Completing our list is Billion Dollar Unicorn club contender Freshdesk. The company was founded in 2010 by CEO Girish Mathrubootham and CTO Shan Krishnasamy. After a series of successful products in his work as a technical architect, Girish was inspired to start Freshdesk by a posting in Y Combinator’s Hacker News. Learning that a major company in the customer support software industry, Zendesk, had raised its prices, Girish and Shan set out to create an affordable alternative. [Note: Zendesk has since had a successful IPO and is valued at ~$2 Billion (May 2015).]
Freshdesk is a SaaS company providing customer support software to small businesses. It combines a back-end helpdesk system of ticketing and knowledge management with a front-end online social customer portal. Social CRM is a clear trend in the industry, and Freshdesk is well-positioned to lead the pack.
The company stands apart from competitors ZenDesk and Assistly as a cutting edge solution at a significantly better price. Plans are flexible too, ranging from $9 per agent per month to $49 at the highest tiered option.
Following their launch in June 2011, Freshdesk had five paying customers within the first week—and 100 in almost exactly their first 100 days. Beta signups continued in the hundreds and by the time they went out to raise money, all validation points—customer interest, business model, pricing model, customer acquisition strategy—were nicely articulated.
Freshdesk won the $40,000 2011 Microsoft India Startup Challenge grant, followed by Series A funding of $1 million from Accel Partners. Subsequently, they have raised another $5 million from Accel and Tiger Global in 2012, and should comfortably stride into the Million Dollar Club in 2013.
Update: In early 2013, Freshdesk touched $1 million and by the end of the year, achieved a much larger revenue threshold. They also added another $7 million in financing to bring the total raised to $13 million.
Billion Dollar Unicorns: Freshdesk is a Prospect
The1M/1M Deal Radar 2013: Freshdesk, Chennai, India
The 1M/1M Incubation Radar 2011: FreshDesk, Chennai, India
Should You Move To Silicon Valley?
The Rise of Entrepreneurship In Chennai, India
The Million Dollar Club
India vs. Silicon Valley: A SaaSy War
SaaS Spreads to India and Beyond
This segment is a part in the series : The Million Dollar Club