The CEO of Zoom says that the coronavirus outbreak is going to drive way more companies to remote work even after it's all over
Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said that he expects the coronavirus outbreak to show companies that remote working is the future, and it will "dramatically change the landscape." Yuan said that even before coronavirus started driving more remote work, it was an increasing trend, especially in Silicon Valley, and other companies are now just starting to realize the benefits it offers. Zoom stock has been up dramatically in recent weeks, as Wall Street bets that coronavirus will drive more usage of the videoconferencing tool and services like it. But Zoom is striking a more cautious tone about the potential impact on its business. "We have definitely seen an uptick in usage, but a lot of that is on the free side, so it's very early to tell whether or not that's going to convert long term into paying customers," CFO Kelly Steckelberg said. Zoom is now also asking all employees based at its headquarters in San Jose, CA to work from home. Click here for more BI Prime stories.
Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said that he expects the coronavirus outbreak to change the landscape for videoconferencing tools, as more companies start to have employees work remotely in a bid to stem the spread of the virus. "Video is the future of communication...given the coronavirus, I think overnight, almost everybody really understands they needed a tool like this," Yuan said on a call with analysts after releasing fourth quarter earnings results. "This will dramatically change the landscape." As the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, spreads, more and more companies are asking employees to work from home. Schools in affected areas like Hong Kong and Vietnam have been closed to try and prevent the spread of the virus. Even in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Zoom is based, some companies like Twitter have expanded their work-from-home policies. Under those circumstances, companies are increasingly relying on tools like Zoom to help employees stay connected. However, Yuan said that even before coronavirus started driving more remote work, it was a trend that was already gaining popularity, especially in Silicon Valley. Companies like Zapier and GitLab have all-remote workforces, something many see as one way work will change in the future. Coronavirus shown that that future many come sooner than some thought. It has forced larger companies to see that they needed to make it possible for employees to work remotely in order to keep the business running when crises like coronavirus hit, Yuan added. Yuan said that if he were to start Zoom over from scratch today, he wouldn't have a single physical office and would make it an all-remote company. Increased usage due to coronavirus Zoom said it has seen an big increase in users for the free version of its product due to coronavirus. However, the earnings results reported Wednesday didn't show much of that increased usage because much of the increase has been for the free version of its product, CFO Kelly Steckelberg said on the call. "We have definitely seen an uptick in usage, but a lot of that is on the free side, so it's very early to tell whether or not that's going to convert long term into paying customers," Steckelberg said. When asked if Zoom has a strategy to convert those new free users to paid users in the future, Yuan said at the moment he is just focused on providing the best product to customers and making sure people impacted by coronavirus are able to benefit. "I would say, empathy, humanity and support for each other is more important, not revenue," Yuan said, adding that if Zoom focuses on giving its customers the best product it can, money and profits will eventually follow. Zoom recently lifted the 40-minute time limit per video meeting for its free product in China in an effort to help those affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Yuan also said that Zoom is scaling its servers to be able to handle the increased usage. Yuan, who grew up in China's Shandong province, said in a blog post last week that he wanted to do something to help those affected as the virus continues to disrupt daily affairs, business operations, and school classes. Zoom itself has part of its research and development team based in China, but Yuan said they were not impacted by the coronavirus in China. Employees already know how to work remotely so they were able to continue working without disruption. Given a number of cases in Zoom's home state of California, Zoom is now asking all employees based at its headquarters in San Jose, CA to work from home as well. "Given the recent emergence and growing number of coronavirus cases in the US, we have directed our HQ employees to work from home, unless there is a business-critical need for them to be in the office," Yuan said on the call. Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Signal at 925-364-4258. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A podiatrist explains heel spurs, the medical condition Trump said earned him a medical deferment from Vietnam
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Work app Workvivo is backed by Zoom's CEO. Here's an exclusive look at the pitch deck it used to raise an extra $16 million.
