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Customer engagement startup Freshworks joins India’s elite Unicorn Club

Vishal Krishna
31st Jul 2018
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Girish Mathrubootham’s Software-as-a-Service platform Freshworks notches up impressive figures: $1 billion valuation, $100 million ARR, and $100 million in new round of funding.

Freshworks, a global leader in customer engagement software, has announced that it has secured $100 million in financing. The latest round of funding is co-led by Sequoia and Accel Partners, with participation from CapitalG, bringing Freshworks’ total amount of capital raised to date to $250 million.

The cash infusion will be used to further expand Freshworks’ worldwide expansion and grow its integrated Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform.

The homegrown startup has also hired former AppDynamics Vice President of Finance and Treasury Suresh Seshadri as Chief Financial Officer.

Freshworks CEO Girish Mathrubootham

Freshworks provides organisations with SaaS solutions that make it easy for customer support, sales and marketing professionals to communicate effectively with customers for better service and collaborate with team members to resolve customer issues. Freshworks works with over 150,000 organisations worldwide. Some of the big customers include NHS, Honda, Rightmove, Hugo Boss, Citizens Advice, Toshiba, Bridgestone, University of Pennsylvania and Cisco. It also works with several small- and medium-sized businesses across the world.

Product to suite

The Freshworks journey began for Girish Mathrubootham and Shan Krishnaswamy in October 2010 with a single product. Today, the firm offers an entire customer engagement suite.

On being a Unicorn, Girish, Co-founder and CEO, Freshworks, says: “Though it certainly is a significant milestone, it is also something that was bound to happen. Now that we are here, we see it as the beginning of another journey.” He adds that the firm is very focused on becoming an integrated customer engagement platform and continue worldwide expansion.

Their suite of products include Freshdesk, Freshchat, Freshcaller, Freshmarketer and Freshteam, designed to help marketers, human resources and support professionals engage with customers. The company, which is headquartered in San Bruno, California, has offices in India, the UK, Germany, and Australia.

Girish says: “When we started Freshworks in 2010 our goal was to offer better, easier-to-use customer service software than what was in the market. We’ve since scaled our company to $100 million in annual recurring revenue and built a full SaaS platform where all our products, such as Freshsales, Freshdesk, and Freshservice, work together seamlessly, without requiring additional integration resources or consultants to make the software work.”

He adds that the addition of Suresh, who will lead the company’s finances, will ensure that Freshworks is heading towards a path of free cash flow breakeven.

Mohit Bhatnagar, Managing Director, Sequoia Capital India Advisors, says, “Sequoia first backed Freshworks in 2016 and didn't hesitate for a moment to double down on the investment.”

"Girish and his team have worked relentlessly to build Freshworks into a leading SaaS company, one that is truly global with customers across 127 countries. The investment reinforces the Sequoia principle of being a long-term business partner to founders and supporting them at every stage of their company’s growth,” Mohit adds.

Riding the growth wave

Suresh, the company’s new CFO, says Freshworks has been “riding an incredible wave of growth”. He had previously helped prepare AppDynamics for its IPO before it was acquired by Cisco in 2017. “Coming on board to work with Girish and the rest of the executive team is an incredible opportunity, and I am confident that we are well positioned to reach the next phase of Freshworks’ expansion,” he adds.

Freshworks has made several technology acquisitions – nine in total - to further bolster its product offerings. Several of these technologies were featured in its recently announced cloud bundle, Freshworks 360, which brings together sales, marketing, and support applications to provide users with a complete customer engagement experience.

“Our pricing strategy has always offered more bang for the buck. We will continue to offer the amazing value we bring to our customers even as our financial strategy points us towards the path to breaking even,” Girish says.

The latest YourStory series, Survival Instinct, featured Girish and tracked how Freshworks battled the demons and survived the first year of operations.

The future seems extremely bright for Freshworks, which is running at an annual run rate of $100 million, and will, in a few years, prepare for an IPO.

 

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