Freshworks becomes first Indian SaaS company to list in NASDAQ
That 11-year-old venture, renamed as Freshworks, the first Indian software-as-a-service (SAAS) company to list on Nasdaq made a stellar debut on Nasdaq on Wednesday at a valuation of $13 billion, at the close of its first trading day.
The company, originally founded in Chennai in 2010 but later shifted to Silicon Valley to be closer to its customers, raised over USD 1.03 billion in its initial public offering (IPO) by selling 28.5 million shares at USD 36 apiece at a USD 10.13 billion valuation.
The successful IPO of the San Mateo-headquartered company, which has 52,000 clients across the world, resulted in a massive payday for the company’s cofounder and several hundreds of its employees. Mathrubootham, 46, is worth an estimated $700 million.
Freshworks reported $250 million in revenue for 2020 and a net loss of $57 million. For the first half of this year it clocked in revenue of $169 million and a net loss of $10 million. “I feel like an Indian athlete who has won a gold medal at the Olympics,” said Girish Mathrubootham, co-founder and CEO at Freshworks, before ringing the opening bell on Nasdaq.
Freshworks offers a suite of cloud-based business software products in the $120 billion global cloud application services market. It has featured in the Forbes Cloud 100 list, the ranking of the top 100 private cloud companies in the world, for five years in a row, improving its ranking from No. 95 in 2017 to No.10 this year.
Before he took Freshworks public, Mathrubootham, who’s called ‘G’ by his pals and business associates, had raised $327 million from venture capital firms such as Sequoia, Tiger, Accel and CapitalG, Google’s venture capital fund CapitalG.
Mathrubootham’s entrepreneurial dreams go back a long way. He grew up in Tiruchi in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu . Mathrubootham worked as a software engineer and even started a computer education outfit before getting a foothold at cloud services firm Zoho in 2001.
He spent almost a decade there developing multiple products and learning the nuances of scaling up a business. Realizing that there was an untapped opportunity in the customer support area, Mathrubootham quit Zoho in 2010 to start his own venture with five former colleagues. They took a 700 square-foot office in a Chennai suburb, at a monthly rental of $100.
Freshdesk started with just one product—a helpdesk at a low price. His bet was that the customer support industry would be boosted by the tailwinds of surging cloud adoption; the increasing use of social media in customer support and the growth in mobile services.
Mathrubootham moved to the U.S. in 2019 to be closer to the North American market which accounts for more than 40% of its revenue. Nowadays, he spends time mentoring startups and is either an investor or advisor in more than 50 of them. He’s also the founding member of SaaSBoomi, an Asia-wide community of founders and product builders in the SaaS space.
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