Growth Strategies

3 Steps Why Every VC Investor Follow on Zoom

3 Steps why every VC investor follow on Zoom

Since founding the now-iconic video-conferencing firm in 2011, Eric Yuan has raised Zoom to among the very prosperous SaaS companies lately. With 400,000 paying clients, $600+ million in annual earnings, and a market cap north of $100 billion, Zoom is omnipresent in post-pandemic 2020.

However, when Yuan was increasing his String A back in 2012, dozens of institutional venture capital companies — such as those centered on early-stage, cloud, and also cellular prices — passed Zoom. Why, and what can entrepreneurs and investors learn from such motives?

Zoom’s early days

Yuan abandoned his job at Cisco’s Webex to start Zoom in 2011 as”Saasbee.” Following the launching, he increased $3 million in seed financing from Bill Tai, TEEC Angel Fund (currently Called TSVC), Subrah Iyar, Matt Ocko, and Jim and Dan Scheinman.

Back in December 2012, newly-renamed Zoom eventually managed to shut a $6 million Series A round from Yahoo founder Jerry Yang and also the strategic venture fund Qualcomm Ventures, combined with Iyar, Ocko, and Scheinman.

But over the course of this year, each other VC company Yuan approached handed. Actually, why did so many investors lose out on the only best-performing SaaS business in the past decade?

Reason #1: Misunderstanding the video conferencing market

Venture capital investors search for unique ways to exploit untapped market opportunities. In cases like this, investors supposed the teleconferencing market was crowded and nicely served by firms big (Microsoft, Google, and Cisco) and little (GoToMeeting, BlueJeans,, and FuzeBox).

“At the moment, Zoom was only an idea in a seemingly very aggressive video conferencing space and many investors wrongly believed that the present products such as Skype, Webex, and many others were solving this issue,” Jim Scheinman wrote.

The most important investor concern arose out of an understanding that the market was older, instead of ripe for disturbance — as Yuan explained to anybody who’d listen.

“Most VCs won’t give the exact time of day to firms they perceive to be entering adult markets,” Bill Tai explained to me once I asked him via email.

According to his 14+ years in Webex, nevertheless, and after increasing its earnings from $0 to $800+ million, Yuan understood there was a huge latent prospect. The market had”a brand new product to link individuals face to face across the world constructed for the new cellular cloud ecosystem,” based on Scheinman.

So, how did this specific opportunity go unrecognized by well-informed VCs in 2012?

As Bill Tai explained ,”VCs did know that the cloud may make matters a little more efficient but couldn’t see that it would alter things SO much it may make a tipping point to unite this specific sector.” Indeed, nearly everyone underestimated the tipping-point influence and extreme market consequences of Zoom’s approach.

Reason #2: Overlooking the power of Zoom’s bottom-up model

One reason behind Zoom’s explosive expansion — both before and particularly after COVID-19 — is its own viral, bottom-up company design, following in the footsteps of the flourishing consumerization of this venture trend. The ability of the model was, really, well known in 2012, together with all the momentum of firms such as Dropbox, Yammer, SurveyMonkey, and Cloudflare.

Despite these evident successes, VCs fought to watch Zoom as a viable player, chiefly because”the video conferencing market has been viewed as ossified,” based on Tai. In his opinion, other bottom-up businesses such as Dropbox and Yammer gained credibility as early entrants that had a shot at establishing a new marketplace to become the significant player in their various emerging sections.

However, Tai clarifies why VCs fought to join the dots from this venture consumerization subject to Zoom.

“There was enormous doubt that there might be sufficient value generation, even though it worked. Many presumed Zoom will not have the ability to get clients to cover enough in the face of free goods from Microsoft and Google to make a business valuable sufficient to [warrant ] bringing a brand new cloud-based product to advertise.”

Former Qualcomm Ventures spouse Patrick Eggen concurs, although it didn’t stop them from top Zoom’s Series A round:”We had major concerns regarding the group’s lack of business acumen and advertising pitches,” he writes. “We totally underestimated the’bottom-up’ viral advertising potential and succulent scalable economics of Zoom’s business model.”

This misread of this business’s true potential — combined with anxieties about the way Zoom will dislodge the entrenched incumbents — has been sufficient to discourage investors.

Reason #3: Underestimating Eric Yuan and his team

Reflecting on his first VC fundraising struggles, Yuan recalls,”[Once I abandoned Cisco], I thought,’I had been a part of Webex’s success story. [Now] I will build a brand new solution. For sure, I will speak to VCs, and each of them will spend.’ I had been quite wrong.”

By all reports, Yuan has ever been a talented, product-obsessed pioneer”who desired to construct an iconic firm with a particular culture, and that put together a fantastic early group,” writes Scheinman.

Also read: How Paperwork Will Help You An Effective Digital Marketing Campaign

Back in 2012, however, Yuan was unknown.

He had been”hungry and humble,” Eggen recalls. “We were instantly galvanized by his own energy and excitement… [and his] maniacal obsession to construct the very best video-conferencing merchandise on Earth.”

What created Yuan together with his group of engineers and product managers stand out into Tai, Scheinman, and Eggen was the width and depth of their abilities and skills.

He had been”hungry and humble,” Eggen recalls. “We were instantly galvanized by his own energy and excitement… [and his] maniacal obsession to construct the very best video-conferencing merchandise on Earth.”

What created Yuan together with his group of engineers and product managers stand out into Tai, Scheinman, and Eggen was the width and depth of their abilities and skills.

“It was apparent to me in 2012 that Eric and his staff were good at shipping, and iterating quickly and repairing issues as quickly as they had been recognized,” Tai informed me. “Also, they’d capacities down and up the pile — soup to nuts out of infrastructure at the cloud, to internet interfaces, all of the way down to device level computer software.”

These look like the perfect attributes an investor would search for — both then and today. Why were they overlooked by VCs in the moment? “It is simple for somebody to flip Eric down since his English was not perfect, he was not in his 20s or 30s, and he was not a CEO earlier,” Eggen informed Business Insider.

Additional these investors were just not digging beyond questions regarding the narrative and market chance to fully enjoy the benefits of Yuan’s staff and their visionary item. “The VC community has been so negative in the marketplace dynamics which they never bothered to get to know the group,” clarifies Tai.

Continued success eventually leads to significant funding

It was not until over a couple of decades after — after raising its small business customer base to 65,000 and attaining 40+ million assembly participants representing 1 billion assembly minutes — which Zoom managed to shut its first substantial venture funding around.

Four extreme years later founding, Yuan closed a $30 million Series C round headed by Emergence Capital at February 2015, along with different VCs (such as Sequoia Capital) finally investing also. Ever since then, Zoom’s expansion has been directly up and into the best, which surely resonates with traders.

Zoom is the fastest growing video conferencing option in history and is currently believed the authoritative market leader. For Yuan, his group, and also a little set of early investors that made rewarding bets with this one time underdog, the end result is very rewarding — in more ways than you.

Written by
Aiden Nathan

Aiden Nathan is vice growth manager of The Tech Trend. He is passionate about the applying cutting edge technology to operate the built environment more sustainably.

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