“Dream come true,” says Girish Mathrubootham as Freshworks becomes first Indian SaaS unicorn to list in the US

On Wednesday, Freshworks debuted on the Nasdaq at a price well above its IPO target range to raise $1.03 billion at a valuation of over $10 billion. As the first Indian B2B SaaS unicorn to go public and list in the US, Freshworks is paving the way for the growing crop of Indian SaaS startups.

“Today is a dream come true for me -- from humble beginnings in Trichy to ringing the bell at Nasdaq for the FreshWorks IPO. Thank you to our employees, customers, partners, and investors for believing in this dream,” said Girish Mathrubootham, Co-founder and CEO of Freshworks, after the Indian-origin unicorn became the first Indian B2B SaaS company to list on the US stock markets.

On Wednesday, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) company officially became a publicly traded company, after debuting on the Nasdaq Global Select Market at a price well above its initial public offering (IPO) target range to raise $1.03 billion at a valuation of over $10 billion. 

The Accel and Sequoia Capital-backed SaaS pioneer, which is listed under the ticker symbol ‘FRSH’ on the Nasdaq, sold 28.5 million shares at $36 apiece, above its increased IPO price range of $32-$34 a share, signalling strong investor interest.

“I am proud and humbled that Freshworks is now trading on Nasdaq as FRSH. The journey to get here has taken 11 years, a lot of hard work, and loads of good fortune. Thank you to everyone who’s been on this journey with us. Here’s to life as FRSH!,” Girish said. 

As the first Indian B2B SaaS unicorn to go public and as the first Indian unicorn to list in the US markets, Freshworks is paving the way for the growing crop of Indian SaaS unicorns from the Indian startup ecosystem, which includes the likes of subscription billing and revenue management platform Chargebee,  SaaS-based data protection and management products provider Druva, and cloud web and mobile testing platform Browserstack.

“Today Freshworks becomes the first Indian-origin SaaS company to list on a US exchange. Their story from aspirational beginnings to IPO and beyond will inspire entrepreneurs across the globe. Today, Freshworks is the torch-bearer as the first SaaS company of Indian origin to list on a US exchange. We are eager to see who will now follow, and from where they may emerge,” wrote Accel’s Sameer Gandhi and Shekhar Kirani in a congratulatory message to Girish, Co-founder and CTO Shan Krishnasamy, and the entire FreshWorks kudumba, or family (in Tamil).

According to a McKinsey report, Indian SaaS companies have the potential to unlock a $1 trillion opportunity over the next decade. Already, there are about 1,000 Indian SaaS companies that cumulatively employ nearly 40,000 people and generate about $3 billion in revenue. 

Initially incorporated as FreshDesk Inc in August 2010, the SaaS company, which rebranded itself to FreshWorks Inc in June 2017, provides IT service management and CRM software via easy apps that any company can leverage with a credit card to more than 52,500 customers across 120 countries. 

In the past 12 months alone, with the acceleration in digital adoption, the SaaS unicorn has seen more than a 49 percent increase in revenue growth to $308 million, with Europe alone accounting for over 42 percent of its revenue. It boasts several high-profile European customers such as French retail major Carrefour, German sportswear firm Puma, British tech major Dyson, and Swedish fintech company Klarna, among others.

“More than the scale and revenue growth, I’m also super proud that Freshworks is among the very few companies who have accomplished that scale and revenue growth in a fairly efficient manner,” Girish told reporters in a conference call.

“In fact, in the last 12 months, we have generated over $25 million in free cash flow. So, that combination of revenue scale, growth and efficiency puts us in a great spot to continue our journey as a public company and keep delivering on the mission of making it easy for businesses to delight their customers and employees,” he further explained.

Also watch: Girish Mathrubootham in conversation with YourStory Founder & CEO Shradha Sharma

Freshworks (then called Freshdesk) was part of YourStory's Tech30 cohort in 2015 at its annual flagship event TechSparks. For over a decade now, India’s largest tech and startup summit TechSparks has been featuring the Tech30 — India’s top 30 early-stage tech startups. 

Edited by Ramarko Sengupta


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