Software products firm Zoho invests $10 mn in five startups
Photo Credit: Mukul Mudgal/VCCircle

Enterprise tech firm Zoho has invested around $10 million (almost Rs 68 crore) in five startups, including machine-vision company Zentron Labs and medical devices maker vTitan, according to a media report on Friday.

These investments will help the startups' founders during the research and development phase, The Economic Times reported.

"We are investing in companies that think like Zoho. We are not venture capitalists and exits are not what we are looking for through these investments,” Zoho chief executive Sridhar Vembu was quoted as saying by ET.

Zoho Corp, one of the earliest multi-product companies in India, is headquartered in California. Founded in 1996 by Vembu, the bulk of its sales and support operations are carried out from the Chennai office. Its products include three brands: Zoho (operating system for businesses); Manage Engine (enterprise info-tech management product); and Webnms (network management framework).

This is not the first time Zoho is investing in Bengaluru-based Zentron Labs. In 2014, it had picked up a minority stake in the startup for an undisclosed amount.

“We talk to a lot of entrepreneurs but what makes the cut for Zoho is the acquisition needs to be tucked in to integrate into our product portfolio and we find a cultural fit in the entrepreneur,“ Vembu said, according to the report. “Entrepreneurs who solely build a product startup with an intention of exit will not fit in (the) Zoho culture.” 

In November last year, Zoho launched Zoho Desk, a context-aware help desk software, which was built in Tenkasi. It uses customer data from past interactions and from other Zoho products, like Zoho CRM and Zoho Projects, to organise tickets and presents information to agents to introduce them to a customer's problem and resolve it.

Zoho Desk was the sixth product that the company launched in 2016.

“Zoho has challenged conventional wisdom so many times in its history. We built the first software products from India when IT services were the rage and established them in the global market,” Vembu had said in a statement in November. 

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