Kumar Vembu’s journey with Zoho during its early foundational years and later building his own startup, GoFrugal, offers some deep insight into India SaaS’ building blocks. Kumar’s ability to spot and mentor talent such as Girish Mathrubootham, who is now the founder of Freshworks, India’s most valuable SaaS company, offers lessons in grooming leaders.
In this episode of SaaSBOOMi podcast, I am thrilled to share this masterclass with Kumar in bootstrapping, spotting talent and matching them with their true purpose, and lessons from three different entrepreneurial journeys–Zoho, GoFrugal and Freshworks.
“I used to be a very mischievous and a happy-go-lucky kid. Whenever teachers tried to be strict with me, I became more unmanageable. But whenever a teacher trusted me, I became easy to manage,” Kumar recalls.
“One of the early lessons for me was when you respect and trust people, you get their cooperation, much better than using brute force.”
Over the years, Kumar has watched three different entrepreneurial journeys, starting with his own startup focused on the India market, Zoho before that, and Freshworks’ Girish. You can also watch this video interview I had done with Kumar explaining “the Zoho way and the Freshworks way.”
So what does he think about these different models and what can we learn from each of them?
“Whether to bootstrap or take funding should not be the first question. Building the product, achieving product-market fit and growing the business are more important questions at the start,” he tells me in this podcast.