Zoho is a productivity suite that offers online collaborative apps similar to the traditional Microsoft Office programs; due to this, Zoho is often seen as a Google Apps competitor. Recently the company expanded its suite to include administration tools for invoicing, recruitment and user support, aimed at increasing productivity for small business owners.
Zoho receives hundreds of thousands of visitors to its website every month, according to Quantcast. The site offers more than 25 apps designed for online collaboration and business productivity, such as Chat, Docs, Meetings, Wiki, BugTracker, CRM, Invoice, Recruits, Reports, Calendar or Writer. The company said that it had registered more than 5 million user accounts until now.
Zoho has been founded in 1996; currently it is headquartered in Pleasanton, California, USA. The key person behind Zoho’s success is its founder and CEO, Sridhar Vembu. He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras but he also holds a PhD. in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University. Sridhar became famous for its unique staffing practices at Zoho: he created ZOHO University, a two-year training program for disadvantaged Indian high school graduates, with a strong focus on technical competence; graduates of this program make up for 10% of the company’s workforce.
Zoho did not receive any external capital or bank loans. Sridhar insisted on the company’s independence by following a boot-strap model where the company’s profits are used to grow the service organically. Acquisition offers from external investors, including Marc Benioff from Salesforce.com, have been refused consistently despite their aggressive bidding.