You might have not heard of this Indian startup called CloudCherry.

CloudCherry was a Customer Experience (CX) startup that helped brands to understand their customers better and drive loyalty.

Why “was”? 

Because CloudCherry was recently acquired by global tech major Cisco.

Now you might have missed this news as well as there was little to no coverage of the acquisition in the media.

Nevertheless, CloudCherry’s exit is an important event for the Indian startup ecosystem and one that merits attention.

To understand why, we need to start at the beginning, rather than at the end, of CloudCherry’s journey.

From the C (Sea) to Chennai

Vinod Muthukrishnan, the CEO and founder of CloudCherry, is an unusual startup founder.

For one thing, he is a bon vivant. An unabashed extrovert.

For another, he used to be a sailor. At an age where his peer startup founders were burnishing their gilt-edged resumes at IITs and IIMs, Muthukrishnan was working on a ship transporting coal and iron ore out of India. Over a career spanning nine years, Muthukrishnan went from being a deck cadet to a navigation officer. He wouldn’t have even been a graduate if his father had not exhorted him to apply to an open university and complete a BBA degree through distance education.

In 2006, Muthukrishnan found himself on an unplanned three-month holiday in Chennai. On the advice of his cousin Sriram Subramanian, a professor at the Great Lakes Institute of Management, a well-regarded business school in Chennai, Muthukrishnan attended a casual meeting with the founders of a Chennai startup. His original idea was to spend three months there and then head back to sea, but that three month stint became a nine year sojourn over which Muthukrishnan morphed from a dilettante to a seasoned marketing professional.

In 2014, Muthukrishnan founded CloudCherry along with three other co-founders – Vijay Lakshmanan, Prem Viswanath and Nagendra C L. His cousin, Sriram Subramanian, got on board as a mentor and angel investor along with a few other folks who collectively pooled in around Rs 1 crore ($139,000). 

Titan was CloudCherry’s first big brand win and this was was quickly followed by other marquee names such as Puma, HDFC, Qatar Airways and Cinnamon Grand

At that time, the idea behind CloudCherry was fairly simple. Brands in India were waking up to the importance of engaging proactively with customers to drive loyalty and ensure satisfaction. CloudCherry would offer a tablet-based app that would let retail outlets, for instance, collect real-time customer feedback in stores and let them act quickly and intelligently on such feedback.


Sumanth Raghavendra

Sumanth is a serial entrepreneur with more than eighteen years experience in running startups. He is currently the founder of Deck App Technologies, a Bangalore-based startup attempting to re-imagine productivity software for the Post-PC era. Sumanth’s columns appear regularly in leading publications. He holds MBA degrees from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management, USA.

View Full Profile

Available exclusively to subscribers of The Ken India

This story is a part of The Ken India edition. Subscribe. Questions?


Annual Subscription

12-month access to 200+ stories, archive of 800+ stories from our India edition. Plus our premium newsletters, Beyond The First Order and The Nutgraf worth Rs. 99/month or $2/month each for free.

Rs. 2,750


Single Story

Instant access to this story for a year along with comment privileges.

Rs. 500


Annual Subscription

12-month access to 150+ stories from Southeast Asia.

$ 120


Single Story

Instant access to this story for a year along with comment privileges.

$ 20



What is The Ken?

The Ken is a subscription-only business journalism website and app that provides coverage across two editions - India and Southeast Asia.

What kind of stories do you write?

We publish sharp, original and reported stories on technology, business and healthcare. Our stories are forward-looking, analytical and directional — supported by data, visualisations and infographics.

We use language and narrative that is accessible to even lay readers. And we optimise for quality over quantity, every single time.

What do I get if I subscribe?

For subscribers of the India edition, we publish a new story every weekday, a premium daily newsletter, Beyond The First Order and a weekly newsletter - The Nutgraf.

For subscribers of the Southeast Asia edition, we publish a new story three days a week and a weekly newsletter, Strait Up.

The annual subscription will get you complete, exclusive access to our archive of previously published stories for your edition, along with access to our subscriber-only mobile apps, our premium comment sections, our newsletter archives and several other gifts and benefits.

Do I need to pay separately for your premium newsletters?

Nope. Paid, premium subscribers of The Ken get our newsletters delivered for free.

Does a subscription to the India edition grant me access to Southeast Asia stories? Or vice-versa?

Afraid not. Each edition is separate with its own subscription plan. The India edition publishes stories focused on India. The Southeast Asia edition is focused on Southeast Asia. We may occasionally cross-publish stories from one edition to the other.

Do you offer an all-access joint subscription for both editions?

Not yet. If you’d like to access both editions, you’ll have to purchase two subscriptions separately - one for India and the other for Southeast Asia.

Do you offer any discounts?

No. We have a zero discounts policy.

Is there a free trial I can opt for?

We don’t offer any trials, but you can sign up for a free account which will give you access to the weekly free story, our archive of free stories and summaries of the paid stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

Do you offer refunds?

We allow you to sample our journalism for free before signing up, and after you do, we stand by its quality. But we do not offer refunds.

I am facing some trouble purchasing a subscription. What can I do?

Please write to us at detailing the error or queries.