Freshworks IPO: What’s next for Indian SaaS

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Freshworks became the first Indian SaaS company to list on Nasdaq on 22 September 2021. Its initial public offering of 28,500,000 shares at $34 per share raised over $1 billion, scaling its market valuation to $10 billion.

The influx of funding will help it grow, and puts the spotlight on other Indian software developers thinking of listing. “As more investments start pouring in, this will provide an impetus to Indian SaaS companies to focus more on product innovation which resolves pertinent customer challenges,” said Shweta Baidya, senior research for enterprise software and IT services at IDC India.

girish mathrubootham 1x1Slava Blazer Photography/Freshworks

Girish Mathrubootham, CEO of Freshworks

CEO Girish Mathrubootham and CTO Shanmugam Krishnasamy founded the company in a warehouse in Chennai in 2010 as Freshdesk, rebranding it Freshworks in 2017. Their goal was to create a ‘fresh’ helpdesk in response to a poor customer service experience Mathrubootham had.

Freshworks specializes in customer support, and hosts messaging platforms and AI-backed chatbots. Its main offerings are cloud-native CRM, ITSM and HR tools. It has over 50,000 customers globally, and is looking for more.

The company set out its growth strategy in its IPO prospectus: “Since our founding, our journey to a multi-product strategy has expanded from CX to employee and IT support, to messaging and cloud telephony, to a unified customer vision. We believe our continued innovation, including delivery of advanced AI and ML capabilities, will translate to a higher value proposition for our customers and increased adoption of our products by both new and existing customers.”

It intends to use the IPO proceeds for working capital, operating expenses, and capital expenditures, perhaps including acquisitions or strategic investments in complementary businesses, services, and technologies, including intellectual property rights, it said. Its most recent acquisitions include Indian IT orchestration and cloud management platform Flint in July 2020, AI-based agent assistance specialist AnswerIQ in February 2020, and AI-based customer success management developer Natero in May 2019.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.



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