A Brief History of Zoho

The year 2021 marks 25 years of Zoho’s existence. From its humble beginnings, Zoho has, in the meantime, accomplished a lot. It continued pushing excellent products on the market. The many satisfied and happy users of Zoho’s products are the reason Zoho grew into the company it is today and why it keeps improving further each day.

Let’s briefly go through the history of Zoho together.

How Did It All Start?

Zoho was founded under the name AdventNet

To understand how it all started, we should go back a few decades. Back in 1996, Zoho was founded under the name of AdventNet. At the time, the company focused entirely on creating network management solutions.

It took about five years for AdventNet to grow outside of the country’s borders. The first stop was Japan, which had an excellent and booming market for such services. 

It was not until 2002 that the company got interested in the name “Zoho”. Before the company bought the domain for $5000 that year, Zoho.com belonged to a U.S.-based hospitality startup, which unfortunately went belly up just the year before. The domain was a part of the liquidation process when the team fell in love with it and spared no expense to purchase it. 

As the popularity of products under the name “Zoho” grew, ultimately, a “Zoho Corporation” was founded. Both companies, AdventNet and Manage Engine, together with the newly established Zoho company, found their place under the “Zoho Corp.”  umbrella name.

Zoho grew into Zoho Corporation

The First Zoho Products

The first product published under the new name was an app named Writer, published in October 2005. The Writer app, a powerful word processor, is still a part of an excellent set of tools Zoho offers its users.

The following month, Zoho CRM saw the light of day. The first product with the name “Zoho” in it, this CRM rapidly grew into one of Zoho’s best-selling apps.

Zoho's School Bell Rings for the First Time

Zoho Schools of learning classroom

In 2005, Zoho started its most noble project Zoho School. This alternative to traditional education continues to accept students even today.

Within this program, students get a year of classroom training. The following year, they are employed as interns at Zoho. Some of the classes lucky students get to attend are industry-relevant programming languages, foundational mathematics for software engineering, problem-solving, and communication skills.

The school had a handful of students that year, only six of them. By now, it is proud to have created more than 800 software professionals – now proud employees of Zoho Corporation.

The First Million Users

The joy of having one million active users happened in August 2008. By that time, Zoho had also published Zoho Docs, People, Meeting, and Invoice – all useful and very much beloved tools.

In 2008, Zoho also launched its Zoho Mail. To this day, this entirely ad-free mailbox, offering more than enough tools within the application, remains an email service of choice for many people.

The New Name

In 2009, Zoho finally became Zoho as we know it today. This year, the team fully embraced Zoho as the name to represent their company, people, as well as a suite of offered tools.

The following year, in 2010, Zoho brought Zoho Desk to the market, one of the favorite tools for customer-oriented teams. By that time, the company already had $100 million in revenue. It has inspired numerous startups from India to make a global impact.

Growing The Community

In 2012, the first Zoholics event took place. The day-long user conference allowed users to explore the available Zoho apps. It also allows them to inform themselves better how Zoho can help them get the most out of their suite.  

The tradition continued to this day, with the most recent ones held in Dubai, Germany, the UK, Italy, and Spain, among many other countries worldwide.

Zoho continued expanding its portfolio of excellent products and hit its next significant mark in 2015 – its products at the time had 15 million users! The same year was very productive for the Zoho team, which successfully published six different apps. 

The following year, the number of users escalated to an astonishing 20 million.

Zoho One in 2017

Zoho One all-in-one product suite

In July 2017, Zoho started offering its famous “Zoho One.” This all-in-one product suite was bound to be a major success from day one, as it provides more than 40 apps within a single bundle. It includes apps that provide much-needed help with every business segment – sales, HR, finances, productivity, and support, among many others – for a stunningly low price.

The same year, Zoho planted its first flag in Europe. Utrecht, Netherlands, became home to its first European office. Since this humble start in the Netherlands, Zoho expanded its offices to six other European countries.

In 2019, Zoho Corporation’s family grew to include a new company under its wing – Qntrl. This new company focuses on providing excellent workflow visibility, control, and automation to its users.

By 2020, Zoho had more than 50 different apps and more than 1000 extensions in its marketplace to offer to its users!

Where Is Zoho Going In The Future

Now, with more than 60 million users and over 12,000 employees across the globe, Zoho is still going strong, even in these uncertain times. Zoho is a company that learned how to successfully navigate any ups and downs while at the same time bringing more value to its clients, employees and the local communities it operates in.

Judging by this short overview of its history, we can conclude that Zoho is here to stay and that its future will bring many interesting developments.


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