Zoom became a verb this year. Amid a global pandemic that shuttered huge swaths of the economy, drove millions out of work, and forced the term “social distancing” into the national lexicon, the video chat service turned into a lifeline for millions of people.
Founded nine years ago, Zoom became a household name in 2020, as homebound consumers looked to the video chat service’s free 40-minute option to connect with friends and family. Like calling a web search Googling, video chatting has become Zooming rather than Skyping or FaceTiming.
In the year 2020, “Want to Zoom tonight?” often replaced the phrase, “Want to grab a drink?”
And “Zoom school” has become familiar to parents worldwide as school closures keep kids out of physical classrooms.
All of this from an app that wasn’t even designed for regular consumers.
“I would have loved to say that we had planned it perfectly. Obviously, we didn’t. Nobody has planned this pandemic,” Zoom COO Aparna Bawa told Yahoo Finance. “And I think the biggest benefit of Zoom that you’re seeing in the user base is that we do provide that human connection when we desperately need it most.”
he transition hasn’t been easy. In March, Zoom came under fire for so-called Zoom-bombings, where uninvited users “bomb” meetings to annoy or harass invited meeting members. The FBI even issued a warning about teleconferencing “hijacking” amid COVID-19 that specifically referred to Zoom.
Still, Zoom has become the app used by everyone from the Federal Reserve to everyday Americans trying to keep their social lives afloat. In its most recent quarter, Zoom saw year-over-year revenue growth of 367%, with the number of customers who spent more than $100,000 in the trailing 12 months growing 136% year-over-year.
And investors have been watching. Zoom’s stock price has skyrocketed in the last 12 months, jumping an incredible 475% from $71.90 in January to $410.01 as of the close of markets on Dec. 4.
It’s for all of those reasons that Zoom is Yahoo Finance’s 2020 Company of the Year.