We will focus on R&D, product innovation: Girish Mathrubootham

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on September 25, 2021

Interview with Freshworks CEO and Founder Girish Mathrubootham

From Chennai-to-Nasdaq in New York — that’s the decade long journey of Freshworks when it created history on Wednesday by becoming the first Indian software-as-a-services (SaaS) provider to be listed on the Nasdaq and create a valuation of over $10 billion.

After quitting Zoho 11 years ago, Girish Mathrubootham ventured into entrepreneurship by creating Freshdesk (now Freshworks) from a 700 sq ft warehouse and raised $1 million as seed funding.

Today, Freshworks’ LTM revenue is $300 million with over 52,000 customers in 120 countries; 4,300 plus employees and chasing a $120-billion total addressable market. Mathrubootham, now hailed as a ‘hero’ in the SaaS industry, shares his views with BusinessLine after listing. Excerpts:

How satisfied/relieved were you personally when you rang the Nasdaq opening bell?

Amazing! So proud to be the first Indian SaaS company to go public in the US.

Why an IPO? Now that it is over, what is the next milestone that you would be looking at?

We are confident that with our product demand, solid revenue and growth, this is the right time. It’s just Day Zero and we will continue to execute for our customers.

How do you plan to spend the money?

We will continue to invest in growth and scale. We will also focus on R&D and product innovation that makes delight easy.

How has been the journey for Freshworks in the last 10 years and roadmap for the next 10 years?

As a public company CEO, I cannot make forward looking statements that far ahead, but the last 10 years have been a lot of learning for me personally – the journey from the suburbs of Chennai to Nasdaq has been amazing, and I’m so proud to have done that with the Freshworks team.

How has been the influence of ‘Thalaivaa Rajinikanth’ on you?

He is immensely successful yet humble and down-to-earth. He is a mentor and a role model from whom I have learned a lot. I encourage my employees to be authentic — and Superstar is my authentic inspiration.

How satisfied are you in creating over 500 crorepatis?

It is so gratifying to see so many employees who have invested a good part of their career at Freshworks be rewarded, and I am humbled that Freshworks was able to do this.

What’s your advice for others in the sector trying to go public?

My advice for entrepreneurs is they should first be focussed on their product and market fit. It’s important too to have the right leaders in place who can help you grow, scale, and ready your company for operating as a public company. . The last thing I’d recommend is patience. If it’s meant to be, it will happen. If you get the ingredients right, it is only a matter of execution to get there.

Did the litigation with Zoho affect the company?

We cannot comment on ongoing legal litigation but are confident that we will prevail.

Published on September 25, 2021

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