I’ve always been sceptical to business ideas that plainly aim to challenge the bloody red ocean market head-on. My mentors and professors had long taught me that, in any way possible, strengthtening differentiations is one of the most important aspect in coming up with a product. Innovation is the key to create your own market, giving you heads up than only depending on your competitive advantages.
It may seem, however, that ambitious business players nowadays adopt a different perspective. “Those who are able to provide the best will prevail—others won’t.”
In the past few months, I’ve been challenged to take on this approach.
An old friend of mine, Asep Suryana, contacted me earlier this year, telling me of his business idea with a friend of ours, Ikhwan Catur Rahmawan. He told me of his digital startup idea, focusing on the providance of on-the-go private tutoring service tailored to student’s needs. “It’s called PrivatQ,” he said while excitedly explaining how they envisioned the brand to expand.
I then told him blankly that I don’t think it will work.
There were just too many education-technology startups that started to grow in Indonesia—not to mention a certain ed-tech venture capitalist that had just received another funding from international companies and planning on expanding their business. It was just absurd to think that a startup company made by recent graduates, both Yogyakartans, who have no background in the business, can break through the market.
And boy was I wrong.
Asep told me of his ambition, to create an unbiased educational service platform where one can look for high-quality tutors outside of his/her educational label—an issue he has been highly concerned with since his days at Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta. He told me that opportunities to be a practicioner in the field of education is highly reserved for graduates from those top-tier universities, while in fact, everyone qualified enough should have had the same opportunities to do so. He also mentioned how startup companies nowadays are indirectly controlled by those international venture capitals—making very few of them are what they claimed to be, “Karya anak bangsa.”
I understand where he came from, but the ambition itself was not enough to breach the market—or so I thought.
Only a few months after he told me of his idea, Asep contacted me again. It was in early September, a few weeks after I got back from my voluntary service. He asked me to help out with PrivatQ launching, which I eventually accepted out of concern.
My concern, in the end, was not needed. In those short span of time, from April to September, Asep and Ikhwan had managed to publish two Android applications (one for students and one for tentors) and had more than 600 tentors employed in both Yogyakarta and Solo. The development rate was insane that I had to keep facts-checking with both of them.
And it all began with a set of ideals.
I am now a part of PrivatQ managerial family and we are constantly expanding to date. As I said before, both Ikhwan and Asep are ambitious individuals, and so they have set that by the end of 2017 PrivatQ’s services would have covered six regions in Indonesia—Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Solo, Surabaya, Semarang, and Malang.
Ambitious, I know, and there are also several mentions of growing educational services similar to ours in the regions.
But hey, the ambitious ones with enough persevearance will win. And I know we are fighting for a good cause.
Find out more about PrivatQ here or read the articles below: