Cloud services firm Zoho Corp has invested nearly $10 Mn in 5 startups. Zentron Labs (previously funded by Zoho in 2014); medical device maker vTitan; New Horizon Media, and other two undisclosed startups at a nascent stage. The company has invested in these startups to help the founders during their research and development phase.
Founded by Sridhar Vembu in 1996, Zoho creates software to solve the problems related to CRM, business tools etc. Claiming to have over 20 Mn users worldwide, Zoho CRM is its flagship service. It offers around 30 software products under three broad segments – collaboration, business and productivity tools, it competes with the likes of Microsoft, Google etc.
Talking about the investments, Sridhar, founder, Zoho told Inc42, “We are looking at product startups that can make in India for the world, similar to Zoho’s philosophy. We don’t look at startups that are in line with our Zoho products portfolio. We aren’t venture capitalists and exits aren’t what we are looking for through these investments. We are looking at helping them out long-term.We are investing in companies that think like Zoho.”
Zoho will mentor these startups at every stage – from enhancing products to financial management. In addition to this, these startups will get Zoho’s support from their product suites to run their businesses.
In August 2016, it launched Zoho Developer programme and Zoho Marketplace, which provides independent software vendors (ISVs) and application developers the tools and resources to create extensions and build custom applications.
Currently, Zoho is planning to acquire small technology startups in the artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics space and if right startups come their way, they will consider investing in them.