Business software is stereo-typically clunky, expensive, and a pain to use. Often, a lot of time is wasted trying to figure out the software, and in the end, using the software would make things more complicated than if the company had used more rudimentary means. This is a problem that many working professionals would’ve encountered in their day to day lives. But some enterprising individuals saw this problem as an opportunity and created a user-friendly software, now used by some of the world’s top organisations.
It all started from a bad customer experience, due to a broken TV in March 2010. By September the same year, Freshdesk was officially born, with the founders, Girish Mathrubootham and Shan Krishnaswamy working on a prototype of the product. 9 months later, it was released publicly and their first client was the Atwell College in Australia. Freshdesk won 40,000$ in the Microsoft BizSpark Startup Challenge in June 2011, and it turned out to be just the start for them. Freshdesk raised funding worth 1 million$ from Accel partners in December 2011, and that led to a few years of increased profitability, which culminated in them receiving membership to the exclusive unicorn club; as of now, only three other startups in India can be considered members of this club. Owing to an increase in the amount of services provided, they rebranded themselves as Freshworks, and Freshdesk became one of numerous services provided by them.
Freshworks, with an HQ in San Francisco, and a base in Chennai, has grown organically in talent and inorgnaically in capabilities. They began to acquire other entities to increase their own range of functionalities (like acquiring 1click.io, a video chat and co-browsing platform) and to enhance their existing ones (like buying Frilp, to enhance their own support channels). Mr. Girish Mathrubootham, cofounder of Freshworks, has become poster boy for tech startups. Freshworks has an array of products that are both standalone and have functionality to work as an enterprise solution. The products cover the management and monitoring function of any enterprise. The interesting growth pattern of Freshworks is its customer base. They have global customers across verticals. This allows them to understand each business vertical and its needs and tailor the future releases with ease. The expansion mode of gaining capabilities through acquisitions helps them to position as an cost effective and nimble solution provider. They are now posing an interesting challenge to market leaders like Salesforce and Zendesk.
The ability to capture data across multiple verticals, will allow them to come up with intelligent model to forecast, predict and provide information that can help their customer to be proactive in Support, Maintenance, Sales and Customer expectation management.
With capabilities like chatbot, social chat and collaboration networking, the Freshworks suite of products caters to different needs of the employee based on context. With more data and mature models, they can penetrate into predictive and prescriptive analysis. And it’s not just all work, they have managed to incorporate some play in it as well! Freshdesk introduces game mechanics and aims to make customer support fun for agents. Now that’s a wholesome work environment! With a physical presence across Berlin, Sydney, London, India and US, they have positioned themselves to take a big pie out of the CRM market.
Freshworks also has helped bring Chennai into prominence as a viable base for future startups. With its proximity to the Bangalore, as well as the excellent intra-city transport systems, Chennai can become a veritable startup hub. The startup environment in India, in general, is well and truly flourishing now. It is heartening to see startups like Freshworks doing well in what is an increasingly competitive field like SaaS. This is also indicative of an overall trend in India that is favouring startups. They are being taken more seriously by competitors as well as clients.
It is not just the present that looks rosy for startups like Freshworks. The campus recruitment process is indicative of the power of startups. More and more students are willing to join startups as freshers, as they feel it will be an enriching experience, and that they will be involved in one of the most unique work environments. This will provide them with a chance to further their careers and gain skills which can’t be so easily gained elsewhere. This also allows the various startups the opportunity to develop a strong and skilled base, from which to grow as a company and tackle future targets. It seems that they aren’t just a trend, startups are here to stay!