Most CloudAve readers probably know that Zoho is our exclusive sponsor. When we launched in September, the speculation that this will turn us into nothing but a PR outlet for Zoho was inevitable. I think in these few months we have proven otherwise, by being very conservative with Zoho coverage (if anything, we have a negative bias) while generously talking about potentially competing solutions.
But when ReadWriteWeb declares Zoho the Best LittleCo of 2008, it deserves a mention here, too. Besides, it’s holiday time and I wanted to show off their updated logo.
We felt that Web Office vendor Zoho best represented the ‘LittleCo’ ethos this year, due to its David vs Goliath effort in competing head on with products from several very large companies: Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Salesforce.com’s core CRM platform.
Zoho not only competed with these bigcos, they were innovative and scrappy about it. And in a year that will be remembered for the economic downturn, Zoho is a reminder to us all that we can work ourselves out of a down economy.
Talk about working ourselves out of a down economy: Zoho itself was born as a result of a turnaround, when parent company AdventNet (now Zoho Corp.) had to reinvent itself after the collapse of their then primary market, the telecommunications industry.
Whether they are LittleCo or BigCo today is all relative: with 800 employees, of which 300 focus on Zoho, they are certainly now a scrawny little Web 2.0 startup – but when you compare them to the real Goliath they are competing with, they certainly are still little. Something tells me that even at 2,000 employees in many ways they will continue to act as LittleCo.
Part of the secret sauce of survival and growing has been self-efficiently: they are entirely funded by revenues. I’ve stopped counting the number of products Zoho offers somewhere above 20, for fear I would be wrong, but looking at some of the recent funding news to one-product companies, can you imagine what level of investment would it take to build a business that offers all the combination of Office and Business applications, tools and even the infrastructure to provide it as SaaS?
Not that I am against Venture Funding, in fact via my participation at SVASE I help bring entrepreneurs and VC together, but there is something to be said about bootstrapping, frugality and efficiency as means to prosper, rather than just surviving a recession.
‘Nuff said: congratulations to Zoho, thanks for continuing to sponsor CloudAve as an unbiased Cloud Computing forum, and we now continue our regular programming…
Update: also Congrat’s to fellow Editor Ben Kepes, having been marrried for 12 years today.