2012.
Udacity was announced at the 2012 Digital Life Design conference. Udacity is funded by venture capital and $200,000 of Thrun's personal money.