Freshworks files papers for $100-m IPO in US

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on August 29, 2021

To list its Class A common stock under ticker symbol “FRSH”

Freshworks Inc, a Chennai- and Silicon Valley-based Software as Service (SaaS) provider has filed for a $100 million IPO in the US — the first India-centric SaaS company to do so, and the second, after Sify, from the city.

On Friday, the company filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined. Freshworks intends to list its Class A common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “FRSH”.

“The IPO from India's first SaaS Unicorn will provide investors further confidence in the India SaaS model and raise visibility for the sector among global customers,” said Arun Natarajan, Founder of Venture Intelligence, which tracks private company financials and transactions.

Freshworks has raised $400 million at a $3.5-billion valuation. Some of its investors include Sequoia Capital, Accel, Tiger Global Management, and CapitalG, according to information on the web.

Love for Thalaivaa

Interestingly, to show Freshwork’s co-founder and CEO Girish Mathrubootham's love for actor Rajinikanth, the code name for the IPO was Project SuperStar.

“I want to express my love and gratitude to him for being my maanaseega guru. There is no comparable English word to express what this means. It is a mentor; a role model that lives in your mind, from whom you learn a lot by watching from afar. The Superstar is a man who is loved and worshipped by millions of fans globally. He is immensely successful yet humble and down to earth. Thank you, Thalaivaa!” Mathrubootham said in the IPO filing.


Starting in a 700 sq ft warehouse in Chennai in 2010, the company’s idea was to create a ‘fresh’ helpdesk in response to a poor customer service experience that Mathrubootham had had. It is now India's first SaaS Unicorn to go for an IPO.

“In 2011, our big dream was to get to $1 million of revenue. In 2012, we started dreaming of our second product — Freshservice — even before we reached that threshold with Freshdesk. In 2014, we started dreaming of growing faster and building an outbound go-to-market motion. Now, our 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,” he said.

Earlier this year, Freshworks crossed $300 million in annual recurring revenue. More than 50,000 companies use Freshworks’ SaaS to enable a better customer experience and employee experience, says information in its website.

Among the risk factors, the company listed in the filing was that on March 17, 2020, Zoho Corporation filed a lawsuit in the US Court against Freshworks for violation of Defend Trade Secrets Act; violation of the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act, and violation of The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

“While we believe we have meritorious defenses to the claims made in the lawsuit and intend to conduct a vigorous defense to such action, litigation is costly, time-consuming, and distracting to management and the outcome of such action remains uncertain,” Freshworks said. In fact, Mathrubootham was formerly a vice-president of product management at Zoho.


Published on August 28, 2021

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