Freshdesk marches on, despite distractions of frothy valuations


Girish Mathrubootham’s Freshdesk has become the poster child of enterprise SaaS in India. With over 45,000 businesses in 145 countries using the SaaS-based customer support solution provided by Chennai-based Freshdesk, Girish has proved in a short period of time that Indian technology companies can build world-class products.

Girish founded Freshdesk in mid-2011 with his Zoho Corp colleague Shan Krishnasamy to build a cloud-based customer support platform that could be used by companies of all sizes. Freshdesk has since launched Freshservice, an internal IT helpdesk, and Mobihelp, an in-app support for mobile apps.

Girish, father to two sons and a self-confessed Rajnikanth fan, spoke about the rapid growth the company saw in his keynote address during MobileSparks 2015 earlier this month. Freshdesk’s initial five-member team worked out of a 1,000 sq ft office in Chennai that had all sorts of infrastructure issues ranging from power cuts to lack of water. Today the 475-people strong Freshdesk team works out of a swanky 60,000 sq ft office in one of the tech parks in Chennai.

The company’s dramatic scale up has attracted some serious venture money. The company has so far raised $94 million over six rounds from marquee investors like Tiger Global, Google Capital and Accel Partners. The firm, according to industry sources, was valued at $500 million when it raised $50 million in April. The company has not confirmed this valuation number.

Freshdesk has made a mark in a highly competitive global industry, dominated by Zendesk. The San Francisco-based company had named Freshdesk as one of its top three competitors when it filed for its IPO in 2014. Zendesk has a market cap of almost $2 billion today.

Such recognition has led to the expectation that Freshdesk will become the first Indian ‘Unicorn’, the term used to describe startups that have crossed the $1-billion valuation mark, in the enterprise space.

In a video interview with YourStory during MobileSparks 2015, Girish spoke about his immediate plans for Freshdesk and his views on valuations and the unicorn club.

(Video editing by Anand and Cameraperson, Nataraj)


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