Zoom has announced a new $100 million venture fund designed to “stimulate growth” of its burgeoning ecosystem of third-party app integrations.
The announcement comes after a whirlwind 12 months for the video-communications platform company. Zoom has more than doubled in value over the past year, when businesses were forced to embrace cloud-based tools as they rapidly transitioned to remote work.
The Salesforce playbook
Back in October, Zoom launched its new Zoom Apps platform for third-party developers to integrate their apps into Zoom. This is designed to make it easier for teams to collaborate and access data while on video calls — integrations include everything from whiteboarding to cloud-storage services. This is essentially what the new $100 million fund will support. Zoom said it will invest between $250,000 and $2.5 million in growth-stage companies looking to develop tools and products that “will become core to how Zoom customers meet, communicate, and collaborate,” according to a statement.
In many ways, Zoom is following the Salesforce playbook in terms of how it’s pushing to develop a vibrant ecosystem built around its core product — first through embracing third-party integrations and then through investing directly in them. Zoom has invested in startups before — in 2019 it backed hardware startup Neat — but this latest fund goes some way toward establishing Zoom as a more formal investor.
To qualify for funding, companies must have a market-ready product with evidence of at least some early traction. Perhaps more importantly, their product must be focused on helping to improve the Zoom experience in some way, either through Zoom Apps, SDKs, APIs, or even hardware products.
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