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Who Owns Zoom, the Video Conference App?

Image via Quartz

In light of the increasing security concerns surrounding Zoom, we have provided an answer to the question on the minds of many people.


Due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, millions are using Zoom to video chat, work and learn using the video conferencing tool. In recent days, new information has surfaced suggesting that the app is not as secure nor private as most of us thought, with a number of institutions outright banning its use. While grappling with the question of whether or not to continue to use Zoom for our video conferencing needs, here we will provide an explanation to question that may help guide your decision.

Who owns Zoom, anyway? Read below to find out the not-so-straightforward answer, explained.

Background

Eric Yuan founded Zoom Video Communications in 2011. Yuan, an engineer at Cisco Systems’ teleconferencing business, WebEx, founded the company because he believed that he could create a superior platform for customers in need of video-based collaboration tools.

As is often the case with modern-day unicorns, or startups valued at a billion or more dollars, the founder does not remain the sole owner of the company. The founder has to raise capital in order to finance the growing operations of the company. Typically, as was the case with Zoom, this capital is raised initially from venture capital firms who require an ownership stake in return. These investors, along with the founder himself as well as friends or family, make up the initial owners.

Ownership

Today, Zoom is a publicly held company trading under the stock ticker “ZM” on NASDAQ. This means that anyone can become an owner of the company, and as a result, thousands of separate individuals can claim ownership of the company.

However, only a handful of individuals and investment companies own a majority of the shares. The single largest owner of Zoom shares is the founder himself, Eric Yuan, owning 28.5 percent of all outstanding shares. As of March 29, 2020, the stock is trading at $151.7, meaning that his ownership stake in the company is worth more than $7 billion. Excluding corporations and investment funds, the second largest individual owner is Li Ka-shing, a Hong Kong business magnate famous for being the wealthiest person in Asia, owning 11.6 percent. Solina Chau, who is closely linked to Li as the director of the Li Ka Shing Foundation, owns approximately 7.9 percent.

Including institutional (non-personal) owners, the venture capital firm Emergence Capital Partners is the largest shareholder after the founder, owning 19.7 percent, followed by Sequoia Capital, another venture capital firm, owning 16.1 percent.

See the top 10 owners of Zoom below, according to Fintel Ventures.

InvestorOwnership (%)
Eric S. Yuan28.50
Emergence Capital Partners19.70
Sequoia Capital16.10
Li Ka Shing11.60
Hillhouse Capital Management9.10
Solina Chau7.85
Artisan Partners Limited Partnership6.40
Salesforce2.50

Although no single investor can lay claim to be a majority owner of the company, anyone who has owned the stock since mid-March has benefited from its skyrocketing valuation—a particularly rare feat in today’s market.

This article was adapted from an earlier version dated March 29, 2020.

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