How Zoho cracked the 1 billion revenue mark without external investment…and stayed true to itself

That's Zoho!

In the 1990s, in a small apartment in the suburbs of Chennai in southern India, a simple yet revolutionary idea first saw the light of day: “Program smart technologies that will help businesses operate optimally and efficiently.” This modest vision grew into a world-class company that can compete and compare itself against giants like Salesforce, Google, Microsoft and Oracle.

Founder and CEO Sridhar Vembu has been at the helm of the Zoho Corporation since its inception, leading over 12,000 employees with his vision. With their innovative ideas, they have already launched over 55 software solutions in over 150 countries!

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2022: One billion US dollars in revenue!

Zoho now offers a huge range of front- and back-end software solutions and cracked the magic $1 billion revenue mark in 2022. As a privately held company, however, Zoho has not had to provide exact figures. And that’s precisely the secret of Zoho: throughout Zoho’s history, it has never received external funding from investors. This allowed Zoho to ensure that the company could grow and do business according to its own specifications and vision. By developing on its own terms, Zoho has managed to build a strong internal corporate culture that focuses on R&D and product development and continues to grow slowly but steadily. And without having to deal with and answer to investors. “It has always been our mantra to invest in people and products. That is why most of our investments go into research and development. We have been around for 25 years already and we are here to stay!” says Sridhar Vembu, CEO of Zoho Corporation. The decision not to raise venture capital, go public, or be bought out has given Zoho a lot of freedom – the freedom to innovate, to learn from mistakes, and to challenge conventional thinking and go its own way. Zoho has invested time and hard work to independently build its software portfolio from the ground up, rather than taking on the work of others.

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The fact that these freedoms of corporate management not only relate to the development of the company, but are also reflected in the work culture at Zoho is logically to be expected and also reflects the reality. In times of uncertainty, many companies are in the awkward position of cutting jobs and laying off employees to meet investors’ profit expectations. Where many companies, during the so-called “Great Resignation”, a wave of layoffs in the labor market triggered by the pandemic, lamented in no uncertain terms the lack of loyalty of employees to their employers. Now it is time to show loyalty to employees. Sridhar Vembu tweeted accordingly recently. “During the Great Resignation, business owners often complained about the lack of loyalty among employees. I have always believed that loyalty is not something we can demand, but something we must earn. The time to earn that loyalty is now, as economic uncertainty increases. I hope smart entrepreneurs will start to earn it now.”

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