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A Bill Gates speech inspired Zoom founder to start an internet business—now he's a billionaire

Tom Huddleston Jr.

When Eric Yuan was in his early 20s, he heard a speech from then-Microsoft CEO Bill Gates about the promise of the internet, and Yuan decided he wanted to move from China to the US to be a part of the Silicon Valley tech boom. Today, Yuan is the 49-year-old founder and CEO of videoconferencing cloud software company Zoom, which debuted on the Nasdaq exchange on Thursday in an IPO that currently values the company at more than $16 billion . In 1994, Yuan was just out of college and working in Japan for a few months at the same time that Gates was in that country to give a speech.