Zoho Corp, Chennai-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) major, said on Wednesday it will be launching its ‘Zoho for Startups’ programme globally, starting with the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. Zoho did not disclose the investment for this programme. The programme, which completes five years, was launched in India in 2017 with the goal of removing access barriers to enterprise technology for early-stage startups. It has since impacted more than 9,000 startups in India through partnerships with over 150 collaborators including incubators, accelerators, government bodies, and co-working spaces across 19 states.
“Since the time we launched the Zoho for Startups programme, India has seen a 12-15% growth YoY in number of startups, making it the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world,” said Kuppulakshmi Krishnamoorthy, global head of Zoho for Startups.
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“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 startup ecosystem in those economies,” Krishnamoorthy added.
Through Zoho for Startups, the company has observed few trends emerge among Indian startups over the past couple of years. Zoho has seen a high degree of app adoption, the highest demand being for the Zoho Books (accounting) and Zoho Invoice (invoicing) apps, followed by Zoho CRM and Cliq (team collaboration) as accounting and invoicing software have become a basic necessity for every startup.
In terms of geographical distribution, most of the startups 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 startups from tier-2 towns like Ahmedabad, Jaipur, and Coimbatore, and even tier-3 cities like Indore and Bhubaneshwar.
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In terms of sectors, the education sector has been the most popular for Zoho for Startups, followed by IT services, e-commerce and IT hardware. The education sector went through a massive upheaval during the height of the pandemic, and it continues to transform even now.