BetaKit first covered Santa Clara, CA-based Zoom.us, a video conferencing tool founded by a team of former Cisco WebEx engineers, in August 2012 when it launched to its target of average consumers and small businesses. The company competes with big industry players like Skype, Google+ Hangouts, Apple’s FaceTime and WebEx, not to mention smaller startups like Meetings.io who are all trying to change the way people hold meetings and connect via video.
Since its launch in summer 2012, over 130,000 meetings have been held on the platform, and it has been used by over 1,000 businesses. Users can access Zoom.us via the Android/iOS apps and the desktop for videoconferencing with up to 25 people, and it also includes screensharing features. Now to carve out a bigger piece of the videoconferencing pie, today the company is debuting its Unified Meeting Experience (UMX) cloud platform, what the company calls a 3-in-1 cloud service that combines video conferencing, mobile conferencing, and web meeting features.
“We are at almost 4,500 meetings a day now,” said head of product marketing Nick Chong in an interview. “The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive around quality…ease of use and screen sharing technology. Users do want Android support, recording and host control features.”
Using UMX, companies can hold video meetings with up to 25 participants, either online or on their mobile device. The platform also supports mobile screensharing, so participants can share a Dropbox or Box document, photos or a website using their mobile device. The company is also debuting new subscription plans to go along with the UMX platform, starting with a free personal plan with unlimited 1-to-1 meetings, with a $9.99 per host per month business plan, a $9.99 monthly enterprise plan, and a $0.99 monthly education plan (the education and enterprise plans come with branded webpages). The company is now primarily targeting SMBs and the education sector.
“UMX is the first full featured 3-in-1 cloud service. We offer full HD conferencing features, full mobility features and full web meeting features. In addition, our subscription fees are 1/10th that of standalone offerings,” Chong added.
To coincide with today’s feature expansion, the company is also announcing that it has raised $6 million in Series A funding, led by Qualcomm Ventures and with participation from Yahoo! founder Jerry Yang and several other individual investors. Chong said the company will be using the funding for sales and marketing to bring more enterprise and education customers on board.
While the company comes in at a lower price point than WebEx, there are solutions like Skype and Google+ Hangouts that are free, and while they don’t have the host features and as many screensharing features, they will often work for SMBs. Chong said the company’s biggest differentiator is the fact that it supports up to 25 participants in a video conference (WebEx only supports nine), and its mobile features (mobile screensharing, etc). There are also other features included that don’t come with other solutions, namely recording features (users have to download a separate recording program to record their Skype calls).
Though it comes in at a lower price point than most enterprise solutions, there are other startups like Meetings.io that are trying to provide conference calling alternatives. Zoom.us has the expertise on its team and now funding to scale out sales and marketing, but will need to sell companies on using yet another videoconferencing tool. Its focus on mobile will likely be what sets it apart in the next year, as more and more companies are looking to hold multi-user meetings on the go.