Eric S Yuan’s Zoom defying the coronavirus apocalypse

Eric Yuan, Zoom

With news outlets from day to night detailing how the world is crumbling before our very eyes due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are businesses out there defying the doomsayers and falling stock markets, such as Eric S Yuan’s Zoom Video Communications.

Eric S Yuan is CEO of Zoom, a business he founded in 2011 after running engineering for Cisco’s competitive product, Webex. Zoom is based in San Jose, California, and is a cloud platform for video, phone, content sharing, and chat runs across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems.

Yuan, 50, locked up his business on 5 March and has worked from his home in nearby Saratoga, a prosperous town on the edge of Silicon Valley. His staff have also been locked down in their homes since 5 March.

Businesses across the world and education authorities shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic have reached out to Zoom, file-sharing service Dropbox, e-signatures business DocuSign and emergency communications business Everbridge, as they look to work-from-home. Cloud computing providers Google, Amazon and Microsoft are also in higher demand.

Eric Yuan, Zoom
Eric Yuan’s profile is soaring with TV appearances and he loves his advertisement at San Francisco International Airport. Photos: Eric S Yuan / Twitter

In the first nine days of March, downloads for video conferencing services Zoom, Teams and WebEx were 183%, 103% and 64% above average, respectively, compared with the previous nine months, according to analysts RBC, The Telegraph reported.

“If I was 25, maybe I would be very excited,” Yuan says of his newfound wealth. “But those things don’t have any impact on me. Money is not going to bring me happiness.”

Zoom has emerged as one of the leading tools to keep businesses up and running and students learning. Seven days ago, 343,000 people globally downloaded the Zoom app, 60,000 in the US, mobile intelligence firm Apptopia stated, which compared to 90,000 people worldwide and 27,000 in the US just two months ago.

Zoom reported on 4 March fourth quarter total revenue of US$188.3 million, up 78% year-over-year and full fiscal year total revenue of US$622.7 million, up 88% year-over-year.

“We strive to empower our customers to accomplish more with our video-first unified communications platform … Our execution also drove 61% growth in the number of customers with more than 10 employees and 86% growth in the number of customers contributing more than US$100K of TTM revenue,” said Yuan.

Zoom’s shares have skyrocketed since it went public in April 2019, making Yuan a billionaire. Shares launched at US$62, hit $114.32 on 6 March this year and are US$111.10 on 17 March – a 79% rise.

Yuan is working on new features for Zoom from better face lighting to a lecture tool for professors.

“I feel like overnight, this is one of the catalysts where in every country, everybody’s realized they needed to have a tool like Zoom to connect their people,” Yuan told Forbes. “I think from that perspective, we feel very proud. We’ve seen that what we are doing here, we can contribute a bit to the world.”

“Coronavirus has completely changed how people think about where or how you should work.”

Yuan believes the concept of working-from-home will become part of everyday life.

“Millennials grew up realising that they can get the job done without having to go to the office,” Yuan said. “Give it maybe 10 years and the millennials become the leaders and then it will become very common. Coronavirus is just a catalyst. Sooner or later this is going to be normal because the world does not belong to us anymore, it belongs to the younger generation.”

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