Category winner: Technology, Media & Telecom
Creating India’s fastest-growing SaaS unicorn
Inspiration for entrepreneurs can come from the smallest of experiences. For Girish Mathrubootham, an alumnus of University of Madras, it came partly from a damaged TV set in transit, which the insurance company refused to reimburse. Seeing the limitations of traditional customer support tools at the time, he sensed a business opportunity. Girish set up Freshworks Inc (formerly Freshdesk), funding it through personal savings of INR35 lakh in 2010. With a vision to deliver seamless customer service, he pioneered the company’s flagship offering, Freshdesk, a cloudbased social helpdesk solution and introduced multi-channel customer support platform for smaller businesses. The company had acquired 200 customers within 200 days of its launch.
Freshworks has expanded to a full suite of ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) offerings including Freshconnect (collaboration tool), Freshservice (internal IT helpdesk), and Freshworks 360, a cloud bundle integrating various offerings for sales, marketing and messaging, and acquired 13 companies to enhance its product portfolio. Girish’s customer-centric vision drives everything at Freshworks.
Girish has steered the company to emerge as one of the fastest growing SaaS-based Indian Start-ups. Entering the unicorn club in 2018, it became the first Indian SaaS-based company to be listed on NASDAQ in 2021. The company grew its customer base to over 56,000 clients across 120 countries from under 10,000 in 2013. It surpassed INR30 crores in annual recurring revenue in 2020, growing at approximately 45% YoY.
Freshworks is looking to achieve US$1 billion (INR100 crore) in revenue in the next five years. It plans to use the proceeds from its successful IPO for working capital, operating and capital expenses, including acquisitions or strategic investments in complementary businesses, service and technologies. The company was ranked 10th in the Forbes Cloud 100 list 2021 for the fifth consecutive year.