How ZOHO Corporation became a Unicorn Company without Funding?

Ritika Deshpande

ZOHO Success Story

Zoho is an Indian SaaS (Software as a service) company devised to design computer software to help businesses run seamlessly. The fundamental idea behind the company was to “build smart technology to help businesses work better.

Zoho, headquartered in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, is entirely bootstrapped, and it was founded way back in 1996 by Sridhar Vembu, Tony Thomas and Sreenivas Kanumuru. It was previously known as AdventNet, and almost exclusively focused on network management.

It was renamed to ZOHO Corporation in 2009 and stands for ‘Small Office Home Office — SOHO’ and has now evolved into so much more than network managing.

Zoho’s application software is made entirely from scratch and is particularly designed to work together smoothly and coherently for your business to prosper. These web-based tools run collectively to make you more efficient while costing you less.

Zoho currently has hired over 12,000 employees and has over 80 million global users. It also has 12 offices operating in 9 countries worldwide. Zoho has become India’s first company to reach $1 Billion in annual revenue. It is one of the few companies that has been able to do so being completely bootstrapped.

Journey of Sridhar Vembu

Sridhar Vembu, originally from Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu, is Zoho’s CEO. He was born into a farmer’s family living in a small village in Tamil Nadu.

Sridhar Vembu founder of ZOHO

He has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from IIT Madras and a Ph.D. and MS from the remarkable Ivy League University, Princeton.

It all started in 1995 when he and his brother felt the need to tap into the potential of people back in Chennai. They wanted to make a difference in the lives of the people back home.

He also noticed that very few Indian companies were powerful enough in the software sector, which led to the birth of AdventNet, designed to empower the youth of India.

What ZOHO Offers to the World?

All businesses need software to run efficiently. And different software needs to run hand in hand without glitches for the business to grow and develop flawlessly. Zoho is here for you to facilitate this. They say, “Spend less time managing your software, and more time managing your business.

Zoho offers a complete CRM platform (Customer Relationship Management)— A platform wired to improve and analyze customer relationships. It helps businesses to manage sales and marketing and boosts interpersonal relationships with potential clients and customers. Major brands like Amazon, Netflix, Ola, etc. make use of Zoho for customer relationship management. 

Zoho Creator is another platform that lets you create apps entirely from scratch. In 2017, Zoho launched Zoho One — An all-in-one service including over 40 business applications such as Zoho Books, Zoho Show, Zoho Social, Zoho Connect, Zoho Invoice, Zoho Learn, Zoho Lens and so much more.

“With Zoho Creator, you don’t have any limitations. You can go as far as your imagination takes you. In the next 10 years, I’m not sure where we will be, but I’m sure Zoho Creator will be by our side.” says Diego Cutignola of EStudio Cutignola.

“It’s inexpensive, very easy, and the support’s great. You can grow quickly, you can grow as fast as you want, and as big as you can imagine. Zoho Creator’s been just a perfect partner for us.” says Bob Colarossi- Managing partner of Estate Crush Winery.

Zoho Schools of Learning

In 2005, the founders of Zoho came up with the generous idea of educating the underprivileged youth of India and founded Zoho schools of Learning. Zoho schools refuse to cling to the conventions of traditional schooling systems and work as powerful alternatives to colleges. These schools claim to be more efficient than regular colleges and embed essential skills that are required for real software careers. 

What makes the schools additionally special is that they charge zero fees to the students. Instead, they pay a stipend of around 10,000rs per month throughout the whole course of 2 years.

To date, more than 1,400 people from all over the country have graduated from Zoho Schools! The specializations offered are technology, design, and business, and an honors program known as Advanced Study, where you can opt for a major and a minor subject from the above specializations.

The schools currently operate in two locations in Tamil Nadu- Chennai and Tenkasi. Zoho schools offer high-speed internet, AC classrooms, a dynamic syllabus structure, and opportunities to learn and work with IT professionals, enabling students to undergo practical exposure to working. This is what makes them stand out. Zoho truly believes that skillsets and expertise are far more critical than credentials on a piece of paper.

Zoho is proud to declare that up to 15% of Zoho’s workforce doesn’t own college degrees. Zoho is changing the lives of people deprived of adequate resources to build their careers by offering them training and jobs.

One of the greatest testimonials to this is the impactful story of Abdul Alim. He was a security guard working at Zoho. His seniors saw great potential in him and as a result, started training him to unlock this very potential, and today, he works as a Software Development Engineer at Zoho.

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