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When CEO Sridhar Vembu decided to open Zoho’s new facility in Mathalamparai in Tenkasi, a picturesque village 650 Kms south off Chennai (India), nearly five years ago, many people frowned. They wondered how Zoho, a billion dollar-plus CRM company that have long been acclimatised to the modern infrastructure in metro cities in the US, Japan, etc., would function in a rural area that doesn’t have an ATM, bank, or even street lights in the vicinity.

Zoho Founder and CEO Sridhar Vembu (R)

Zoho Founder and CEO Sridhar Vembu (R)

However, Vembu, who hails from a village in Thanjavur, did not have a second thought. He had some big plans in mind: He wanted to nurture local talent in Tenkasi, and equip them to take up big challenges in life.

Zoho's Tenkasi office

Zoho’s Tenkasi office

Through its Zoho University initiative, the firm nurtured engineering talent in nearby villages and hired them. Currently, Zoho has around 150 people working from this rural facility.

A view from outside

A view from outside

It was not a small task to build a team in Tenkasi. But Vembu’s bet was not in vain. To his astonishment, the team successfully built Zoho’s latest product Zoho Desk. The product is currently used by thousands of large enterprises across the world including automotive majors Daimler (Germany) and Mahindra (India).

Zoho

Zoho

“There is a notion among people that only Silicon Valley companies can come up with world-class product. We have proved them wrong,” he said at a media event in Tenkasi last week. “We moved to Tenkasi at a time when companies were looking to move to metro cities from tier 2 and tier 3 cities.”

The Tenkasi team poses for a photograph

The Tenkasi team poses for a photograph

Zoho is now expanding the Tenkasi facility. The firm has already started working on a bigger office, just a few metres away from the current facility. Through this, Zoho plans to employ more people from nearby villages.

A view of the office

A view of the office

Started in 1996, Zoho is one of the leading CRM companies in the world. It is probably the only tech company in India that has conquered the enterprise tech industry without raising a single penny in external investment. Zoho claims that more than 20 million users across hundreds of thousands of companies use it products.

Sridhar Vembu speaking at an event

Sridhar Vembu speaking at an event

Zoho is headquartered in California with offices in Chennai, Austin, London, Yokohama, Beijing and Singapore.

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Image Credits: Zoho