Outliers 27: A masterclass from Sridhar Vembu in building a successful company without VC money

Pankaj Mishra July 26, 2017

In today’s fast paced, startup-frenzied world, Zoho cofounder Sridhar Vembu is clearly an Outlier — he believes in “slow laddering” or building a company slowly, one step at a time. And to top that, he’s even shunned the venture capital monies and said “no” to an over $25 million acquisition offer from Salesforce.com during the early days of Zoho. Zoho offers a cloud software suite and SaaS applications for businesses.

With estimated revenues of over $300 million and more than 30 million users of its products, if Zoho were to be valued today, it would be over $1 billion dollars without any doubt. But Vembu believes in building institutions such as Honda, learning from Japan’s biggest, long-lasting companies.

After nearly a couple of years of chasing him, I finally managed to sit down with Vembu on Tuesday in Chennai for the Outliers podcast. It’s a long — nearly an hour — conversation that can as well be termed “a masterclass” in building a globally successful enterprise without any venture money.

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Lead image: Aravind Natarajan of Zoho

Podcast produced by Shivendra Pandey.

Updated at 12.10pm on July 27, 2017, to add the credit for podcast production.