When I first came across Malaysian education marketplace, MyClaaz, my first thought was that it was trying to do too much.
It seemed catered to students of all ages and welcomed trainers of any subject, be it school ones or more professionalised ones like compliance and investments. My second thought was, who then was it trying to target?
But founder Dr. Zaharuddin said this was intentional. In the beginning, it’d targeted school students but realised that that was too typical and narrow of a target.
And he’s right. Look through Vulcan Post’s very own education category and you’d find multiple articles about education marketplaces catered to school students, many written within the last few years.
That wasn’t the only issue though. Dr. Zaharuddin said they even went as far as analysing existing edutech platforms that have specific revenue targets, and realised those numbers weren’t good enough for his team.
Furthermore, he wanted to emulate the e-commerce concept of catering to a larger audience with a matching scale of offerings, citing Udemy, Coursera, and Teachable as some global examples.
Creating opportunities out of the pandemic
On paper, that sounded good. In practice, however, Dr. Zaharuddin acknowledged that this was a big challenge, especially with a limited amount of capital.
To efficiently manage costs, prioritising came in handy, and they first onboarded trainers, tutors, and teachers. Next came events to create awareness about MyClaaz, thus attracting registered members.
When the stock market crashed in March 2020, MyClaaz also leveraged that to organise events that showed how it could be an alternative way to earn money for skilled persons. In return, it brought a significant crowd to the site.
Looking through MyClaaz, trainers (we’ll use this as an umbrella term) can provide a variety of services from one-on-one (physical) classes to video calls, videos, and exams, etc. The experience seems fairly standard across most education marketplaces.
MyClaaz wasn’t an idea born from the pandemic, hence its offerings of one-on-one classes. But the pandemic changed its plans. With new features like event creations, trainers no longer have to rely on one-on-one classes to earn.
“That may take years,” Dr. Zaharuddin said of earning through physical classes, “Hence, we encourage trainers to sell educational event tickets, e-books, and teaching videos. Each sale will give us a percentage similar to when a trainer completes a lesson.”
Building the quality of its offerings
Like any other product being sold online, quality is often a concern, perhaps even more so regarding education. The site is a registered training provider under the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), and MyClaaz has some basic vetting procedures in place.
Dr. Zaharuddin explained, “At the current stage, we cannot be too strict as we are new. Too many restrictions will leave us with a small number of trainers, hence the only vetting processes for trainers are their identity [verification] and qualification certificates to be uploaded to the platform.” Upon doing that, they’ll get a verified badge.
At the same time, MyClaaz is collaborating with school admins, universities, and colleges to source quality trainers and lecturers.
If somehow a trainer bypasses MyClaaz’s vetting and students send in genuine reports about a fake qualification or a harmful event, the site withholds the trainer’s payment and returns it to the student. The trainer’s account will also be deactivated, as per the T&Cs.
Trainers are currently free to determine their own fees with some even offering RM10 one-off classes, and MyClaaz takes a 20% cut from each transaction.
While this freedom benefits the trainers, it still presents a potential risk of overcharging, which MyClaaz would need to keep an eye on.
Nonetheless, under each subject, there are a variety of trainers to pick from, so students should be able to do their own research before deciding who to book.
Persevering through scepticism as a new site
For its first financial year after launching in June 2020, Dr. Zaharuddin announced that MyClaaz was close to generating RM1 million in revenue. Over 14,000 transactions have also been made by users from more than 20 countries.
One of the greatest challenges for the team has been a slow conversion rate, despite allowing trainers benefits such as easy payment gateways. Despite that, Dr. Zaharuddin isn’t discouraged.
“I think that is somewhat normal when people are trying something new and unfamiliar. The same challenges are faced by other digital platforms as well—scepticism, suspicion, etc. Some of these platforms survive, and some do not. We hope to survive,” he stated.
Moving forward, he plans to provide the system as a SaaS with minor modifications to suit future clients’ needs, and establish MyClaaz in other countries too.
They include Nigeria, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, and India, but of course, with the pandemic slowing things down, MyClaaz will first strengthen its foothold in Malaysia.
Based on MyClaaz’s branding, it’s clear that it wants to differentiate itself from the many other edutech sites catering to mainly school students.
Classes that teach more advanced subjects such as stocks, investments, and business management are also more likely to bring in more revenue per student, so it makes sense that this is an area MyClaaz wants to take advantage of.
While the site doesn’t lack in offerings, perhaps it could introduce a checkbox-based filtering system to refine its user-friendliness. Currently, to get to a specific subject, a user has to hover over a bunch of drop-down links multiple times, which is slower and prone to misclicks.
As MyClaaz grows, the team may find a need to tighten its vetting procedures and set a healthy price range for different classes too.
One way MyClaaz can really stand out would be if its trainers can localise their subjects skilfully. For example, investing or business management in the Malaysian context, taking into consideration the different regulations or attitudes that exist.
Featured Image Credit: Dr. Zaharuddin, founder and managing editor of MyClaaz