Zoom CEO Eric Yuan must have extremely mixed feelings about Coronavirus over the last few weeks. On the one hand, it's a global tragedy that has literally killed thousands of people. The global economy has been utterly decimated, with millions filing for unemployment. On the other, it's doubled Yuan's net worth.
First, a little background
Eric Yuan was born in China in 1970. He has a Master's Degree in engineering from China University of Mining and Technology. In 1994, he landed a job that required a 4-month stint while living in Japan. At some point during this Japan sabbatical, he was able to attend a speech given by Bill Gates, who described the early growth of the internet industry back in United States. Erin immediately decided he needed to move to the US.
So Yuan applied for a visa, and was promptly rejected.
So he applied again, and was rejected.
In total, Eric's visa application was rejected 8 times over two years.
Finally in 1997, with a visa in-hand, Eric landed a job at a California company called WebEx. A decade later he had risen to Vice President of Engineering. In March 2007, the same year of his promotion, Cisco acquired WebEx for $3.2 billion. Eric eventually rose to the title of Corporate Vice President of Engineering at Cisco Systems.
Eric founded Zoom in 2011 at a time when there were already a dozen competing video conferencing platforms. Unlike many of the existing conferencing systems, Zoom focused on business-to-business customers over regular consumers.
By 2014, the company had 10 million total users. By 2015, it reached 40 million customers. That same year, Zoom raised $30 million in series C venture capital funding from investors that included Yahoo founder Jerry Yang and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong (billionaire owner of the Lakers).
The company's private market value hit $1 billion for the first time in June 2017, thanks to a $100 million investment from Sequoia Capital.
Zoom went public on April 18, 2019. After the various investment rounds, Eric's stake at the IPO was 19%.
The company's stock price soared 72% on the first trading day and left Eric with a paper net worth of $3 billion.
Coronavirus (and the resulting COVID-19) started to become a global pandemic in early-to-mid March, 2020. In this period, hundreds of million of people suddenly were told to work from home. As everyone began working from home, Zoom's usage sky rocketed and with that usage, so did the stock price. Below is a chart of Zoom's stock price since the IPO:
As you can see Zoom has gone from around $60 a share to $150 – $160 in recent days. The market cap has grown from around $16 billion to $42 billion.
And with that market cap growth, Eric Yuan's net worth has grown from $3 billion to $8 billion. That's a 62% increase, most of which has occurred in under a month.
A $5 billion increase in net worth pretty much all thanks to Coronavirus. How do you think Eric feels about his rising fortunes? Certainly some mixed emotions!