In 5 yrs, India will be among top 2 contributors to Zoho: CEO Sridhar Vembu

Sridhar Vembu, founder and CEO of Zoho Corp
Zoho Corporation, a company that offers Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products for businesses across theund world, has been growing in the US and European markets for past several years. On July 17, The company launched Zoho One, an integrated suit under which all its products are offered at a single price. This has attracted Indian customers and the company expects higher growth in the country. In an interaction with Gireesh Babu, Zoho Corp CEO Sridhar Vembu dwells on the company's plans in India. Edited excerpts:

Your integrated product offering Zoho One has completed one year in the market. How has it been growing?

In the first year of Zoho One, we have had more than 12,000 businesses using the integrated platform. Around 36 per cent of the paid user base is in India, which is very significant considering, that India typically accounts for a smaller percentage of revenue for most companies.

More than 60 per cent of Zoho One's paid user base in India consists of new customers. In addition, we are gaining a lot of customers for individual products. Overall, the contribution of the Indian business would be around 10 per cent of our revenue, and it is rapidly growing. Indian revenues are growing more than 100 per cent year-on-year overall. India is already among the top four contributors for us and we think it will be in the top two within five years.

How do you plan to achieve that?

We are adding Indian language support to address the requirements of local customers in the country. We are adding implementation support, and helping them map out how to implement Zoho products. We are investing in a search product, Zia Search, which we call as actionable search, in addition to the AI, Machine Learning and other technologies. Maybe within the next year, the company will offer Cyber Security product to the customer.

We are also starting data centres in Mumbai and Chennai, targeting to start operations from the Independence Day. Mumbai will be the primary and Chennai will be the secondary data centre. This is particularly relevant for the public sector and the regulated industries. Mostly our customer base is from the private sector today. With the data centre, we will expand our exposure to the public sector.

What percentage of your business could be from India in the next few years?

We are targeting around 15 per cent of our business to come from India in the next three to four years and it may grow to 25 per cent in next five to six years. US, European Union, UK are growing well, but the growth rate is highest in India because of the sheer amount of adaption happening in India. At present, around 45 per cent of our business is from US, around 35 per cent from Europe and rest from others. In 10 years, India will be neck-to-neck with the US and both will be around 30 per cent of our business. Overall, we want to continue growing at a 35-40 per cent run rate for the next three to four years.

What are the expansion plans in head count? Zoho has been keen on recruiting young talent, training and keeping them happy. What will happen if there is a faster recruitment?

We have a headcount of around 6,000 people now. We have doubled our headcount in the last 2-2.5 years from about 3,000 employees. Our headcount addition is slower than what we could do, since we want to make sure that we should also treat them well. It is a leadership challenge to keep that culture when we grow fast. We might be at about 10,000 employees in next couple of years and majority would be in India.

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