Category: 4 Digital E-conomy By : Delbert Lim Read : 3011 Date : Friday, February 19, 2016 - 08:20:53

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    Zenius is an online education site that provides educational lessons both for free and on a paid basis. Its target audience is elementary to senior high school students, of which there are about 60 million in Indonesia. The roots of PT Zenius Education go back to 2004 when it was developed by founders Sabda P Subekti and Medy Suharta as a traditional merchant selling educational supplements in the form of CDs. This approach was problematic, as the CDs could be bootlegged by pirates, undermining sales. The technology was also slow and cumbersome to use.

    The duo became a trio when Sabda’s brother Wisnu OP Subekti joined as chief executive in 2007 right after graduating from Bandung Institute of technology. It was also around the same time that the founders had an epiphany at an education fair in 2008 when the Zenius team tried screencasting videos in an effort to speed up production and as an alternative approach to providing its content. During this fair they discovered, to their surprise, that most preferred the videos, rather than the flash animation used on the CDs.

    The trio decided to go online with Zenius.net, where users can access a range of free content such as blog articles and worksheets. However, users who want the full range of content, which includes over 40,000 videos and other materials, need to purchase an access voucher.

    Both the online and offline material contains educational content, such as videos explaining subject material and solutions to problems. Zenius is most popular with students sitting for SBMPTN, an annual examination for Indonesian students to gain entry into state universities in Indonesia. The national pass rate for this exam is under 20%, thus many students are looking for an edge to improve their pass rate and earn a chance at attending a state-run university.

    By 2013, users for the online and offline content hit 90,000 and by 2014 to 157,000. Today about one million users visit the site, with 38,000 buying the premium vouchers to June 2015, giving the company annualized revenue of more than Rp 10 billion. This year the founders expect those figures to rise by more 50%. The company employs 50 staff and has 41,000 videos. Total investment into the company has hit Rp 300 million. The company is owned 100% by the two founders and Wisnu.

    Zenius has not ignored its offline presence. Today its materials are sold through a network of distributors and resellers across the country, and even include T-shirts. It has established retail sales in Gramedia stores in 18 locations, including Jakarta, Surabaya, Makassar and Medan. While there are competitors in the online education industry, Zenius is the clear leader in terms of visitors and content. Zenius also still sells CDs called Xpedia 2.0.

    Wisnu described Zenius’s journey as full of challenges. The early stages were the hardest, he said, as they needed to essentially teach themselves the material before they could teach it to others. Thus, they tried to read every book available on a subject when preparing new content.