Zoho Founder Aims to Create Rural Jobs With Power Tools Venture Karuvi

Zoho Launches Karuvi
Zoho Launches Karuvi

Sridhar Vembu, the co-founder and CEO of Zoho, launched a new company called Karuvi. Karuvi is a mechatronics startup that designs and builds consumer and industrial power tools and other mechanical systems.

The company is based in Chennai and is building a factory in Tenkasi to manufacture the power tools. Karuvi currently offers products such as angle grinders, corded and cordless drills, rotary hammers, and saws. The company plans to sell its products through a network of professionals and authorized dealers.

Karuvi was started after Abdul Gafoor, the founder of a UAE-based home appliances company, urged Zoho founder Sridhar Vembu to manufacture hand-held tools. The new startup has so far entailed costs related to prototyping and tooling. Vembu said that the new venture has cost more than double what a user estimated.

The new launch also comes when the company is witnessing an upswing in its business. Zoho reported an operating revenue of INR 8,703.6 Cr ($1 Bn) in the financial year 2022-23 (FY23), a jump of 30% from INR 6,710.7 Cr in FY22. However, the Chennai-based company’s net profit rose a meagre 3% year-on-year to INR 2,836 Cr in FY23.

Regading Karuvo Sridhar Vembu posted, "A few years ago, during the pandemic, a Zoho customer and fan,  Mr Abdul Gafoor, who owns Mr Light Global, a major own-brand distributor of electrical and electronics products in the Middle East (and now in India), 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 said this could create rural jobs. That is how he hooked me! Being crazy, we took up the challenge and set up a small engineering team. That was almost 2 years ago. 

A lot of designs and redesigns later, we have a suite of tools ready to start commercial production. The brand name is Karuvi (கருவி) the Tamil word for instrument or tool. We are trying some innovative ideas in the factory being built in Tenkasi. A new adventure begins! Thank you Mr Gafoor for pushing me on this! Thank you Cibi Anand for suggesting the name."