ProClass, an activity management service marketplace for extracurricular activities
Little did Satyendra K Dwivedi know that someday he would leave his high profile corporate job and use his engineering and management skills to start an entrepreneurial venture. The confusion and the haphazard ways of running extracurricular activities like dance, music, sports, fitness and hobby classes etc. in the neighborhood drew his attention and he decided to help children and parents in his society. Slowly the dream grew bigger and he started work on Proclass.in during 2011. The fragmented and unorganized market posed challenges and finally the portal was unearthed in 2013. He is supported by two pillars –Nitin Garg and Dr.Namita Mishra who help in various capacities.
ProClass is an activity management service marketplace for managing extracurricular/co-scholastic activities in groups around the neighborhood ranging from dance, music, karate, sports activities etc. The website provides a three-layer service platform for managers (activity administrators), customers (kids & parents) and instructors (coaches, teachers or service providers). ProClass in an all India platform which provides infrastructure for marketing, managing and monitoring activity classes, but as of now activities are directly managed only in South and East Bangalore (Sarjapur Area, HSR, Koramangla, Whitefield, ORR, Electronic City, Bannerghatta Road). It also provides infrastructure to help groups, monitor activity classes delivered by 3rd party providers and last but not the least it also delivers activity classes directly to customers. The portal allows a complete control over all the manual processes and gives a platform for service providers to showcase their talents and offer customer a better management experience.
ProClass does not have academy of its own but has partnered with various academies to deliver activities through a network, and daily operations are managed via registered and branch offices around the city. Apartments, colonies, clubs, group activity providers, managers of Institutions or corporates etc. can use the application software to manage activities for dance groups, music groups, schools and colleges over weekends and after school hours. They can register on the website after picking a subscription plan out of the 4 options- Pro-Free is a basic plan and anybody who is managing activities can opt for this. This plan is a free plan where clients can benefit by way of online registration, registration management, basic communication and role based access as needed. Pro-Start is a basic plan with recurring invoicing feature for activities and has a fixed fee of Rs 250/Activity/Month. Pro-Best is Pro-Start plus fee collection gateways and a fixed fee + 0% to 12% charge with a minimum of Rs 250/Activity/Month. And lastly pro-premium where ProClass team manages the whole show using ProClass platform especially customized for a client. This price takes into account the adjusted discount received from instructors/service providers.
Parents and kids can register for any activity mentioned on the website, or request for any activity even if it is not listed. The exact fee to be paid for the activity depends on the chosen activity, the number of hours spent per month (standard hours are 4 to 12 per month), location and skills of the activity provider. “We have a fee sharing model as we believe in giving the just to all the stakeholders involved. Hence, the major component of the fees goes to the activity provider (artist, sports person, musician, dancer etc.), with some portion for the space and facility provider (builder, corporate, club, community etc.) and some part goes to us (Pro class) who does marketing, day to day operation, customer support etc.” says Satyendra
The third most important link is the instructor or the service provider who creates their public profile for free and gets a role assigned under the activity they can provide. Today there are close to 100 instructors registered on the website. There is no rigid minimum number requirement for an instructor to start his batch; it can be as as low as 4 or 5 students per batch. Most providers take payments in advance for the activities which could be monthly, quarterly, annually or any other period as decided by the provider. Proclass acts as a handy support system in providing an option to pay online using credit cards/debit cards or net banking option and a cash pick up facility is also extended from the customer’s location be it office, home, neighbor, relative’s place) in more than 40 cities. In many activities instructors conduct tests/presentations etc. to showcase the talent and there could be some extra payments. This is not mandatory for every student to opt for but gives a skill enhancement certificate for example in dance/music shows, Karate Belt Tests etc.
Though Proclass conducts and manages the classes for the service providers but charges fees on the basis what services have been chosen by the service provider which is usually on a percentage sharing. “Every person has his/her role in this marketplace. Students are responsible for ensuring their information is up-to-date in system. They make timely payments based on reminders or close their subscription etc. Providers are responsible for sending communications, invoices, schedule update etc. So basically all have to play their role” says Stayendra. 5-10 registrations happen every day, with either confirmed customers or instructors.
“We are niche service providers in this field and we call ourselves “Amazon for activity classes” as we provide innovative technology platform to other providers and we also use our marketplace to market ProClass activities. We don’t have any competitor offering both the kinds of services on one platform” says Satyendra.
The portal is using digital platform viz social media, website and mailers to promote the concept accompanied by traditional ways of advertising like demo classes and promotions stalls and direct interaction with prospective clients. Satyendra says, ”We have not yet been able to breakeven as we are still investing in technology which can help us scale and provide better experience to ProClass users. We are also considering VC funding for our smooth operations. Going forward, we want to reach out to all the metro cities and then a pan India presence.”
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