Not even Eric Yuan’s closest friends, oldest advisers and earliest investors thought Zoom needed to exist. It was 2011, and the market was littered with videoconferencing systems from Google, Skype, GoToMeeting and Cisco, where Yuan had been leading WebEx’s engineering team.
“He came to a market that everybody said was done,” said Dan Scheinman, Cisco’s former head of corporate development who’s now an angel investor and Zoom board member. “He was competing with free and some pretty big incumbents.”
Yuan, who emigrated from China to Silicon Valley in…
1997 at age 27, says the problem with those products is that nobody enjoys using them, adding that the buggy code he wrote for WebEx two decades ago is still running today. As a software engineer with multiple patents related to real-time collaboration, he also knew that our smartphones and tablets could do so much more with videoconferencing than what was available.
So Yuan ignored the skeptics and instead listened to users. His wager is paying off.
Following Zoom’s stock market debut on Thursday, the company is valued at $15.9 billion. The stock climbed 72% in its first day of trading to $62, after the company raised $356.8 million in its IPO.
Zoom’s rich valuation — about 48 times sales — is a reflection of 118% revenue growth in 2018 coupled with an unusual quality for an emerging software company: profit. Thousands of businesses use Zoom’s software, with many taking advantage of the free product alongside 344 companies that pay over $100,000 a year.
Yuan, who owns 20% of the shares, is tech’s newest billionaire, with a…
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