The journey of Zoho from SaaS company to 100 million user full-stack tech platform
Zoho’s remarkable journey as a bootstrapped startup, founded in an Indian village to hit USD$1billion (2022) in revenue.
Trusted by 100 million users in 150 countries
55+ businesses applications
Zoho’s presence and offerings in Nigeria
‘Do more with Zoho’ is not a mere coinage rather a reality. With 55+ secure and reliable business applications that help you grow your business, in fact, you can build the whole of your business operations and processes on Zoho.
Kehinde Ogundare, the County Manager of Zoho Corporation (Nigeria), made these remarks last week during a chat with ICT editors at the Company’s Lekki office in Lagos.
Zoho brand, Zoho’s products and Zoho’s priorities for the Nigerian market
He reiterated that the business world is constantly evolving, and every organization is trying to keep up hence Zoho has prepared itself for value addition to these businesses.
Earlier this month, Zoho Corporation hit a 100 million user-milestone across the globe.
Now a full-stack technology company as it evolved from a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering, Zoho became the first bootstrapped company to hit this milestone.
This growth is also coming from the offshoot of the company, reaching 1 billion USD in annual revenue in 2022.
“It is simple; we make technology work for you as an individual or business. And that is our commitment”, Ogundare said.
For more than two decades, Zoho, founded by Sridhar Vembu, has grown steadily without external funding, and this has allowed the tech company to preserve its long-term vision and culture without outside pressure or influence.
Serving more than 150 countries, the tech company boasts over 15,000 employees globally in its connected ecosystem.
According to Ogundare, Zoho which is now a full-stack technology company enables users to run their entire operation on the company’s platform, offering services such as website building, finance, human resources, sales and marketing, project management and related services.
“We provide a platform such that your departments don’t work in silos. Zoho platform is now a connected ecosystem.”
As explained by Ogundare, the company in 2005 started with two products, Writer and CRM, hitting its first 1 million client base in 2008.
In seven years, the company added 14 million users to reach the 15 million mark in 2015. The growth became gradual till the present 100 million users.
“This is to show you that people actually get to trust us and with the credibility we have built over the years, people keep coming back, recommending Zoho to their connections”
On the recent data protection law signed into a bill in Nigeria, Ogundare reiterated that Zoho stands for privacy and security, “When you think of any top tech company today in terms of privacy, Zoho comes top. All our products are privacy and security-focused, we are NDPR and GDPR compliant, so this new law is a welcome development.”
Ogundare, however, mentioned that the government needs to do better when it comes to orientation, as a lot of people know nothing about data privacy.
“You can’t just enact a law without a follow-up. You need to let businesses know how crucial the customer data they are keeping and the implication of a data breach”
Ogundare further emphasized that it’s a good initiative, however, the government needs to do more awareness and create more orientation, partnering with private sectors and communities to give people that important information for them to secure data and abide by the data privacy law.
Zoho has also integrated tech stack and this is why the company guarantees data privacy and anti-theft activities.
“We don’t show ads, we don’t track you, these are the things customers want to know, feeling secured that their data is safe”
According to Ogundare, in 2020 the tech company removed all 3rd party trackers from all its products.
More packages for Startups and MSMEs
Ogundare listed Zoho for Startups, Zoho Empower and Enterprise Business Solutions, as three of the company’s focused activities for businesses, especially in Nigeria.
The initiatives help startups that are part of an incubator or accelerator by offering them wallet credits, workshops and more.
“A lot of founders spend too much money on technology, Zoho for startup is an initiative that we created to help emerging startups kick-start their progress.”
As explained by Ogundare, Zoho has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with StartupSouth in Nigeria to offer N500K wallet credit for startups. This credit will be used to test and deploy any of its products.
“We are not just focusing on big businesses, we are looking at the small business as well, what can we do? How can we give you orientation? How can you streamline your business, how can you digitalize, Zoho for startups wants to offer a better approach.”
“Zoho for startups empower businesses in leveraging tech to kick-start. We Orgnise workshops and training for them on how to use the credits on how to use the software to scale up, optimize and automate their operations.”
Zoho Empower aims to build digital literacy in MSMEs, helping them to overcome resistance to tech and digitally transforming their businesses through skill development, and technology counselling, while creating a marketplace for them.
According to Kehinde, Zoho has also partnered with a commercial bank (the financial institution that offers loans to women entrepreneurs in its large SME community) to bring its products to these entrepreneurs at a discounted rate or for free.
Enterprise Business Solutions is an end-to-end software implementation and project management service dedicated to helping mid-to-large-sized companies deploy the best solutions to optimize their business processes.
Speaking about Zoho Workplace, the platform has 16 million users globally and in 2021, it experienced a 34% year-on-year growth with more than 40% of the new migrations coming from two major big tech platforms.
Ogundare further revealed that the SMB customer base increased by 40%, mid-size surged by 36% and enterprises expanded by more than 20%.
With the rise of low-code platforms, users can leverage the Zoho Creator platform to build websites seamlessly for their businesses.
Kehinde Ogundare extolled the leadership of Zoho for the employee culture and prioritizing the welfare of its staff globally with exceptional experience.
“Putting employee and customer experience together makes a company grow faster”
“Zoho is unified and integrated, allowing you to scale. If you start small with us you can expand with it, our platform has the capacity to allow you scale as you grow”
“The more people understand the value it is bringing to their business, the more we are expanding to meet their needs” Ogundare added.
He further assured that Zoho Nigeria (office) located at 2B Bayo Olagoke Close, Admiralty Road, Lekki Phase 1, demonstrates the company’s believe and commitment to growing Nigeria’s economy.