When Did It All Start?
Even the founder of Zoho Corp, Sridhar Vembu, has some doubts about the exact date the story of Zoho started. It could have been somewhere in 1995 or 1996. Or it could have happened at the time the company switched to the name “Zoho” in 2009.
Vembu explained the success of Zoho in an interview when he reminisced about the moment when he turned down a VC’s $10 million cheque. The cheque was to help him improve the set of office products for the parent company further, as it has been gaining some impressive traction. However, as every investment, it came with its caveats.
“The philosophy of taking somebody’s money and promising them what they want looks like a gamble to me. So, like a good man, I said no to the money. But, at the time, I was termed arrogant by the VC, and he left the office fuming,” Vembu said.
“It was a good decision because today I can experiment with technology, and invest 50 percent of my money in R&D without having someone telling me where I should put my money,” he added.
By not taking the money and continually investing back into the company and its people, rather than in marketing or sales, Vembu accomplished the impossible. Zoho managed to stay true to its humble yet admirable values. It still grew into a company of more than 6000 happy employees from all over the world while still providing exceptional service and tools to its clients. It is not all in profits, after all.
Zoho and Its People
A significant number of its early employees are still working in the company, 25 years later! Some of them are even putting their children through its school to become part of the Zoho family.
Zoho believes in its employees and offers some of the dreamiest environments to work in. Zoho’s working environments are the ones where their employees feel valued and appreciated, regardless of their background and education. Zoho has opened its doors to non-traditional candidates and continuously provides them with the opportunity and means to grow their skills and explore their possibilities.
What Has Changed?
A lot has changed for Zoho throughout these 25 years. They pushed out an impressive number of innovative and cutting edge products on the market in the meantime. However, the company rightfully takes pride in things that haven’t changed – its values.
The company maintained its independence throughout the years. It allowed them to integrate its values into the approach to business and its key metrics in general. Employers and Zoho users are still prioritized as people rather than numbers. The company continues to create positive and inspiring social impact, as it did throughout its history.
What Lies in Store for Zoho, Then?
Luckily, it seems that Zoho plans to continue more of the same in the future: to provide excellent and valuable technology while still putting people first.