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He left engineering to start an edutech site that helps M’sians explore new interests

[Written in partnership with MaGIC, but the editorial team had full control over the content.]

Growing up in a family of teachers, Jimmy Chong was a straight-A student all the way to his Master’s degree. But after being an engineer for 3 years, it dawned on him that the work wasn’t what he wanted out of life. 

Instead, he wanted to found his own startup that was aligned with the educational environment he hoped to provide for his own kids.

Partnering with his wife, Ichin, who’s also a HRDF certified corporate trainer that’s conducted over 1,500 sessions in the past, the couple founded Evetag. It’s an edutech platform with an aim to make learning fun by providing after-school classes for kids, including ones that even adults can enjoy.

“We want to enhance the learning culture by gathering cool and creative classes for kids and lifelong learners. We support them to go after what they are passionate about, and enjoy learning what they are interested in,” Jimmy told Vulcan Post.

Catering to kids and their parents

Malaysia doesn’t lack edutech platforms that match students to teachers of various expertise in different subjects. We’ve written about virtual arts and crafts workshops, online corporate training programmes, and even a tutor-student matching marketplace.

But despite multiple edutech platforms already existing and tackling their own niches, Evetag’s founders still saw a gap in those offering subjects outside of the academic context.

The site’s homepage is where you can search for the classes available

Looking at Evetag’s site, it’s clear that while it’s offering classes in the academic sense, it also lists hobby-based ones like vocal training, kimchi making, nail artistry, or martial arts. 

This opens up users to learning multiple skills on a single platform, without necessarily having to leave the house or find referrals for tutors who have the skillsets to teach the classes. Parents looking for tutors for their children will also feel more safe and secure knowing that they are engaging in a trusted learning environment. 

“It is our intention to cross-sell adult-based courses when parents are browsing through our platform. We have seen parents who purchase kids’ robotic programmes also buy adult acrylic painting classes,” Jimmy added.

Pay as you learn

Using a pay-per-class model, users can simply book a slot for a course of their interest and pay the teachers through Evetag’s payment gateway.

Evetag takes a minimum 5% cut for each successful transaction, and teachers will only receive the settlement when students attend the session.

All 250 educators that are currently on Evetag, called EdPartners, went through an interview with the platform’s team to pitch their services, supported with testimonials as a reference for their classes’ quality. 

In the case of any possible disputes in the future, EdPartners are protected as they must also provide their company registrations or personal details to verify their services.

Trial sessions with new educators and selected users are also held so the former can gain insights and validation for their services on the platform.

To date, at least 500 classes have been conducted through Evetag, attended by 3,000 users on the site. But before this happened, Evetag struggled with user retention.

One of Evetag’s offline classes / Image Credit: Evetag

When Evetag’s beta version was launched in 2020, the team realised there was a lack of motivation from customers to begin their courses. Users also did not see the point of paying for courses on Evetag’s site as they could just buy them directly from the educators.

Hence, the team rolled out a point-based system where every successful payment earned users an equivalent amount of points, which can be used as a discount on their next purchase.

The solution was an effective fix and solved the retention issue. EdPartners were also more motivated to use the platform as it was able to help them keep track of transactions, save time on paperwork, and have automated reporting systems.

Planning for the future

Moving forward, Evetag is setting a new goal for its GMV sales. To reach its target, Jimmy stated that it’s crucial for the team to secure more quality, yet affordable courses on the platform.

Dictionary time: GMV or Gross Merchandise Volume is a term used in online retailing to indicate a total sales monetary-value for fees paid through a marketplace over a certain time frame.

“We are planning to collaborate with more education segments, including Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) platforms to allow our users to access more learning opportunities,” Jimmy said. MOOCs offer accessible and affordable remote learning available opportunities to students all over the world. 

Looking at the number of edutech platforms available just locally, it can be said that Evetag will be spoilt for choice. Evetag could even look to partner with other SEA platforms to penetrate the larger market via partners’ user bases.

Being a part of MaGIC’s GAP Cohort 5 will also open Evetag’s team up to collaborative opportunities with other startups, including those outside Malaysia such as GuruInovatif, an Indonesian edutech marketplace.

Also we plan to introduce our Learn-To-Earn concept by integrating the NFT element into the learning experience. Inspired by the Axie Infinity Play-To-Earn model, we want to redefine the purpose of learning, giving learners extra motivation to learn, hopping on blockchain technology to attract, reward, and recognise learners more in a more innovative way.

Jimmy Chong, CEO of Evetag

Evetag would be able to do so through their recent funding of half a million Ringgit from Agmo Studio, a software development firm that has served 8 Fortune 500 companies in the past decade.

“With the addition of Mr. Tan Aik Keong into our team as the CTO, and with [the company’s] capacity to adopt AI and blockchain technology, we are looking forward to pushing our marketplace to a higher level, and serving our users better,” hoped Jimmy.

  • You can learn more about Evetag here.
  • You can read more edutech related content here.

Featured Image Credit: Jimmy and Ichin, co-founders of Evetag

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