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Eric Yuan: The Man US Denied Visa 8 Times but Now an American Billionaire

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Eric Yuan
  • Eric Yuan: The Man US Denied Visa 8 Times but Now an American Billionaire

Eric Yuan was one of the few people profiting big from the ongoing global health crisis despite the global lockdown eroding profits of many organisations.

Eric Yuan was a Chinese American who founded a video conferencing app called Zoom, the main app through which businesses, schools and governments across the world are connecting as nations enforce social distancing to curtail COVID-19 pandemic.

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Yuan, 49, was born in Shandong Province in China and had his undergraduate in applied mathematics before proceeding to obtain a masters degree in engineering, according to a Bloomberg report.

Upon graduation, he moved to Japan where he worked for four years and was only inspired to move to Silicon Valley, California to work for an internet startup after listening to Bill Gates’ speech on the dot-com bubble.

However, it took the future billionaire eight different applications to secure a US visa in 1997 at the age of 27. Yuan moved to America and immediately buried himself in loads of programming with almost zero social interaction since he speaks very little English.

“For the first several years, I was just writing code and I was extremely busy,” Yuan said, according to CNBC.

Before founding Zoom, Yuan worked for a video conferencing company called WebEx that was later acquired by Cisco in 2007. He later became the vice president at telecommunications equipment company, Cisco Systems.

Cisco

According to a Fortune story, Yuan was inspired to build a video conferencing app because of his experience with his girlfriend (now wife) during his college days. Yuan had to travel 10 hours by train each time he wants to see his girlfriend and because of this, they only see twice a year. Therefore, he was forced to think of how to create something that would make them see more often.

“I was only able to see her twice a year and it took more than 10 hours to get there by train,” Yuan told Forbes in 2017. “I was young then — 18 or 19 years old — and I thought it would be fantastic if in the future there was a device where I could just click a button and see her and talk to her.”

That experience gave birth to Zoom, an idea that he pitched to Cisco management in 2011. He called a new smartphone-friendly video conferencing. However, his bosses shot him down as they did not see how a new application would compete or displace Skype and other established video conferencing brands.

“Cisco was more focused on social networking, trying to make an enterprise Facebook,” Yuan told Forbes. “Cisco made a mistake. Three years after I left, they realized what I said was right.”

Yuan left Cisco to pitch his idea to other investors, just like in Cisco, he could not convince any of the investors to support his new startup, so he borrowed money from friends and family to kick-start zoom.

“They thought the market is so crowded, the game is over,” Yuan told The Financial Times.

At first, according to a Forbes report, his wife questioned his decision to leave Cisco for an unknown future. “I told her, ‘I know it’s a long journey and very hard, but if I don’t try it, I’ll regret it,'” Yuan told Forbes.

Zoom 1

Yuan later changed his screensaver to ‘It can’t be done and kept working’ after countless rejections, according to Santi Subotovsky, a partner at Zoom investor Emergence Capital.

His courageous move started paying off two years later when Zoom growth kicked off even before its Initial Public Offers that saw the company’s share price rose by 72 percent on its very first day of trading.

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Zoom now worth more than $35.5 billion with over 30,000 corporate clients from Samsung to Uber, Walmart, and Capital One and many more.

“During the early stages of Zoom, I personally emailed every customer who canceled our service,” Yuan said in an interview with Thrive Global in 2017. “One customer replied to my note and accused me of sending auto-generated emails “impersonating” the CEO — he said Zoom was a dishonest company! I wrote back that the email was indeed from me, and that it wasn’t generated by one of our marketing tools. He still didn’t believe me, so I wrote back again and offered to meet him on a Zoom call right that minute to prove it was me writing the emails. That call never did take place, but he stopped accusing Zoom of being dishonest!”

Since December 2019, Zoom’s global usage has surged by more than 1,900 percent as schools, businesses and governments shifted online to comply with social distancing. Active users rose to 26.9 million in March, up from below 5 million in January and February.Zoom data

The company’s value more than doubled in the last three months to send Yuan’s total net worth to $7.57 billion from is 19 percent stake in the company. The billionaire is now ranked 192 on Bloomberg Billionaire’s list.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Africa Business Heroes Announces Top 50 Finalists; 12 Nigerians Qualifies

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Africa Business Heroes- Investors King

The Top 50 finalists have been chosen from 12,000+ entries, selected by a prestigious pool of 233 judges; 16 countries from Africa represented in the Top 50; 38% of Top 50 candidates are female entrepreneurs; 10% are Francophone; Top 50 finalists will progress to an ABH virtual boot camp and further judging. Top 20 to be announced in August.

