Ruangguru CEO and co-founder Belva Devara has resigned from his position as a special staffer to Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
“I have delivered my resignation in the form of a letter to the president on 15 April 2020, and told him directly on 17 April 2020,” Devara announced in an open letter shown on his Instagram account @belvadevara on late Tuesday. “It is hard for me to take the decision because I don’t intend to create polemics on the assumption or public perception about my position as a presidential special staffer.”
Ruangguru’s participation as one of the digital platform partners in the pre-employment card program has sparked public criticism. The program has a budget of IDR 20 trillion (USD 1.2 billion), and is expected to sign up 5.6 million participants.
In the letter, Devara explains that the verification process for the pre-employment card program has followed applicable regulations, and that there was no conflict of interest. Pre-employment card holders can directly choose for themselves which learning platform they want.
Bhima Yudhistira, an economist at the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef), welcomed Devara’s decision.
“I appreciate the resignation of Belva Devara from his role as special staffer, which shows his responsibility for running his business professionally. Belva has demonstrated that millennials need to own integrity and avoid conflict of interest,” Yudhistira said.
Appointment in November 2019
Devara had been chosen by President Widodo as one of his special staffers in November 2019, to formulate the concept of pre-employment cards and instill the nation’s ideology Pancasila. He didn’t step down as Ruangguru’s CEO when appointed to the State Palace. Other startup CEOs involved as millennial special staffers were Andi Taufan Garuda, founder and CEO of fintech lender Amartha, and Putri Tanjung, CEO and co-founder of Creativepreneur.
Backed by General Atlantic, GGV Capital, UOB Venture Management, and East Ventures, Ruangguru is one of Indonesia’s most prominent edtech startups, which received Series C funding. Founded by Belva Devara and Iman Usman in 2013, Ruangguru has more than 13 million users and 4,000 employees, including teachers.
Recently, Ruangguru launched a platform called “Skill Academy by Ruangguru” offering technical and soft skills for professionals and citizens, including pre-employment card holders. It is one of eight digital platforms that have been chosen by the government to provide online training for job seekers.