Sridhar Vembu – Founder of Zoho Corporation
Sridhar Vembu is an Indian billionaire business magnate and the founder and CEO of Zoho Corporation. Zoho Corporation is an Indian multinational technology company that makes computer software and web-based business tools. The company was founded in 1996 by Sridhar Vembu and Tony Thomas and has a presence in seven locations with global headquarters in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, and corporate headquarters outside of Austin in Del Valle, Texas.
In 1968, Sridhar Vembu was born into a Tamil middle-class family in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. He obtained his MS and PhD degrees from Princeton University in New Jersey after receiving his electrical engineering bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, in 1989.
During a time when IT services were in demand, AdventNet was established in 1996 by Sridhar Vembu, who was then in his late 20s. He changed the company’s name to Zoho Corp. in 2009. Around 50 million people use Zoho’s online software services, which include email, project management, accounting, and CRM capabilities.
After completing his PhD, Sridhar Vembu worked as a wireless systems researcher at Qualcomm in San Diego, California. In 1996, he founded AdventNet Inc. with a small team of developers, including his brothers and other relatives. The company started by developing network management software for enterprises.
Over time, AdventNet expanded its product line to include other business applications and changed its name to Zoho Corporation in 2009. Zoho’s suite of web-based business tools and information technology solutions has grown to over 50 million users worldwide and it has a presence in seven locations with global headquarters in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, and corporate headquarters outside of Austin in Del Valle, Texas. Radha Vembu, Sridhar Vembu’s sister, owns a majority stake in the company.
- In 2004, Sridhar Vembu set up Zoho Schools to provide vocational software development education to rural students as an alternative to formal university education. According to a tweet from the firm, 15 to 20 percent of its engineers are not college educated but have attended Zoho Schools for practical training. He declared a “rural school startup” with free elementary education in 2020.
- Sridhar Vembu has donated millions of dollars to educational causes in India. In 2008, he donated $1 million to his alma mater, the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, to establish a new center for excellence in entrepreneurship. He has also set up a charitable trust that provides scholarships to underprivileged students to pursue higher education.
- In 2015, he donated $1 million towards relief efforts in Nepal following the devastating earthquake.
- In 2012, he donated $2.5 million to the Sankara Eye Foundation, which provides free eye surgeries to people in need. He has also supported the Cancer Institute (WIA) in Chennai and other healthcare initiatives.
- He has supported the Chennai Music Festival, one of the largest classical music festivals in India, and has also funded the publication of several books on Indian art and culture.
Sridhar Vembu’s Path to Success
Vembu’s emphasis on giving consumers outstanding customer care and paying attention to their demands helped Zoho build a dedicated customer base and set itself apart from rivals. Zoho has been able to maintain a good financial position and escape the pressures of outside investors thanks to his unusual management style, which stresses frugality, avoiding debt, and developing the company organically.
Vembu’s focus on employee empowerment has led to a highly motivated workforce, low employee turnover, and a culture of innovation and collaboration. Additionally, his commitment to giving back to society through philanthropic initiatives in India has helped build a positive image for Zoho and earned him respect and admiration from the community.
Sridhar Vembu’s net worth is estimated to be between $3 and $7 billion USD in 2023.
Interesting Facts about Sridhar Vembu
- Vembu runs the in-house Zoho University, which provides training to students who have completed 12th grade and have certain math and tech skills.
- In May 2022, Zoho invested $2.5 million in startup Genrobotics which is working on solutions to eliminate manual scavenging.
- Sridhar Vembu is noted for taking software and product development functions from urban centers into rural villages in India. Specifically, his company, Zoho, established its offices in rural Mathalamparai, Tenkasi district, Tamil Nadu and in suburban Renigunta, Andhra Pradesh.
- He is an avid reader and has been known to read up to 50 books a year, ranging from science fiction to economics to philosophy.
- Sridhar Vembu is a vegetarian and has been known to fast for extended periods of time for religious and spiritual reasons.
- He was awarded India’s fourth highest civilian award, the Padma Shri, in 2021.
ACHIEVEMENTS AND AWARDS
- In 2011, Sridhar Vembu was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Economic Times of India.
- In 2014, Sridhar Vembu was awarded the “Great Mind of the 21st Century” award by the World Education Congress.
- Sridhar Vembu was recognised by Accounting Today as one of the “Top 100 Important Persons in Accounting” in 2017.
- In 2019, Sridhar Vembu was named the “Best CEO” in the mid-sized company category by the Economic Times of India.
- He was awarded the 2019 Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year Award” in India.
- In 2021, Sridhar Vembu was listed on Forbes’ “Billionaires 2021” list, with an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion.
- In 2021, Sridhar Vembu was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian honors, for his contributions to trade and industry.
- In 2021, he was also appointed to India’s National Security Advisory Board (NSAB).
- Moreover, he has been chosen as CNN-Indian News18’s of the Year for 2022.