Apr 20, 2021

Zoom launch new $100 million venture fund

Zoom
funding
apps
Tilly Kenyon
2 min
Through this fund Zoom will invest in portfolio companies looking to revolutionise the way Zoom customers meet, collaborate, and communicate
Through this fund Zoom will invest in portfolio companies looking to revolutionise the way Zoom customers meet, collaborate, and communicate...

Zoom has announced the new Zoom Apps Fund, a $100 million venture fund created to stimulate growth of Zoom’s ecosystem of Zoom Apps, integrations, developer platform, and hardware.

Portfolio companies will receive initial investments between $250,000 and $2.5 million to build solutions that will become core to how Zoom customers meet, communicate, and collaborate, the company said in a statement.

Announced at Zoomtopia 2020, Zoom Apps are leading applications that will bring productivity and engaging experiences directly into the Zoom platform.

Dozens of Zoom Apps are currently in development and are an important component in building the future of video communications, says the company. The Zoom Apps Fund will invest in developer partners with viable products and early market traction that will provide valuable and engaging experiences to our customers.

“I founded Zoom in 2011, nearly ten years ago. Without the support of early investors, Zoom would not be what it is today,” said Eric S. Yuan, Founder and CEO of Zoom.

“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.”

The rise of Zoom

In 2020 Zoom became a household name with the pandemic causing a shift to remote working and remote schooling. Revolutionising the workplace, it allowed people to stay in touch and have virtual meetings. Not only was it used for work, but people also used it to stay in touch with family and friends, with a lot of online quizzes taking place. 

According to the BBC the video conferencing company expects sales to rise more than 40 per cent this year, reaching more than $3.7bn (£2.66bn). 

Even though we now have COVID-19 vaccines and the rollout is at global scale, the work-life balance might not be the same as it used to be in the pre-COVID-19 world. In the post-pandemic world, it looks like businesses could favor cost-effective hybrid and virtual workspaces over traditional face-to-face and physical work places.

(Image: Zoom)

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Jun 18, 2021

Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR

Microsoft
NASCAR
3 min
Racing fans can expect the ultimate virtual experience as a result of the partnership with Microsoft and NASCAR

Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).

These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack. 

“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”

“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”

“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR

  • Empower employees productivity and collaboration
  • Improve fan engagement and experience
  • Improve environment security and IT productivity
  • Improve racing operations

 

Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.

“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”

“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives. 

“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.

Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”

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