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Freshdesk on an acquisition spree, bags BITS Pilani alumni startup, Framebench

Alok Soni
23rd Feb 2016
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Cloud-based customer support software, Freshdesk has announced its fourth acquisition in six months. Chennai and San Francisco based company has acquired Framebench, an online collaboration platform that enables teams to share, review, and comment on videos, images, presentations, and documents. According to YourStory sources, the acquisition is a combination of cash and stock deal. Both Freshdesk and Framebench has denied to comment on the deal structure.

Earlier, Freshdesk acquired live video chat provider 1CLICK.io in August 2015, social recommendation app Frilp in October 2015 and, messaging app Konotor in December 2015.

Team Framebench
The Framebench Team:
From left to right: Harish Kumar, Akash Udhanshiv, Apeksha Bhosale, Rohit Agarwal, Aniket Sharma, Mehul Dudi

For a company which started with a 'Plan B', Freshdesk has come a long distance in last five years. Touted to be the next entrant in the 'unicorn club', Freshdesk was founded in 2010 by Girish Mathrubootham Zoho Corp colleague Shan Krishnasamy. 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 nearly $500 million when it raised $50 million in April. The company has not confirmed this valuation number.

What does the acquisition bring to the 'desk'

Launched in 2013(earlier known as Anayalabs) by BITS Pilani alumni Rohit Agarwal and Vineet Markan, and funded by Blume Ventures, Framebench is an online collaboration platform that enables multiple parties to review and edit creative files. It allows multiple people to seamlessly edit, annotate, and even version creative files. According to Girish Mathrubootham, Freshdesk CEO, the acquisition of Framebench presents an opportunity to integrate collaborative capabilities not only into Freshdesk, but also other products like Freshservice.

With the acquisition of Framebench, customer support agents will be able to collaborate on videos, images, presentations, and documents with customers and colleagues. For example, when the customer sends a screenshot, the agent can now make quick annotations and interact with the product team and even the customer without ever leaving the ticket. Agents can use this visual communication platform in real-time while working on knowledge base articles, images or even tutorial videos.

And what happens to the 'bench'

Out of the seven team members from Frambench, six have joined Freshdesk. They will be working with the core product team and use their expertise in collaboration to build superior customer engagement flows.

Post the acquisition, Framebench's capabilities will be merged inside the Freshdesk product. While their current users can continue using Framebench, they not will be accepting new customer signups.

Framebench meets Freshdesk

The conversation which started as a partner conversation to integrate the Framebench viewer into the Freshdesk ticketing system, took the route of acquisition when the teams met and realised the product & culture fit.

Some of the factors favouring the deal are as follows:

  • Direct integration of the product inside core offerings of Freshdesk
  • Solid engineering team which has delivered a global product

Freshdesk spokesperson commented on their acquisition strategy,

Whenever we come across a company that seems to be in line with what we are doing, and we like the people, we talk to them about a possible acquisition. Where a company is based out of is not a criteria for us to acquire them. We are open to acquiring companies based on how much their product vision aligns with ours, and if the people would fit in with our culture at Freshdesk.

While we can expect more acquisition(s) and expansion announcements from Freshdesk in 2016, the ones that are closest are further expansion of Chennai office (to make it even bigger) and opening of its fifth global office in the European region.


Watch: Freshdesk’s journey from a 1000 sq ft warehouse to a 60000 sq ft fabulous office

 

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