If you had to pick one indelible image of 2020 that summed up the changes to the everyday life of Americans of every age, it just might have something to do with Zoom.
In the past nine months, a Zoom call has replaced school, business meetings, conventions, doctor visits, NBA and NFL team meetings, professionals sports league drafts, graduations, church services, happy hours and family gatherings. Just to name a few.
So it stands to reason, with so many people relying on this one technology, that someone had to get filthy rich over it – and oh boy, is that ever true.
Zoom’s stock price zoomed in 2020, and with it, so did the net worth of CEO Eric Yuan. He entered the year a billionaire already, after taking the company public in 2019, but his Zoom stock now is worth almost $17 billion, making him one of the world’s 100 richest people, according to FactSet.
Revenue for the scrappy video-call service quadrupled in 2020, profits skyrocketed 90-fold, and how about that Zoom stock price, up more than 450% since the start of the year?
As Zoom’s influence and importance grew, so did the scrutiny of Yuan and his company. There were concerns about the privacy and security of Zoom’s software, with many critics being uneasy about Yuan’s ties to China. The CEO posted a message on a corporate blog to try to get in front of the pressure by writing “I became an American citizen in July 2007. I have lived happily in America since 1997. Zoom is an American company, founded and headquartered in California, incorporated in Delaware and publicly traded on Nasdaq.”
He’s a very rich American now, and love it or hate it, Zoom has become a part of many Americans’ lives. Without it, kids wouldn’t be able to take a math test in their pajamas and corporate America wouldn’t be able to allow workers to attend daily meetings in their underwear.