How Freshworks CEO became a hero in the SaaS space😎
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How Freshworks CEO became a hero in the SaaS space
Freshworks founder Girish Mathrubootham, called ‘G’ within the company, has achieved what Infosys’ Narayana Murthy managed to do in 1999 – successfully list the company on Nasdaq. While Murthy was then hailed as a hero in the software industry, Mathrubootham is today a hero in the Software as a Service (SaaS) space by becoming the first Indian SaaS provider to get listed on Wednesday.
Though Zoho’s Sridhar Vembu is hailed as the father of the SaaS industry, it is Mathrubootham, a former employee at Zoho, who took Indian SaaS ‘saga’ to the next level by raising $1.02 billion as it set the IPO at $36 per share and taking its valuation to over $10 billion.
Like ‘Thaliavaa’ Rajinikanth, his great inspiration, Mathrubootham, too, had a humble beginning – he started off with a 700 square feet warehouse in Chennai in 2010. His simple idea was to create a fresh help desk in response to the poor customer service he had experienced.
He wanted to create an iPhone moment in business software by blending existing technology with unified, intuitive, and delightful experiences. The company didn’t plan nor expect to change the world. But the dreams came in increments, each building on to the next and expanding the vision over time. In 2011, his big dream was to achieve $1 million in revenue by 2012.
While many start-ups have failed to take off, Freshworks’ success has been phenomenal. Today, Freshworks’ LTM revenue is $300 million; it has over 52,000 customers in 120 countries; 4,300-plus employees; and is chasing a $120-billion total addressable market. “Today, the dream is to be a disruptive player in the CRM market by breaking down the silos of marketing, sales, and customer support with a unified customer cloud,” said Mathrubootham earlier.
And, by listing, Mathrubootham created 500-plus ‘crorepatis’ in India, with 76% of the employees holding the company’s shares.
Talking about Mathruboom, Accel Partner’s Sameer Gandhi and Shekhar Kirani, said in a social media post: “In our journey together with Freshworks over the last decade, we have grown to admire and appreciate how special a founder Girish is. Known as G, Girish is the type of entrepreneur you hope to work with but rarely see; someone who has the innate ability to inspire with his vision, chart a course on how to get to the destination, persevere with positivity along the way, and bring along everyone else with a special camaraderie, forged by purpose, all while remaining true to himself with authenticity, humility and real generosity,”
Other SaaS start-up entrepreneurs – Krish Subramanian, Co-Founder and CEO of Chargebee – and Suresh Sambandam, Founder & CEO of Kissflow, too, rave about Mathrubootham.
Sets an example
Girish is easily accessible, friendly and very helpful to fellow start-up founders. He has set an example of sharing very confidential information of his company’s internal sales and marketing processes, which helped a lot of SaaS companies in India, specifically in Chennai. Pay-it-forward attitude is one thing that all founders can learn from him so that we can build a great ecosystem, says Sambandam.
According to Subramanian, Girish’s ability to continuously learn and grow with such a fast-growing organisation is just amazing. He has continuously reinvented himself with every stage of growth. The company with just 8 or 50 people required a different style of leadership and focus and every year they kept doubling in size. This required continuous recruitment, changes in the organisation and he had to reinvent his role continuously to keep pace with the organisation, he said.
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