Among the 50 finalists, 12 Nigerians qualified are Adebowale Odulana of Doctoora E-Health Ltd, Ebinabo Ofrey of GeroCare Solutions Ltd, Oghenetega Iortim of Gricd, Abiodun Adereni of HelpMum, Olorunishola Aje of IDEAS IN FUSION LIMITED, Leslie Emenalo of Kobopay, Ige Atiba of Laughkord Consult and Resources Limited, YETUNDE OYALOWO of Market Doctors-Social Enterprise, Chidi Nwaogu of Publiseer, Ikenna Nzewi of Releaf Marketplace Nigeria Limited, OLAGOKE BALOGUN of So Fresh Neighbourhood Market Limited, and Godwin Benson of Tuteria.

Africa’s Business Heroes the flagship philanthropic program for the Jack Ma Foundation in Africa has announced the top 50 finalists for the 2021 ABH prize competition.

These 50 African entrepreneurs are in the running to win a share of USD 1.5 million in grant funding and will gain invaluable networking and learning opportunities throughout their Africa Business Heroes journey.

Since applications closed in early June, a prestigious pool of 233 judges has been reviewing thousands of applications from entrepreneurs across every country in Africa.

During this first round, judges were looking for visionary entrepreneurs who are providing innovative, robust solutions to problems in their communities. They were focused on identifying passionate professionals that demonstrated an exceptional work ethic, financial sustainability and growth potential.

Jason Pau, Executive Director of International, Jack Ma Foundation noted, “in the face of incredibly difficult conditions over the past year, Africa’s entrepreneurs have shown incredible resilience and innovation.

The top 50 of the 2021 Africa Business Heroes competition are a true testament to this, and we are excited to support these talented entrepreneurs as they continue to grow and generate positive impact.”

Sixteen countries are represented in the Top 50, 10% of which are Francophone. They include Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Nigeria has the largest cohort with 12 in the Top 50. Women are well-represented, making up 38% of the Top 50.

There is an enormous diversity in the type of businesses, with sixteen different sectors, represented including agriculture, beauty & wellness, construction, consulting, education, energy, environmental protection, financial services, F&B, healthcare, ICT, logistics, manufacturing, media & entertainment, retail and transportation.

From here, the Top 50 will participate in an ABH virtual boot camp to engage with and learn from business leaders as well as previous ABH winners.

The boot camp will prepare them for the next round of interviews with the Round 2 judges, after which the Top 20 will be identified and announced in August.

The Top 10 will be announced in late September before they go on to the grand finale where they will pitch live to global business legends and secure their share of the USD 1.5 million prize pool.

For more information on 2021 Top 50, please visit the dedicated section on the Africa Business Heroes official website. To join these dynamic and inspiring entrepreneurs on their ABH journey, visit here.

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The Voice Nigeria Honours Late Sound Sultan as Race For N10m, Other Prizes Enters Final Stage

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the voice season 3 - Investors King

Late legendary Nigerian rapper, singer and lyricist, Olanrewaju Abdul-Ganiu Fasasi popularly called Sound Sultan who passed on July 11 was honoured with a medley performance of his songs by the celebrity coaches and their talents as a glowing tribute in recognition and celebration of his contribution to the music industry. 

Sound Sultan, a highly influential but jovial and unassuming singer is renowned to have mentored many award-winning musicians and wrote many hit songs.

The grand finale of the Voice Nigeria Season 3 is billed for this weekend, with the top six talents seeking viewers and fans’ votes to win the N10m grand prize and other mouth-watering gifts.

Meanwhile, Episode 17 saw great vocalists Anu and Nuel Ayo exit the show while Naomi Mac, Esther, Dapo, Kitay, Kpee and Eazzie continued the race as the last six out of the 25 talents who scaled the Auditions and started the contest.

Kitay in Team Yemi-Alade, Dapo and Naomi Mac in Team Falz, Eazzie in Team Waje with Esther and Kpee in Team Dare all survived by numerous votes from their fans.

The race to the finals of the Voice Nigeria season 3 continues to heat up as the six finalists gun for the N10 million cash, a car, and a record deal with Universal Music Nigeria.

During Episode 17 last weekend, the last six vocalists performed various songs and are hoping with their powerful performances to get maximum votes from fans for a chance to remain in the competition.

Esther opened the weekly show with a beautiful performance of Beyonce’s Love on Top, then Dapo with Michael Bolton’s When A Man Loves A Woman, followed by Kitay with Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing.

Naomi Mac sang Brenda Fassie’s Vuli Ndlela, Kpee with Fireboy’s Vibration while a very emotional Eazzie closed out with I’m Not Telling You by Jennifer Holiday before Host, Nancy Isime announced that Season 4 will be coming soon.

Episode 18 which comes up this weekend will have only four talents perform and fight for the grand prize via the highest viewers votes while the two talents with the least votes are dropped.

To keep their favourite vocalists on the show, viewers have to dial *894*7*talent’s code#.

The voting code of your preferred contestant to win the competition is in the embedded Instagram post below:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CRjP3zwpOzJ/?utm_medium=copy_link

Voting, which opened on Saturday at 9:00 pm, closes at 11:59 pm on Thursday (today).

