Zoom announces first startups receiving funding from $100M investment fund – TechCrunch

For more than a year, Zoom’s mission has been to transform itself from an application into a platform. To that end, there were three announcements last year: Zoom Apps Development Tools, the Zoom Apps Marketplace, and a $ 100 million development fund to invest in some of the more promising startups building tools on their platform. Today, at the closing bell, the company announced that it has made its first round of investments.

Ross Mayfield, Product Leader for Zoom Apps and Integrations, spoke to TechCrunch about the investment round. “We are in the process of creating this ecosystem. We felt it was important to specifically focus on the seed phase and a phase of partnership with entrepreneurs in order to create great things on this platform. And I think what you see in the first batch of more than a dozen investments is representative of what will be a major ongoing endeavor, ”he explained.

He said although they don’t disclose exact investment amounts, they write checks between $ 250,000 and $ 2.5 million. They work with other investment partners instead of making the ends meet, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work with these startups and use in-house resources for advice and executive support that goes beyond the money.

“Each of these investments has a senior or senior sponsor in the company. So there is another person inside who knows the state of the country, can help them move forward and have more personal time with them, ”Mayfield said.

The company also operates several Zoom chat channels for the startups that receive investment to learn from each other and the Zoom Apps team. “We have a common chat channel between the startup and my team. We have a channel called Announcements and a channel called Help and another that the startups created called Community, ”he said.

Every week they use these channels to hold a Developer Office Hour, a Business Office Hour (hosted by Mayfield), and a Community Hour where the startups can meet and talk about anything they want.

Specific categories that will be encouraged include Collaboration and Productivity, Community and Charity, DE&I and PeopleOps, and Games and Entertainment. In the Collaboration and Productivity category, Warmly is a sales tool that provides background information and information about each person attending the meeting in advance, while the meeting organizer can create custom zoom backgrounds for each event.

Another is Fathom, which eliminates the need to take notes during a meeting, but it’s more than just recording and transcribing. “It gives you this really simple interface where you can easily mark up moments. As a result, you will have this transcript of the video recording and you can click those highlighted moments and then share a clip of the meeting highlights with Salesforce, Slack and other tools, ”Mayfield said.

Pledge enables individuals or organizations to instantly solicit and collect donations within a Zoom meeting, and Canvas is a hiring and interviewing tool that companies can use to build diverse teams with data to help them set and meet DEI goals.

These and the other companies represent the first tranche of investments from this fund, and Mayfield says the company intends to continue looking for startups that use the Zoom platform to build their startup or integrate with Zoom.

He says that every company starts out as a feature, then becomes a product, and then strives to be a product line. The trick is to get there. The goal of the investment program and the entire set of Zoom Apps tools is to help these companies take the first step.

“The art of entrepreneurship is to work with this risk without resources and to push the limits of what you know.” Zoom tries to be a role model, mentor and investor on this journey.

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