Zoom boosts its apps ecosystem with $100M venture fund

 Zoom boosts its apps ecosystem with $100M venture fund

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Zoom has announced 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, which has more than doubled in value over the past year as businesses were forced to embrace cloud-based tools when they rapidly transitioned to remote work.

Back in October, Zoom launched its new Zoom Apps platform for third-party developers to integrate their apps into Zoom, making it easier for teams to collaborate and access data while on video calls — this includes everything from whiteboarding to cloud-storage services. And that, essentially, is 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 has developed 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, of course — 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. And 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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