- Zoom CEO Eric Yuan has joined Forbes’ annual billionaires list for the first time.
- Zoom’s videoconferencing service has skyrocketed during the coronavirus outbreak as about 90% of Americans are under orders to stay at home.
- Yuan currently has a net worth of around $US5.5 billion, according to Forbes.
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Zoom CEO Eric Yuan has joined Forbes’ billionaires list as use of the company’s video chat service has skyrocketed during the coronavirus outbreak.
Yuan, 49, has worked in videoconferencing since he arrived in the US from China in 1997. He worked at WebEx before it was acquired by Cisco in 2007, later serving as a vice president at Cisco before leaving to start Zoom in 2011. Yuan got the idea for Zoom after he struggled to connect with his now wife while the couple was studying at two different colleges.
But even before the outbreak made Zoom the de facto group video chat service for the roughly 90% of Americans who are under orders to stay at home, the company’s share price had risen substantially since its initial public offering last year. On March 23, Zoom shares surged 135%, closing at an all-time high of $US159.56. As of Tuesday morning, Zoom was valued at about $US31 billion.
Zoom hasn’t released specific numbers about its recent surge, but has said it’s seen explosive growth during the past few weeks. It’s the top free app for both iPhones and Android devices, beating out popular short-form video app TikTok in both app stores. While it’s not clear exactly why Zoom has become the video chat service of choice over tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom does offer features like a built-in beautifying filter, the option to add virtual backgrounds, consistent call quality, and the ability to record your meeting.
Zoom’s rapid rise in popularity has come with some issues, however. Trolls have been entering Zoom calls to share porn, harass participants at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and disrupt virtual classroom. Yuan told CNN on Sunday that that company has made “missteps” with privacy and security.
“Our service was built to serve business and enterprise customers,” Yuan said during the interview. “However, due to this COVID-19 crisis, we moved too fast.”