Zoom Video Communications Inc, otherwise known simply as Zoom, has quickly become one of the world’s most popular web applications. But who is behind the billion-dollar company?
Zoom is a web conferencing platform owned by Chinese-American Businessman Eric Yuan, the CEO, and founder of Zoom Communications. He founded the company in 2011 and launched the application in 2013. As the head CEO of the company, he currently owns 22% of the company.
The rise of his company has been fast and prolific, gaining immense popularity in the last few years, making him one of the richest and most influential people in the United States.
Profile of Eric Yuan
Eric Yuan was born in Tai’an, in the Shandong province of China. He was born in 1970, the son of geological engineers. He attended university in Shandong province, earning an undergraduate degree in applied mathematics.
He then earned a master’s degree in Engineering at the China University of Mining and Technology, in Beijing. It was during this time that he married his girlfriend Sherry, at only 22 years old.
He and Sherry moved to the U.S in 1997 and became naturalized US citizens in 2007. They have three children together, and the family resides in Santa Cruz, California.
Since the high-profile success of his company, Yuan has gained international attention as one of the newest billionaires in America. In 2020 he was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People Of 2020 and currently sits at #43 on the Forbes 400 list.
He currently owns 22% of his company and has a whopping personal net worth of $24.7 billion.
For a more in-depth look at the life of Eric Yuan, watch the video below.
Birth of Zoom
It is said that Yuan’s inspiration for Zoom came to him in the early 1990s, during a period where he was traveling as long as 10 hours to visit his girlfriend by train in China. He imagined the possibilities of one day being able to visit her without traveling such great distances, and thus the idea of web conferencing and video-calling was planted in his mind.
He found further influence not long later, after hearing Microsoft entrepreneur Bill Gates speaking at a conference in Japan, while Yuan was there attending a training course. It was then that he realized his future, and decided to make the move to the US, where he hoped to launch his own company in Silicon Valley.
It took Yuan nine attempts before he was granted a visa to enter the United States, finally emigrating with his wife in 1997. He has since admitted that he could speak very little English before moving to the States, and had to learn as he went.
After he arrived in California, Yuan quickly joined WebEx, a web conferencing startup. When WebEx was taken over by Cisco in 2007, he quickly climbed the ladder to become the VP of engineering for the company.
However, he was unhappy with the nature of his employment and left soon after to chase his dream of building his own Silicon Valley start-up. This is where Zoom Video Communications Inc. began.
The Rise of the Company
The first version of Zoom was released by the company in August 2012, as a beta service that could offer web video conferences for up to 15 participants at a time. Within less than a year the website had attracted more than 1 million users.
By 2015 Zoom had registered ten million users, and by 2017 the application was worth over 1 billion dollars, extremely unusual for a private business. It did not become public until 2019, by which point it was valued at 16 billion.
Zoom and Covid-19
Zoom, and subsequently Eric Yuan himself, profited considerably during the Covid-19 epidemic. The annual sales forecast more than doubled over 2020, due to a higher demand for working from home and communicating with friends through various nationwide ‘lockdowns’ around the world.
Zoom is now the world’s most popular web conferencing service, being used in schools, businesses, companies, and homes across the globe. Eric Yuan has publicly stated that the company is “humbled by the accelerated adoption of the Zoom platform around the globe.”