If you’ve never heard of AdventNet Inc., you’re not alone, and they’re not worried, you weren’t their target audience anyway -- until now.
Over the last few years, the 13-year-old software company based in Pleasanton, California has quietly carved out an online empire known to most of us as Zoho.com and after years with an obscure name, they have embraced the brand which they believe best represents the next evolution of the company.
What's in a Name?
Despite the fact that this isn’t the first time in history that a technology has redefined a company’s name -- think (way) back to Xerox, which began as The Haloid Company -- it may just be the fastest shift we’ve seen, considering that it took Xerox over 50 years to turn its driving technology into a corporate namesake.
To Zoho, the change in name doesn’t seem strange, drastic or even egoistical, rather just a natural progression during this phase of their business with a nod to where the market is heading and where they envision future growth.
And although the brand now takes center-stage, the suite of products still represent less than a 1/3rd of their resources.
The Google Factor
Zoho’s suite of collaboration tools has often been compared with Google apps. How does one feel when compared with a giant? Raju Vegesna, Zoho’s Senior Evangelist and the man responsible for creating the brand is unperturbed by Google’s dominance or the comparison. “Google is about the consumer; Zoho is about business. Business users need features -- our apps have 30-40% more features and we have 50% more apps.”
While going after Google doesn’t seem to be a main concern for Zoho, it’s something not to be ignored. In the Enterprise 2.0 space, users are incredibly fickle in their quest to find the next best thing and their inter-connectivity can have a collective impact that we have yet to fully understand.
A Simple Philosophy
Still, Zoho’s philosophy is refreshingly simple and nimble, which puts them in a good position to succeed. If a name doesn’t fit anymore, change it. If users’ needs change, adapt. If the technology is good, people will use it.
The new crop of start-ups should take heed -- Zoho’s bread and butter has been targeting niche markets and they have been succeeding for years without a penny of venture capital.
So, what is Zoho? “It’s a bit of a rhyme based on our target market: Small Office, Home Office,” says Raju, “and, well, we started searching for domain names with “z” because it was time to start from the other end of the alphabet.”