Ireland-based tech startup Workvivo has raised $16 million in funding from Tiger Global and Frontline Ventures,...Ireland-based tech startup Workvivo has raised $16 million in funding from Tiger Global and Frontline Ventures, having previously been backed by Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan. Workvivo, founded in 2017, provides a internal communications platform for companies to engage and connect with employees. "Communication has always been high on people's agendas, but now it's top of mind," Workvivo cofounder and CEO John Goulding told Business Insider in an interview. "Old style communications like email are dying now, people's attentions are now focused on the digital transformation and new ways of working." Click here for more BI Prime stories. Ireland-based tech startup Workvivo has raised $16 million in funding from Tiger Global and Frontline Ventures, having previously been backed by Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan. Workvivo, founded in 2017, provides a internal communications platform for companies to engage and connect with employees. Through Workvivo's web, desktop and a mobile app, employees can post content to company activity feeds alongside other tools like shout-outs, links to company goals, and the ability to create online community spaces. Workvivo integrates with services like Slack and is more like a slick company intranet than a chat app itself. A 2013 Gallup poll estimated that 70% of employees in the US were disengaged at work and that this costs the worldwide economy $450 billion annually. A more recent estimation pins the figure at 53% meaning that despite some improvement, there is still a long way to go. Keeping employees engaged will become more important too as companies consider the future of work. "Communication has always been high on people's agendas, but now it's top of mind," Workvivo cofounder and CEO John Goulding told Business Insider in an interview. "Old style communications like email are dying now, people's attentions are now focused on the digital transformation and new ways of working." With millions of workers now operating remotely worldwide, the need for more effective communication and engagement tools has grown, according to Goulding. "It's more important for organisations who are facing similar challenges," he added. "It's about connecting people with the goals of the organisation, aiding a culture of recognition, as well as community, representation, and two way communications." Workvivo's offering has friends in high places. The company's first external investment came from Zoom CEO and cofounder Eric Yuan in a $1.5 million seed round last year. The startup had been bootstrapped, but profitable, prior to that, Goulding said. Now, fresh funding from Tiger Global, a backer of Linkedin, Stripe, and Square, will help the company scale further. The round closed in late February with discussions starting in late 2019. Workvivo has added eight staff to its headcount since the funding round closed, taking total employees to 24 but Goulding expects that number to rise to more than 35 before the year-end. Check out the company's redacted pitch deck below: SEE ALSO: We got an exclusive look at the pitch deck UK fintech Modulr used to raise $23 million to disrupt the $120 trillion payments market
Zoom security advisor Alex Stamos explains how the acquisition of Keybase will help the red-hot videoconferencing app address its 'unique' challenges in adding end-to-end encryption (ZM)
On Thursday, Zoom announced the acquisition of Keybase, a secure messaging and file sharing service, to...On Thursday, Zoom announced the acquisition of Keybase, a secure messaging and file sharing service, to help get the talent and technology to shore up the security and privacy of its app. Alex Stamos, the former Facebook security chief who's also a security advisor to Zoom CEO Eric Yuan, said that the acquisition of Keybase was a necessary step to move quickly in addressing Zoom's well-documented security issues. Stamos praised Keybase as having the right expertise to build user-friendly apps that are also safe and secure — something that's very important to Zoom, he says. Even once Zoom's current privacy woes are over, Stamos says that having Keybase's talent on hand will help the company address future privacy and security issues. Stamos didn't comment on whether this means more cybersecurity acquisitions are in the works at Zoom, but analysts we spoke to say it could be a good idea. Click here to read more stories from BI Prime. Zoom on Thursday announced its first acquisition, bringing on Keybase, a secure messaging and file sharing service. The company says that it's all a part of the 90-day plan it announced in April to shore up the security and privacy of its app after its meteoric rise to mainstream success came with its share of controversy. A big part of that plan is building end-to-end encryption into the Zoom videoconferencing app itself — a security feature that Zoom had long billed itself as already having, before it came out in April that its marketing had been misleading. Alex Stamos, a security advisor to Zoom CEO Eric Yuan who's best known as the former chief security officer of Facebook, said that this acquisition was the right move as a next step in that 90-day plan. Keybase brings Zoom the right talent and technology to tackle the considerable challenge of adding end-to-end encryption at the scale required. Apple's FaceTime, just as an example, has end-to-end encryption — but each call can only hold 32 people at a time. A Zoom meeting, however, can hold up to 1,000 people in a single meeting, and up to 50,000 in a webinar. That's coupled with the fact that you don't need a Zoom account to join a Zoom call. Stamos said that this makes encryption a unique challenge for Zoom. Stamos said that Zoom executives realized the quickest way to build it was to find an existing team who had the right team and technologies, but also a focus on building user-friendly products. "That was clear with Keybase, they built a very secure product that's also shockingly usable," Stamos told Business Insider. "There's lots of smart cryptographers in academia, but they've never had to actually ship something that people have to use, so finding a team that has, it was, you know, allowed us to really accelerate the process." To that point, Stamos says that Zoom not only has to improve the security of its platform, but also has to make sure it does it in a way that doesn't confuse users or make the app harder to use. That's why Keybase and its user-friendly design team was so desirable. How the Keybase acquisition fits into Zoom's 90-day plan Even once the 90-day plan is in the rear-view mirror, Stamos said, Keybase gives Zoom a leg up with addressing future security problems. The work itself is "never over," Stamos said. "But the goal is by the end of the 90 days to have a team that is staffed up and organized in a way that makes sense for the importance of the company now." Stamos anticipates that the pandemic will last for a while longer, and so too will Zoom's newfound popularity with consumers. With