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The founder of Blackboard is turning the Zoom plugin intended for teachers into a business tool

When Class founder Michael Chasen was in college, he and a friend came up with the idea for Blackboard, an online classroom organization tool. His original company was acquired for $1.64 billion 2011. Chasen later developed ClassThe Zoom plugin, during the pandemic to help teachers make better use of Zoom in the classroom, something they struggled with at the start of the pandemic.

But Chasen says people who used Class kept telling him they needed something similar for work, and on Thursday Class announced its release ProFeatures for Zoomdesigned especially for business users.

Instead of simply sharing a single screen where only one participant has control, ProFeatures allows everyone to edit a document in Microsoft Office or Google Docs, brainstorm on a Miro board, or edit code together in Microsoft Visual Studio, as a few examples. If the SaaS tool you want isn’t part of the default toolset, there’s a built-in browser to access any website or app.

What’s more, you can have multiple tabs open, allowing people to share multiple screens instead of just the presenter.

“All these clients were saying to me, ‘Hey, I’d like to use this for my regular meetings.’ So I had my developers take our product, turn off the learning tools, and leave the core improvements we made in Zoom,” Chasen told TechCrunch.

While Class was doing well—the company raised $164 million, per Crunchbase — Chasen saw an opportunity to expand his business. “So now we have two products. We have a Class for Zoom and a Class for Microsoft Teams. And now we also have ProFeatures for Zoom,” he said.

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He had already managed to sell $17 million worth of business licenses to ProFeatures, even before he officially had a product, so he knew he was on to something. Individual users can use it for free, but the power comes when more people in a meeting use the advanced features.

The money comes from the business license, which provides business features such as centralized control for IT, single sign-on and other things IT needs to control usage across a large organization.

But Chasen says he found the tool had a viral quality. «Actually, we have something very interesting, which is viral marketing that we are doing, and no one has done it yet. So if you join a meeting, let’s say you’re with 10 other people in regular Zoom, but you have Pro features, when you share a document, all of you get a message that says, ‘Hey, I’m sharing this Word document. You can only see it in Zoom with screen sharing. But if you had Profeatures, you could edit it. Click here to download ProFeatures,” he said.

Zoom ProFeatures opens with people editing a Word document together.
Zoom ProFeatures opens with people editing a Word document together. Image credits: ProFeatures

If you don’t want to share the ability to edit with the entire group, you can limit who can see it or what participants can do, such as view, edit, or comment. Additionally, you can choose to revoke these permissions after the meeting is over.

Finally, there is an AI component, ProFeatues AI Assistant, which can transcribe a meeting as well as record all documents, files and web pages shared within

Meeting – and can answer questions about anything discussed at the meeting, including documents and web pages that were shared.

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ProFeatures is available from today in class.

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