Jakarta. With over six million Indonesian students currently subscribed to its online platform, education startup Ruangguru has stepped up its publicity and government partnerships in the hopes of registering the remaining 48 million elementary, junior high, and high school students in the country.
The company started off the year by appointing a brand ambassador.
On Thursday (04/01), the company held a press conference and meet-and-greet with brand ambassador Iqbaal Ramadhan, a former member of the Cowboy Junior boyband and the leading actor in the upcoming teen movie "Dilan 1990."
Ruangguru chief executive Adamas Belva Syah Devara said that Iqbaal is not only talented in acting and music, but is academically gifted as well. Iqbaal is the only Indonesian student in his year enrolled at the Armand Hammer United World College in New Mexico -- a prestigious school that accepts only around 80 international students each year.
Moreover, Iqbaal's fans are mostly teenagers. This suits Ruangguru's target market of mostly primary school students.
"We also see that he has good engagement with his fans. We want to paint a picture that what's cool now isn't joining tawuran [student brawls] or being popular for something unimportant. Being smart is the new cool," Belva said.
Ruangguru will release its first television commercial featuring Iqbaal next week. Iqbaal has also taught in some English lesson videos on Ruangbelajar, a service that contains interactive material for self-study.
Partnering With Governmental Institutions
Established just three years ago, Ruangguru has now partnered with 32 provincial and 326 city/district administrations.
"Each school in the region is urged to use Ruangguru. In return, we will share the students' academic records with the government. We believe that the key problem in our education is a lack of data. So far there is only Dapodik [students' biodata], there is no data about the subjects our students excel or fail at. Therefore, the government's intervention is always unfocused," Belva told reporters.
The company has also planned to extend its service to non-students. A week ago, Ruangguru signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Industry to launch a service to educate small-medium enterprise (SME) owners about marketing, entrepreneurship and other aspects related to capacity building.
In October 2017, Ruangguru and app-based ride-hailing platform Go-Jek were the only startups invited to a meeting led by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo at the Bogor Palace in West Java to discuss how technological advancements can boost the quality of Indonesia's workforce.
Ruangguru has also eyed to collaborate with higher educational institutions and corporations. Belva hinted that it is in the process of signing a deal with a private university in Jakarta and a telecommunications company, though details about those arrangements are still scarce.
For now, the main focus is to gain more users and increase user engagement, as well as improve the quality of study materials and teachers.
"We're eyeing on how to up-skill teachers. That’s why we plan to launch a set of materials for them on our platform so that they can learn to improve their teaching," Ruangguru chief product and partnership officer Iman Usman said.