Earlier in the day, I saw someone promoting a “Zoom yoga” class on Facebook. I was struck by how much this sentence would have sounded just a few months ago. I mean, imagine how incomprehensible the following sentence would have been in February: “Damn. I just looked at my calendar and I have like five hour-long zooms. “It wouldn’t have made any sense. Zoom in? What are you talking about? Are you okay ???
Out of curiosity, I just searched my email history to find the first instance of someone inviting me to a Zoom. It happened on January 13, 2020. Here is what the person said:
“I can chat anytime between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. EST. Let me know and I’ll send you a Zoom invite.“
And here is my real answer:
“How about 1 p.m. And would it be possible to speak on the phone rather than zoom? I’m on a PC, so I don’t think I have this program.“
In retrospect, I sound like an idiot.
I say all this to illustrate how much our lives have changed since mid-March. Now that many of us are forced to work from home, Zoom has become an integral part of everyday life. Businesses may never return to the old system. If we had never experienced this pandemic, it is likely that most of us would never have needed to use “this program”.
This paradigm shift had a huge impact on Zoom’s business prospects. And no one has felt this impact more than the founder / CEO of Zoom, Eric Yuan.
Eric founded Zoom in 2011. In 2015, they had 40 million customers, almost all from business to business, as opposed to regular users.
Zoom’s private valuation exceeded $ 1 billion for the first time in June 2017 after an injection of $ 100 million from venture capitalist Sequoia Capital.
When Zoom went public in April 2019, Eric owned 19% of the company.
The Zoom stock climbed 72% on its first day of trading, ending the day with a market capitalization of $ 15.7 billion. This market capitalization valued Eric’s 19% stake at $ 3 billion. Here is a picture of Eric and some of the key employees / investors on the day of the IPO:
Below is a graph showing the Zoom share price from April 2019 to today.
Note the dotted line indicating a share price of $ 114.32 on March 6, 2020, just before the United States was virtually blocked nationwide. And note the current price of $ 275:
At $ 275 a share (as of this writing), Zoom has a market cap of $ 77.8 billion.
At this level, Eric Yuan’s 19% stake is worth $ 14.782 billion. This represents an additional $ 11.782 billion in net worth.
Eric is in a small club of multi-billionaires who saw their fortunes soar during the global pandemic. Here are some other billionaires who have experienced a massive increase in net worth since January 1, 2020:
Jeff Bezos Fortune: Amazon founder’s net worth has increased by $ 74 billion since January 1, from $ 116 billion to $ 190 billion.
Elon Musk’s fortune: Tesla / SpaceX magnate saw net worth increase by $ 37 billion from $ 28 billion to $ 65 billion.
MacKenzie Bezos’ net worth: Jeff’s ex-wife received 20 million shares from Amazon in April 2019 as part of their divorce settlement. At the start of the year, it was worth $ 37 billion. Today it is worth $ 63 billion, an increase of $ 26 billion.
Steve Ballmer’s Fortune: Former Microsoft CEO and Clippers owner saw his net worth increase by $ 19 billion, from $ 58 billion to $ 77 billion.