For over three months, with an electrifying mix of pulsating musical performances, music training, glamorous fashion and awesome entertainment, The Voice Nigeria 3 continues to dazzle to the very grand finale.

UN1TY Limited and Livespot360, producers of the global talents reality series, also emphasised that public voting has become very crucial at this final stage to keep participants on the voice Nigeria season 3, as sponsored by FirstBank, Baba Ijebu and Airtel.

Scores of vocalists have performed on the highly competitive musical TV reality series but dropped out going through the Auditions, Blinds, Knockouts, Battles and Live Show stages.

Whoever emerges as the winner will automatically make his or her coach the winning coach of the season. Waje, who has been part of the show since its inception, won the inaugural season.

Apart from versatile singers including Darey, Yemi Alade, Waje and Falz who doubled as both celebrity coaches and judges, Nancy Isime and Toke Makinwa, co-hosts of the show have added great colour to the third season.

The first season of The Voice Nigeria was broadcast on Africa Magic from April 10 to July 31, 2016.

Agharese Emokpae popularly known as A’rese, a 28-year-old stage actress, won the first season while Daniel Diongoli, professionally known as Idyl, won season 2.

The music reality TV show is designed to discover and promote talented singers to actualise their dreams of becoming international stars.

Lead show sponsor, First Bank in a statement by its Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Folake Ani-Mumuney, reiterated that The Voice Nigeria 3 is a Reality TV show designed to discover and promote talented singers to actualise their dreams of becoming international stars which aligns with First Bank’s commitment to providing a platform for nurturing

and showcasing talents and driving social cohesion.

The Financial giant added that its support for The Voice Nigeria 3 is a demonstration of First Bank’s commitment to contributing to the projected revenue of US$86m by 2021 from Nigeria’s music industry aimed at promoting a diversified economy in line with the Federal Government’s diversification policy.

For more details on the show, do visit the Bank’s official website https://www.firstbanknigeria.com/the-voice-nigeria/

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The Growth of Digital Gifting in Nigeria

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Digital Gifting - Investors King

Over the past decade, Digital gifting has significantly evolved. This can be heavily attributed to technology which has created awareness and attractiveness about them. The growth in the gift card market is due to the rise in demand for gift cards in various sectors, including the corporate sector.

What is Digital Gifting?

You may be wondering, “what exactly is digital gifting?” What does it entail? and how does it work? Digital gift cards are Electronic gift cards sent by retailers usually to your Email after payment. Electronic gift cards perform the same function as physical cards, they both have     Gift codes and can both be used as an alternative means of payment the major difference is Digital gift cards cannot be held unless it’s printed.

Thanks to technology, everybody can get their hands on an E-card from the comfort of their homes and offices. Retailers are all over the internet, all you need to do is search for the particular brand you want and amount on secure websites.

Many brands over the years have incorporated digital gift cards to avoid being left behind. Recently, Card owners now enjoy funding their Digital cards due to the ease it provides when it comes to making payments. Also, some of these E gift cards have high cashback value when considering selling the gift code. Which has created a bit of confidence in the minds of Card owners. The fact that purchasing these cards is not permanent provides a sense of relief. However, you should ensure to watch out for the fakes and trade on trusted platforms. A recent gift card survey stated that consumers tend to go for reloadable gift cards over regular gift cards as they can reuse them.

The request and sales for digital over paper ones skyrocketed in the past decade. Studies have hinged this on environmental issues as regards plastics. It is also projected that physical gift cards may soon be outdated.

Analysis

A gift card survey once said ‘The growth in e-gifting sales, from $300 million in 2012 to an expected $3 billion this year, supports a healthy trajectory of growth for the market as a whole.’

The e-gifting trend has helped propel continued growth in the gift card market. Over $140 billion in sales since 2016. E-gifting has topped $10 billion and filled a niche for customers looking to buy and send their gifts to recipients they do not have to meet in person.

In 2020, the adoption of e-Gift cards increased tremendously during the global pandemic; covid-19.

This trend boosted the continued growth in the gift card market with an excess of $140 billion in sales since 2016. Digital gifting is advantageous and eliminates the process of having to meet the recipient in person before the gift card can be received.

Due to its convenience and flexibility, digital gifting has added a significant impact to the gift card industry. It has also brought about various considerations to limit or reduce the number of physical card productions.

In the United States alone, the gift card industry is expected to record a compound annual growth of 9.2% during 2020-2024. The market is expected to increase from US$ 163,050.7 million in 2019 to US$ 221,146.6 million by 2024. These numbers are estimated on the continued adoption of physical and digital gift cards by millennials, rising e-commerce, and an increase in demand for cryptocurrencies in the USA.

Conclusion

We are now in a time where the world is conforming to Blockchain technology, digital currencies and gifting. People are finding alternative and easier methods of making payments. As a brand to further provide convenience for your customers, you should seriously consider how to incorporate Gift cards into your business if you are not already on board.

 

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