Founded as AdventNet Inc. in 1996 by Vembu, his siblings and Tony Thomas, in Pleasanton, California, the company morphed into Zoho Corp. in 2009 with its headquarters in Chennai.
Today, Zoho has 60 million users worldwide and counts Levi's, Amazon, Philips, Whirlpool, Ola, Xiaomi, and Zomato among its clientele, according to Friday Magazine, an online publication. The company continues to be bootstrapped, but commands a valuation of nearly $1 billion.
On the Padma Shree award, it is a huge honor and I feel humbled. I dedicate this to our employees, my extended fami… https://t.co/QjdC0qqWq8— Sridhar Vembu (@svembu) 1611622550000
“You need to be fearless, because you are facing giants and much bigger companies than you. I say what’s the worst that could happen? You go back to getting a job,” Vembu said at an event organised by the Start India Initiative on 16 January. “I apply a warfare analogy, where the worst thing that can happen in war is you get killed, but in business war you still live. So it’s actually easier."
He believes that government intervention is only required in setting up the rails for innovation. “Broadband is good. I know the work the government is doing in bringing broadband to villages,” he said at the event, adding that it was up to the private sector to grow the industry.
Congratulations @svembu on the #Padmashri award. What an incredible moment for #StartUpIndia! Such an amazing recog… https://t.co/4Hh5P7d7DT— Kunal Bahl (@1kunalbahl) 1611596394000
Even though I don't know @svembu personally, I feel happy and proud that he has won #Padmashri because he is such a… https://t.co/oOGGqnlscy— Vidit Aatrey (@viditaatrey) 1611631037000
Move Back to India
Vembu, a graduate of IIT Madras and Princeton University, recently moved back to India—specifically to Tenkasi, a remote village in Tamil Nadu.
"No, the pandemic wasn’t the catalyst," Vembu told the Friday Magazine. "I’d been thinking about making this move to a village for a while now." "I like to work with as little stress as possible. Many people suffer [from health conditions] because they work under a lot of pressure and stress; it’s something I want to avoid—both for myself and my employees."
Zoho’s WhatsApp Rival
Called Arattai, which means to chit-chat in Tamil, the application was launched in early January after Zoho employees began looking for alternatives to the world’s largest messaging service.
“You will see voice and video capabilities (in Arattai), which have taken about 8-10 years of R&D that went into various products that we built… Arattai itself comes from our Cliq platform, which is an enterprise messaging platform,” Vembu said at a virtual Nasscom product conclave. “We are repurposing a lot of the tech towards a faster scale consumer-class product.”
Software aside, education is also a priority for Vembu—precisely the reason why he set up Zoho Schools of Learning nearly 16 years ago. Formal education, Vembu told the Friday Magazine, can only take you so far. But much of contextual knowledge comes from hand-on practical training.
9 Comments on this Story
Manoj A28 days ago
My senior in Jaigopal Garodia National Higher Secondary School proud of my senior
S. Raman29 days ago
Sridhar Vembu was the outstanding student during school education not by mere scoring high marks. He was very much interested and very active in participating meaningful debates.
Always raised doubt over not only subject matter but on social issues too.
Now he is the emperor of true simplicity
Dattatreya31 days ago
Remarkable achievement indeed. Keep it up👍