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Eric S. Yuan

Founder & CEO, Zoom

Eric Yuan decided to come to the U.S. in the mid ’90’s because of the Internet, which he knew was the wave of the future. The first time he applied for a U.S. visa, he was rejected. He continued to apply again and again over the course of two years and finally received his visa on the ninth try.

He then arrived in Silicon Valley in 1997 and joined WebEx, which at the time was a real-time collaboration company with about a dozen employees. In 2007 WebEx was acquired by Cisco and he became Cisco’s Corporate VP of engineering, in charge of collaboration software. Eric often met with customers, and in his conversations with them learned they weren’t happy with the current collaboration solutions, including WebEx.

He firmly believed that he could develop a platform that would make customers happy, so in June of 2011, he decided it was time to venture off on his own. Eric first envisioned Zoom when he was a freshman in college in China and regularly took a ten-hour train ride to visit his girlfriend (who is now his wife). He detested those rides and used to imagine other ways that he could visit his girlfriend without traveling — those daydreams eventually became the basis for Zoom.

More than 40 fellow engineers followed him in this new venture and together, they launched the Zoom platform in 2012. Seven years later in 2019, the company has gone public and is valued at $15 billion with $269.5 million gross profit in the latest fiscal year.