that in mind, Zoom has to think beyond its original purpose of serving business customers, and consider all the new security and privacy issues that can pop up. That's why some of Keybase will form the core of a new security engineering team at Zoom. Zoom is also expanding its trust and safety team to include engineers and product managers, the same way that consumer technology companies like Stamos' former employers at Facebook have done. It's also doubling down on initiatives like searching for stolen Zoom credentials on the dark web to inform users — again, something consumer tech companies do. It's a proactive step, Stamos says: The threats that Zoom faces are relatively small compared to those seen by larger companies. But as usage of Zoom continues to surge, the problems will only get worse. It's doing this reorganization by hiring rapidly, Stamos said, and now aided by acquiring Keybase's engineers as well. Stamos didn't comment on if Zoom would look to do more acquisitions to get key technology and talent as it seeks to improve its privacy and security. Analysts say the Keybase deal could open the door to more acquisitions Analysts who follow Zoom said it would make sense for the company to acquire more startups like Keybase to add the necessary technology and talent it needs as part of this process. "I wouldn't be surprised if Zoom made more of these tuck-in acquisitions, especially as it pertains to security and privacy," Rishi Jaluria, an analyst at D.A. Davidson, told Business Insider. "I would expect this would lean towards smaller companies where Zoom is buying the company for the technology and the talent, not for revenue or actual products." Dan Newman, an analyst at Futurum Research, agreed, and said that given the fact that the current economic climate has driven prices down on a lot of companies, this is an opportune time to be looking for new technology. "I think it would be intelligent to be out shopping for some key technologies that might enhance the company's security, increase its support, improve the customer and user experience," Newman told Business Insider. He adds that the Keybase acquisition if it integrates the technology well, could be a huge benefit to Zoom going forward and give it much more credibility with its business users. Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at email@example.com or Signal at 925-364-4258. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What makes 'Parasite' so shocking is the twist that happens in a 10-minute sequence
Foreign intelligence operatives are reportedly using online platforms and video-conferencing apps like Zoom to spy on Americans
Foreign intelligence agents are using online platforms and videoconferencing apps to spy on Americans, TIME reported....Foreign intelligence agents are using online platforms and videoconferencing apps to spy on Americans, TIME reported. Chinese spies, in particular, have exploited the coronavirus pandemic to get information about American companies as they take their operations digital and offices across the US shut down amid stay-at-home orders. The app Zoom has proven especially susceptible to cyber intrusions because of its popularity and lack of encryption. A research group at the University of Toronto found that some of Zoom's encryption keys are routed through Chinese servers. Zoom also owns three companies in China, at which at least 700 employees are paid to develop its software. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Foreign intelligence agents are using online platforms and videoconferencing apps to spy on Americans, TIME reported, citing several US intelligence officials. Chinese spies, in particular, have exploited the coronavirus pandemic to get information about American companies as they take their operations digital and offices across the US shut down amid stay-at-home orders. The video conferencing app Zoom has proven particularly susceptible to cyber intrusions because of its popularity — Zoom's CEO said the number of people using the app jumped from 10 million in December to 200 million in March — and lack of encryption. Hackers targeting the platform, dubbed "Zoombombers," have disrupted events like doctoral dissertations, Sunday school, city council meetings, online classes at universities, and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Even the FBI weighed in on the matter, warning schools, in particular, to be wary of hackers infiltrating online meetings and calls to post pornographic imagery and hate speech. Now, TIME reported, Zoom is becoming a playground for foreign spies, as operatives from countries like Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea target Americans' video chats. "More than anyone else, the Chinese are interested in what American companies are doing," one official told the outlet. Zoom, moreover, is more vulnerable to intrusion by Chinese cyberspies because some of its encryption keys are routed through Chinese servers, according to a report this month from The Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto. The report also found that Zoom owns three companies in China, at which at least 700 employees are paid to develop Zoom's software. "This arrangement is ostensibly an effort at labor arbitrage: Zoom can avoid paying US wages while selling to US customers, thus increasing their profit margin. However, this arrangement may make Zoom responsive to pressure from Chinese authorities," the report said. Indeed, the coronavirus pandemic is a blessing in disguise for intelligence agencies in China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and other rogue regimes, many of whom have adapted to using cyberwarfare to carry out their objectives. As people across the world are forced to stay home and work remotely, they're increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks and disinformation — two tools that are more useful than ever to foreign spies. These methods are also cheaper to employ and require less financial investment than traditional methods of intelligence gathering, giving countries like China and Russia a leg-up as they compete against more financially stable countries like the US. Zoom, for its part, has said it will work to enhance its security over the coming months. "For the past several weeks, supporting this influx of users has been a tremendous undertaking and our sole focus," Zoom's CEO, Eric Yuan, wrote in a blog post. "However, we recognize that we have fallen short of the community's — and our own — privacy and security expectations." Yuan announced that the company will freeze its feature updates for 90 days while it addresses privacy and security issues. He said Zoom will also conduct a "comprehensive review with third-party experts" to ensure it's taking the necessary steps to protect user privacy. In the meanwhile, several US lawmakers have called for investigations into Zoom's security, and some state attorneys general are examining the matter as well. Got a tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Extremists turned a frog meme into a hate symbol, but Hong Kong protesters revived it as an emblem of hope