Software as-a-service (SaaS) firm Zoho is one step closer to its foray into manufacturing. 

Zoho founder and entrepreneur Sridhar Vembu said on Wednesday that a small team of engineers have created a new line up of power tools that are ready for commercial production.

“We have a suite of tools ready to start commercial production. The brand name is Karuvi (கருவி) the Tamil word for instrument or tool,” Vembu said in a tweet on X. The potential of this venture to create rural jobs attracted him, he added.

He explained that the idea was first mooted by a Zoho customer Abdul Gafoor, who is a distributor of electrical and electronics products in the Middle East. “He came to see me in Tenkasi with a box full of hand held tools from his company. He told me he wanted Zoho to make these products and he would love to distribute them. I said we know nothing about it,” he added.

Vembu and his team still took up the challenge and a team of two engineers started work on it two years back to experiment with the designs. Today, it is a team of 10 as Zoho explores entering the manufacturing stage.

“We are trying some innovative ideas in the factory being built in Tenkasi. A new adventure begins,” Vembu said.

Vembu first spoke of his interest to get into manufacturing back in March 2022, speaking at a business conference. He had then said that he was personally buying up ‘light machinery’ and working to incubate talent for R&D in manufacturing.

As per industry estimates, the adoption of power tools in India is projected to grow at a 8.6 per cent CAGR from 2023 to 2033. Global players such as Robert Bosch Power Tools, Stanley Black and Decker, Caterpillar and others dominate the sector.