SaaS major, Zoho has launched its ‘Zoho for Startups’ programme globally, starting with the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.

The programme was launched in 2017 with the goal of removing access barriers to enterprise technology for early-stage start-ups. It has impacted more than 9,000 start-ups in India through partnerships with over 150 collaborators that include incubators (70+), accelerators, government bodies and co-working spaces across 19 states.  

Support via credits, training, consultation

Zoho provides collaborator-associated startups with Zoho Wallet credits, training, consultation, and support. The wallet credits can be used to purchase any of Zoho’s 55+ applications. This includes Zoho One, the operating system for business that provides a unified platform of over 45 applications. Zoho, in collaboration with the ecosystem partners, also engages with the start-ups through periodic and exclusive workshops, in addition to community-building activities. 

“Since the time we launched the Zoho for Startups programme, India has seen a 12 to 15 per cent growth year-on-year in number of start-ups, making it the third-largest start-up ecosystem in the world. Government initiatives like Digital India and Startup India have been critical in creating a conducive environment for entrepreneurs, and we are happy to have been one of the first to have partnered with them. In its fifth year we are taking the programme global starting with the MEA region. We will be partnering with collaborators in countries where we have presence to help develop the start-up ecosystem in those economies,” said Kuppulakshmi Krishnamoorthy, Global Head of Zoho for Startups.

Edu sector most popular

Through Zoho for Startups, the company has observed that most start-ups participating in the programme are from Bengaluru, followed by NCR, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune. However, over the past two years, there has been an uptick in start-ups from tier 2 cities like Ahmedabad, Jaipur, and Coimbatore, and even tier 3 towns like Indore and Bhubaneshwar.  Further, the education sector is the most popular for Zoho for Startups, followed by IT services, e-commerce and IT hardware.

“One of the most common mistakes that founders make is not investing time in researching SaaS tools. They need to look at it as a long-term investment. Decision needs to be made based on whether they can scale using the tools, and how these apps would work with each other. They also need to carefully evaluate which function needs to be handled through an SaaS tool at what time, and keep in mind that buying software applications and implementing them are two separate processes. Through Zoho for Startups, we help the founders plan their SaaS journey, ensuring they have a holistic view of their SaaS architecture,” said Krishnamoorthy.