Sridhar Vembu is the CEO and Co-founder of Zoho Corp, which he describes as “…a state-of-the-art tech company with a very old-fashioned approach to company building.” Founded in an apartment, in 1996, Zoho now has over 15,000 employees, more than US$1 billion in annual revenues, and over 100 million users. All of this ‘bootstrapped’ as a private business, with no external or public investors. In 2005, he launched the Zoho University (now called Zoho Schools of Learning) programme with six rural high-school students, trained for two years in computer science, maths and communication before being absorbed into the company. Today, around 15% of Zoho’s workforce is made of ZU Graduates who benefit from the business wishing to open offices in small towns, suburbs and rural locations rather than metros. Today, Zoho continues to scale, and Sridhar Vembu is a self-made billionaire, recognised as one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs & philanthropists. In 2021, he was recipient of the Padma Sri (one of India’s highest civilian honours). In this interview, I speak to Sridhar Vembu, CEO and co-founder of Zoho Corp, recognised as one of the world’s most successful technology entrepreneurs who has bootstrapped his business from launch to over US$1 billion in revenues, whilst making huge social impact. 

Thought Economics

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