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Eric S. Yuan

Eric S. Yuan

Founder & CEO at Zoom Video Communications, Inc.

buildd tags

Quit job to start Does code

Quick stats

$7.8B Net wealth 51 Yrs Age 2011 Year of founding

Career

1997-2007 VP of Engineering, Webex 2007-2011 VP of Engineering, Cisco 2011-Present Founder, CEO, Zoom Video Communications, Inc.

Education

Bachelor's degree in applied mathematics, "Shandong University of Science and Technology Geology Engineering, China University of Mining and Technology Executive Program, Stanford University

Personal Information

Partner Sherry Children 3

The Spark

When Eric Yuan was just a freshman in college, he used to take a ten-hour train ride to visit his girlfriend. He hated those rides and used to think of other ways of visiting her, maybe one that didn't involve traveling. "Those daydreams eventually became the basis for Zoom", Yuan says.‍

The Trials

Fascinated by entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, and attracted by the U.S market's tech boom in the 1990s, Eric Yuan was convinced of starting his own business in the U.S market, and hence, decided to move to the U.S. However, Eric struggled to get a visa, having to try and fail 8 times before finally getting it approved. Eric soon moved to the US in 1997 and joined WebEx soon after - at the time, it was just a two-year-old startup.

A Six-figure salary or Entrepreneurship?

Just 3 years into the market, WebEx went public in the year 2000. Eric Yuan spent a decade working for WebEx. When it was eventually acquired by Cisco in 2007, Eric was made the Corporate VP of Engineering. He was tasked with managing a team of 800 engineers during this tenure. Not happy with the service and the collaboration solutions that WebEx provided, Eric Yuan started to convince the senior management to rebuild it from the ground up. “Someday someone is going to build something on the cloud, and it’s going to kill me” says Yuan, on the need of the hour to innovate on the original product. After repeatedly getting overlooked on his suggestions, Eric decided to leave the company. It was a difficult decision for him, as he was married at the time, and pursuing entrepreneurship was a risky bet. Yuan eventually convinced his wife that entrepreneurship was the path for him and he would regret it later if he didn't try it out.‍

The Sponsorship

Eric Yuan's idea to build a platform better than WebEx required a lot of manpower and funding. He hired more than 40 engineers (some in China) to work on his idea. Eric asked his friends to write him a check for USD 250,000/-, so he could pay the salaries of hired engineers. Former WebEx CEO, Subrah Iyar, gave him $3 million for his startup, which was then called Saasbee. The investors were skeptical given the existing competitors in the market - Microsoft's Skype, Google's Hangout and BlueJeans Networks' video conferencing software. Despite the state of the market, Eric Yuan didn't deter from his vision to build a product that would make customers happy.‍

The Launch

Finally, Saasbee was re-branded as Zoom Video Communications and the product was launched in 2012.

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