Business Strategy
Case Study
Entrepreneurship Journey of Sridhar Vembu of Zoho: Taking Silicon Valley to the Village

Article Details
Pub. Date : Dec' 2021
Product Name : The IUP Journal of Business Strategy
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJBS31221
Author Name : Koti Vinod Babu* and Namratha V Prasad**
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Strategic Journals
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 18



The case discusses the path-breaking entrepreneurship journey of Sridhar Vembu (Vembu), founder and CEO of India-based multinational technology company, Zoho Corporation (Zoho). Born into a farmer's family in India, Vembu was a bright student who, after attaining his PhD in Electrical Engineering, took up a job in Silicon Valley as a software engineer. In 1995, with a strong inclination to become an entrepreneur, he set up his first venture in Chennai, India, that offered end-to-end network management solutions. Over the next decade, keeping abreast of the changes sweeping through the IT industry, Vembu's venture, renamed as Zoho, launched a series of cloud-based productivity tools. Zoho's Software as a Service (SaaS) model-with applications mostly targeted at individuals and small businesses and at highly competitive prices-took off. Business success prompted Vembu to fulfil his lifelong mission of reversing the trend of rural-urban migration and bring his employees back to work near their hometowns. Vembu then not only shifted his office from Silicon Valley to a small Indian village, but also opened several Zoho offices in rural India. Vembu gradually evolved to become a social entrepreneur, taking up the cause of technology-led rural development. He received accolades for his pioneering entrepreneurship from the Government of India (GoI) and private institutions. Can Vembu and his work ethos serve as the inspiration for budding IT entrepreneurs and other companies?

Mentally I was prepared for the long haul... It wasn't a five-year thing. It would take 30 or 40 years.1

- Sridhar Vembu, Founder and CEO of Zoho Corporation, in October 2016


In March 2021, India-based multinational technology company Zoho Corporation (Zoho) completed 25 years as a global technology provider. Sridhar Vembu (Vembu), its founder and CEO, said in a blog post on the company's website to mark the occasion, "All we know about Zoho corp is that we were born sometime between late 1995 and early 1996 and we acquired the