SaaS Company Zoho’s CEO Sridhar Vembu Announces Karuvi Power Tools Initiative

zoho logo

Three points you will get to know in this article:

  • Karuvi designs and builds power tools and mechanical systems.
  • Sridhar Vembu said Karuvi is building a power tool factory in Tenkasi for Zoho.
  • User estimated cost as INR 1 Cr, Vembu projected it to be more than double.

Introduction of Karuvi - Zoho's New Venture

Zoho’s SaaS unicorn, led by cofounder and CEO Sridhar Vembu, made waves on Wednesday (April 10) with the exciting debut of Karuvi, a fresh venture diving into the realm of power tools manufacturing.

Based out of Chennai, Karuvi emerges as a mechatronics startup, blending innovation and craftsmanship to craft a range of consumer and industrial power tools alongside other mechanical marvels. Its moniker, Karuvi, draws from the rich tapestry of Tamil language, reflecting its essence as an instrument or tool.

In his candid reflection shared on X, Vembu unveiled the journey, saying, “Embracing a touch of madness, we embarked on this journey almost two years ago with a modest engineering team. Through numerous iterations and fine-tuning, we’ve now sculpted a comprehensive suite of tools primed for commercial production. And at the heart of it all lies Karuvi, echoing the spirit of our Tamil heritage as the word for instrument or tool.

Karuvi's Product Range and Vision

Vembu mentioned that the company is constructing a facility to produce these power tools in Tenkasi, where Zoho’s main office is located. However, it’s not immediately clear whether Karuvi has a direct connection with the SaaS giant or if it operates independently.

As for Karuvi, they presently offer a range of products including angle grinders, corded and cordless drills, rotary hammers, saws, and more power tools. Additionally, browsing through Karuvi’s website reveals separate sections dedicated to batteries, hand tools, and accessories. However, at present, these sections don’t display any listed products.

The company is expected to use traditional methods such as in-person sales to reach its customers.

The company’s website states, “Our goal is to create a range of precision machine tools that utilize cutting-edge motor technology, materials science, and electronics… We are creating a robust network of professionals and authorized dealers who are aligned with our vision for the technology-driven power tool industry.”

Inception of Karuvi - From Idea to Reality

Describing the inception of the startup, Vembu shared that the idea for Karuvi emerged when Abdul Gafoor, the founder of Mr. Light Global, a home appliances company based in the UAE, encouraged him to venture into handheld tools production.

“He, the founder from the UAE, approached me expressing his interest in having Zoho create these tools, with his intent to distribute them. Initially hesitant due to our lack of expertise in this domain, he highlighted the potential for generating employment opportunities in rural areas. That’s what truly captured my attention!” Vembu recounted in his post.

Addressing a comment on the post, he disclosed that the startup commenced its journey with a team of two engineers and has now expanded to a workforce of 10 individuals.

Vembu noted that the initial stages of the new venture have incurred expenses for prototyping and tooling. Additionally, he emphasized that the company will face forthcoming expenditures including those associated with factory space, equipment, staffing, advertising, distribution, and customer service.

When a user estimated the venture’s cost at approximately INR 1 Cr, Vembu indicated that the actual expenses would likely be twice that amount.

“To get a clearer picture, just double the figures! Developing new products in uncharted territory involves a steep learning curve – a cycle of designing and refining that’s inevitable,” he remarked.

Excitingly, the launch of Karuvi coincides with Zoho’s flurry of new ventures and products. Just back in February, they introduced Zakya, a dedicated business division aimed at serving retail businesses in India.

Karuvi's Launch and Zoho's Flurry of New Ventures

Last year witnessed the debut of two innovative offerings: the privacy-centric browser named ‘Ulaa’ and Zoho Practice, a comprehensive practice management solution tailored specifically for chartered accountants (CAs).

While Zoho has predominantly ventured into enterprise tech, Karuvi marks its bold step into an entirely new market.

The company is experiencing growth in its business, with a 30% increase in operating revenue to INR 8,703.6 Cr ($1 Bn) in the financial year 2022-23 (FY23) compared to INR 6,710.7 Cr in FY22. Despite this, the net profit of the Chennai-based company only saw a modest 3% year-on-year increase to INR 2,836 Cr in FY23.

In a bold foray into power tools manufacturing, Zoho’s SaaS unicorn, led by CEO Sridhar Vembu, introduced Karuvi, a mechatronics startup based in Chennai. The journey, which began almost two years ago with a modest engineering team, has resulted in a comprehensive suite of power tools, including angle grinders, drills, hammers, saws, and more. Karuvi aims to create precision machine tools using cutting-edge technology and materials science. The inception of this venture was inspired by a vision to generate employment opportunities in rural areas. Moreover, Karuvi’s launch aligns with Zoho’s expansion into new markets alongside its recent ventures.

Karan Balodi

Start typing and press Enter to search

Shopping Cart