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Rise And Rise Of Zoom



Zainab Sanni

Zoom and its daily active users grew to 300 million in April and the worth of the founder is estimated to have increased by $4 billion since the coronavirus crisis started.

This is not surprising as Zoom has become the go-to for video-calls and conferences following the ban on social and religious gatherings around the world to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing platform that can be used for video conferencing meetings, audio conferencing, webinars, meeting recordings, and live chat. Zoom was founded by Eric Yuan, a former corporate vice president for Cisco Webex.

According to Wikipedia, the company was originally named Saasbee, Inc. but changed its name to Zoom in May 2012. In November 2012, it signed Stanford University as its first customer. By the end of its January 2013 , Zoom had 400,000 users and by May 2013 it had one million users.

During an interview with Thrive Global, Yuan said he first came up with his idea for video-conferencing while at university in China in the 1990s, when he would travel by train for 10 hours to see his then-girlfriend, now his wife. “I detested those rides.”

“I used to imagine other ways I could visit my girlfriend without travelling — those daydreams eventually became the basis for Zoom.”

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He then set his heart on moving to the U.S. after watching a video of a Bill Gates’s speech about the transformational power of the internet. He said he knew the internet would be “the wave of the future” and he wanted to be in the “red hot” centre of it in Silicon Valley.

Yuan applied for an H-1B visa to come to America but was rejected. By the time his visa application was accepted, he had applied eight times.

In the year 1997, aged 27 he fulfilled his dream of moving to the U.S. and working from Silicon Valley. He was one of the first staff at video-conferencing technology company, WebEx.

In 2007, the WebEx board decided to sell their company in 2007 to Cisco for $3.2 billion. Yuan would work with Cisco for four years but eventually got frustrated with the change in company policies and decided to strike out on his own.

He said: “I firmly believed I could develop a platform that would make customers happy,” he said. “So in June of 2011, I decided it was time to make the video communications solution I imagined during my college train trips a reality.” More than 40 Cisco engineers followed him to Zoom.

Nine years later, aided by the world’s need for a simple videoconferencing tool as it battles a raging coronavirus, Zoom has become a household name and risen beyond its founder’s expectations.

In a chat with CNN Business, Yuan admitted that he had had little time to enjoy his family’s multiplying fortune ($8 billion at last count, according to Forbes) since the start of the pandemic.

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