If you are reading this, chances are you have a Zoom app on your desktop or mobile. Ever since the pandemic broke out, Zoom has seen its user base grow significantly. Almost everything made a shift to the virtual landscape. From interviews to online classes and team meetings, Zoom has had a meteoric rise. Let’s take a look at one of the most popular apps right now, and how it became so successful.
Zoom’s CEO Eric Yuan emigrated from China to the USA after he received his VISA on the ninth try. He wanted to work in tech and envisioned efficient video calling services. Eric first worked at Cisco’s WebEx Communications where he was Corporate Vice President of Engineering. He was an integral part of developing their video conference software. WebEx was a hit initially however that was mostly due to no competition in the market. Customers weren’t happy with the product. The software had a lot of issues like unstable connection and lag.
Eric Yuan believed that listening to the customers and engaging with them was important. Check out what he said in an interview:
“Before I left Cisco, I spent a lot of time talking with WebEx customers. And every time, when I talked with a WebEx customer after the meeting was over, I felt very, very embarrassed because I did not see a single happy customer. And I tried to understand, why is that? And I summarized all the problems all those WebEx customers they shared with me. You know, finally, I realized all those problems are brand new problems.” — Eric Yuan, Founder of Zoom
Eric was unhappy. To make the software experience better, changes were necessary. For a year he tried to convince the upper management to implement these changes, but they turned him down. However, Eric did not give up his pursuit of creating the ideal video call platform. He felt he could really answer the customers’ problems and make them happy. Therefore, he left Cisco WebEx with 40 engineers and started working on his own.
Eric raised $3 million from friends and investors including former WebEx CEO Subrah Iyar. He then worked quietly on the idea along with his team for 2 years. When Zoom finally launched in 2013, it stood out from the existing brands. Eric created Zoom with a video first mentality. While companies like Skype had first created audio and then adjusted to video, Zoom did not do this.
The company became very successful immediately. By May, they had 1 million participants. The company went through two further rounds of funding. In 2014 it claimed to have 10 million users, which was super impressive. Zoom had two more rounds of funding. It got valued at $1 billion after the Series D funding.
Zoom, also known as Zoom Video Communications has a current net worth of $40 billion (figures on 06/05/20). It has more than 2000 employees and has already made its way to the top of the videoconferencing market. However, it continues to face tough competition from giants like Cisco, Google and Microsoft. Eric believes there’s still plenty of room for the company to grow. His goal is for Zoom to reach over a billion individual users.
“There are over 1 billion [office] workers worldwide,” he tells CNBC Make It. “Our goal is to connect all those 1 billion knowledge workers with the Zoom platform. So, given where we are now … I would think we literally just started.”
What an attitude to have!