Learning Curve
Category: Entrepreneurs By : Aastha Saboo & R Joe Regan Read : 238 Date : Wednesday, August 02, 2017 - 10:29:07




Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

Iman Usman, 25, and Belva Devara, 28, are the founders of Ruangguru, one of the country’s largest online educational marketplaces, connecting students, tutors and educational content. Since founding the site in 2014, the pair have grown it to a user base of five million students and 80,000 tutors. Over 1.5 million students have joined since April. The pair would like to get to six million students on the platform by year-end. “We saw that there were marketplaces for clothes, travel and other industries,” Belva says. “We wondered why there was nothing like this for education.”

Ruangguru, which translate as “teacher’s room,” provides a range of services. For example, for tutoring, students can book a tutor, with the first lesson free. After the first lesson, they continue on a paid basis or try someone else. Ruangguru takes a 20% commission on any sales. Their flagship product, Ruang Belajar, is a subscription based learning course, with a profit sharing model.

Ruangguru offers a range of other services, such as Ruangles, a private tutoring marketplace, Ruanglatihan for exercises and Ruanguji, for test-taking. The pair have also started partnerships as well. Last year, Ruangguru and Line co-launched Line Academy, in which students can simulate taking national tests online. The service signed up 3.2 million members within six months of launching.

Iman and Belva themselves are beneficiaries of Ivy league education—Iman studied at Columbia and Belva at Harvard. However, they said they came from families, which downplayed education. “I always knew if I want to change the fate of my life, I needed to choose education,” says Iman. The two managed to have an opportunity to go to Ivy League universities by being outstanding students, yet they drew inspiration for Ruangguru during their personal struggles to find tutors to help them study.

The two met while at McKinsey consultants. “Belva knew I was always interested in education and was involved in nonprofit activities since childhood. It was his idea to start a marketplace connecting students to quality teachers,” says Iman, who is the chief operating officer of Ruangguru. The two also were selected for Forbes Asia’s 30 under 30 list this year.

Ruangguru has also a growing partnership with the government. Stakeholders like parents and teachers can see how students are progressing online with tests and lessons. The site can also build up a valuable database of educational data that can be used for analysis. Ruangguru also provides government schools with online exams, which students can take on their own.

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