Vantage Point: Adopting hybrid approach is winning formula for edtech startups in Indonesia

This weekly newsletter highlights top developments and trends across Southeast Asia’s digital economy and ecosystem, without losing sight of the solid links between the online and offline worlds.

Executive Summary

  • Indonesia’s edtech startups adopting a hybrid approach
  • Tencent expands SEA empire with investment in Indonesia’s Flip
  • Bank Neo Commerce aiming for profitability

Indonesia’s edtech startups adopting a hybrid approach

Indonesia’s fledgling edtech space, which experienced a boom during the COVID-19 pandemic, saw a number of leading players emerge such as Zenius, Ruangguru, CoLearn, and Pintek. The sector also recorded a pickup in funding throughout 2021 as schools remained shut and online learning became the norm. 

As adoption of online learning grew, the edtech sector, which had lagged other segments of the digital economy previously in terms of funding, not only attracted capital from tech investors but also a number of local conglomerates including Lippo Group, Djarum Group, and Sinar Mas.

Interest in the space, especially in 2021, was driven by strong user data in terms of the number of students, with players such as Zenius and Ruanguru focusing on the K-12 segment. Investors were excited by this given the success of online learning in other markets such as India, China, Korea, and Vietnam. 

The key difference with Indonesia, however, is a cultural one. There is not the same “hothouse” educational culture, where parents will re-mortgage their homes to educate their children.

Besides, monetisation of these businesses in Indonesia can pose a challenge given a majority of the courses are still free. The sector shows great promise in terms of the number of users but the revenues being generated to date have been underwhelming. 

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