Zoom Chief Financial Officer Kelly Steckelberg said the new fund will be making investments between $250,000 and $2.5 million in companies building “Zoom apps” that will plug into the company’s videoconferencing software and add new features, according to Reuters.
The fund will be run from Zoom’s balance sheet instead of from a standalone venture capital entity, Steckelberg said, per Reuters. The company won’t seek board seats in the companies in which it invests.
“This will really help invest in developers at early stages and get early market traction,” Steckelberg told Reuters. “It’s definitely on the lines of being a strategic investor.”
Steckelberg said the idea is for developers to create new ideas, such as digital whiteboards for sketching while using Zoom. The fund will also be open to ideas like telemedicine app providers or conference room hardware makers that want to partner with Zoom.
Zoom has gained notoriety over the past year of the pandemic as the chief app for people to use to communicate for remote meetings or hangouts. Rival platforms like Microsoft’s Teams and Cisco Systems’ Webex have also gained popularity.
In December, Zoom was looking at potential new options for integration of calendar and email tools in order to better compete with Microsoft and Google, which both have multi-use platforms that have wider selections and go beyond video conferencing.
Zoom also announced in December that it would be expanding its operations in Singapore through the opening of a research and development (R&D) center, which it already operates in the U.S., India and China.
Zoom saw its stock value skyrocket during 2020, going up 500 percent amid the pandemic’s switch to remote work. The company might start trialing its email tool this year and do the calendar app at a later date.