While the past year has made Zoom into a top real estate mogul for online meeting space, many of the students and executives occupying that space day after day have grown tired of the routine surroundings.
In order to spice up the meeting experience, Zoom is launching a $100 million venture fund designed to “stimulate growth” of its budding ecosystem of third-party apps and help customers “meet happier and collaborate even more seamlessly.”
Zooming Into The Future
Launched in October with the understandably short-lived name “Zapps”, the Zoom Apps platform helps integrate third-party applications into Zoom’s workflow. These apps are like the file cabinets or dry-erase boards of the virtual meeting room – allowing users to efficiently access data or collaborate better while on a call.
And now Zoom is putting $100 million towards developing more of these third-party enhancements, which should make for one spruced-up digital workspace:
- Zoom said its new venture fund will invest between $250,000 and $2.5 million in various growth-stage firms developing tools that “will become core to how Zoom customers meet, communicate, and collaborate.”
No Scrubs: To qualify for funding, firms must have a market-ready product that’s garnered some early traction and specifically enhances the Zoom experience, whether it be software, hardware, or on the back-end.
Seen It Before
Zoom is following the game plan Salesforce has implemented in recent years – developing a strong ecosystem of tools around its core product by first embracing third-party integrations, and then fronting the money to fund even more of them.
The company has backed startups before; in 2019 it acquired a minority stake in Norway’s Neat, the maker of an all-in-one video conferencing device. But this new venture fund makes Zoom more of a formal financier, placing strategic investments to build out a comprehensive workplace tool.
App-Of-All-Trades: Zoom has certainly mastered one art – achieving Facetime-status as a colloquial verb for video-chatting. But it’ll take more than that to become a staple in the office of the future.