Zoom, one of the fastest growing companies during the pandemic, announced last week that it will launch an app store where developers can put up third-party “Zapps” that work in tandem with Zoom’s video chatting software. The store launched with 35 partners on day one, including Slack and Dropbox, and lit up discussion around the massive company’s longevity once companies start working from the office once again.
The potential of the Zapp store has some investors seeing dollar signs. Super-investor Shervin Pishevar, who has invested in startups like Uber, Warby Parker, Tumblr, Slack, Airbnb and countless others, tweeted after the announcement that the Zapp store would become an industry titan.
“Zoom will be a $500B+ [company]. Zoom is the Operating System for how business communicates and collaborates now. It’s a permanent displacement,” Pishevar tweeted. “Hundreds of billions of deals, partnerships & investments have been powered by Zoom. ZAPP Store will be as big as the App Store in 10 years.”
Pishevar’s enthusiasm didn’t stop there. In a followup tweet, he wrote that “unicorns will be built as Zapps,” stating that the opportunity felt similar to the Apple App Store in 2008. Pishevar even went as far as to say that he would be setting aside $10 million just for Zapp investments, asking founders to “hit me with your best shot.”
A quick scroll through the replies to Pishevar’s tweets show founders eagerly jumping on the opportunity, saying they’re adding Zoom functionality or that they’re excited about what their app can do on the platform.
This excitement can perhaps be explained by Zoom’s recent meteoric rise, as well as that Zapps are not only targeting business audiences, but expanding into social and educational circles. Education app Kahoot!, which recently secured a $215 million investment from Softbank, as well as Coursera, Cameo, Weightwatchers and more show an attempt to broaden the app’s reach so that it can remain a popular service even beyond its work-from-home usefulness.
Industries that have grown under COVID-19 are increasingly taking steps to ensure their longevity beyond the pandemic. Though Zoom will surely see increased usage even after companies return to the office due to widespread adoption of work-from-home policies, it must expand beyond business audiences in order to maintain the size it has grown to. Zapps are an attempt to reach these broader audiences, and it’s not that far of a leap to think it may catch on. After all, it wasn’t long into the pandemic that Zoom workouts, happy hours, yogas, birthday parties and more started taking place across companies and groups of friends.
Though that trend is now in decline, there is clearly a use case for Zoom as a social service, though it is competing with a number of powerful players in the video chat space such as Facetime, which is already native to IOS and Macintosh devices, Discord, Webex, Whatsapp and others. Zoom, though itself a massive operation, is punching up and breaking into a busy market. Investors like Pishevar, however, clearly sees it as space for innovation, as none of the above listed companies have their own app ecosystems. Just because one of these predicted unicorn companies is born via Zoom, doesn’t mean it has to stay on there forever.