Zoom launches $100 million fund for app developers

Zoom CEO Eric Yuan hints that the fund was inspired by his own experience launching the video conferencing platform

Zoom has announced a $100 million (£71.5M) venture fund that aims to “stimulate growth” of the video conferencing platform’s ecosystem of Zoom Apps, as well as their integrations, developer platform, and hardware

The newly launched fund will invest in developer partners with “an early market traction” who propose viable products with the potential to benefit the experience of Zoom users.

Chosen companies will be awarded initial investments of between $250,000 (£179,000) and $2.5 million (£1.8 million) to develop the new solutions to be used by Zoom customers.

The company announced that, at the time being, “dozens” of Zoom Apps are being developed and are “an important component in building the future of video communications”.

Although the announcement can be seen as an effort by the company to remain relevant in the face of the post-pandemic return to the office, Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan hinted that the fund was inspired by his own experience in launching the video conferencing platform back in 2011.

“Without the support of early investors, Zoom would not be what it is today. What I’ve learned over the past year is that we need to keep meetings productive and fun. My hope is that the Zoom Apps Fund will help our customers meet happier and collaborate even more seamlessly, and at the same time help entrepreneurs build new businesses as our platform evolves,” he said.

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The announcement of the fund comes less than a month after the company launched new tools for developers to help them build video-based applications and websites with fully customisable, native user interfaces, called Video SDK. Developers can also access APIs, webhooks, chatbots, and even an analytical platform that provide real-time data on their builds, such as customer engagement and performance figures.

As one of the biggest beneficiaries of the pandemic, Zoom experienced a 355% rise in adoption in the second quarter of 2020 as consumers and businesses adopted video conferencing platform following the mass shift to remote working. However, the gradual reopening of working spaces and offices means that Zoom might be cast away in favour of traditional face-to-face meetings.

This has prompted the company to reveal new features aimed at hybrid workforces, including new updates to its Zoom Rooms video conferencing hardware suite.

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