Report: Zoom, the video conferencing company, may be a public company as early as April

The video conferencing company Zoom is aiming to file a public S-1 by the end of March, according to a new report in Business Insider that adds the company could go public as soon as April.

Business Insider reported last month that Zoom had filed confidentially with the SEC to go public, just months after Reuters reported that the San Jose, Calif.-based company had chosen investment bank Morgan Stanley to lead its eventual IPO.

We’ve reached out to the company for comment.

Zoom was valued at $1 billion when it raised its last funding in 2017 in the form of a $100 million check from Sequoia Capital. Reuters sources have said they expect the company to be valued at several billion dollars at the IPO.

The company, founded in 2011, has raised $145 million altogether, including from Emergence Capital and Horizons Ventures. Its earliest backers include Qualcomm Ventures, Yahoo founder Jerry Yang, WebEx founder Subrah Iyar and former Cisco SVP Dan Scheinman, who has been an active angel investor for years.

We had a chance to sit down with CEO Eric Yuan last year at a small industry event hosted by the venture firm NextWorld Capital. He talked about coming to the United States as a student from China and applying for a U.S. visa nine times over the course of two years before finally receiving it and arriving in Silicon Valley in 1997. We also talked about his experience as the 10th employee of WebEx, and his frustration that the company’s code remained stubbornly unchanged after it was sold for $3.2 billion to Cisco in 2007.

He wasn’t alone, clearly. When Yuan struck out on his own to found Zoom, fully 45 employees from WebEx joined him, a decision for which they’re likely thankful now. Financial rewards aside, Yuan was ranked at the top of Glassdoor’s annual list of best-rated CEOs last year.

We’ll be able to take a deeper dive into the health of Zoom once its reported S-1 is made public. In the meantime, you can check out our chat here.

Fortnite goes big on esports for 2019 with $100 million prize pool

Epic Games, maker of the ultra popular Battle Royale game Fortnite, is putting up another $100 million in prize cash for competitive tournaments in 2019.

The company made waves in the esports world last year, announcing a $100 million prize pool for the 2018 competitive year, dwarfing every other competitive title in one fell swoop.

This year, a significant portion of the $100 million will be awarded to participants of the first-ever Fortnite World Cup. Each of the 200 players who qualify and compete will walk away with at least $50,000, with the winner taking home $3 million.

The Fortnite World Cup will take place July 26 – 28 in New York City, offering $30 million total in prizes. One hundred of the top solo players will be invited, along with the top 50 duos teams.

So how do you get in on this?

Fortnite is holding weekly open online qualifiers, each worth $1 million, from April 13 to June 16. Eligible players who consistently place well will have a shot at being one of those top 200 players.

This announcement comes at an interesting time for Fortnite. While the game still reigns supreme in terms of popularity, other Battle Royale games are picking up traction. Apex Legends (an EA and Respawn title), in particular, is growing in popularity. Several of the top Twitch streamers, including Ninja, Shroud, Timthetatman, High Distortion and Annemunition have started playing more Apex and participated in the first Apex Legends Twitch Rivals tournament.

Keeping the attention of these streamers is surely a priority for Fortnite, and for a game that pulls in some $300 million a month in in-game purchases, spending $100 million a year is a small price to pay.