Day Zero for Freshworks
Yesterday, Freshworks reached an important milestone on our journey to deliver modern, intuitive, and delightful products to customers worldwide. We officially became a public company, trading as FRSH on Nasdaq.
This was possible because of the dedication and commitment of our employees, customers, partners, and investors to a company that started 11 years ago with a small idea for a ‘fresh’ helpdesk. Now we have a family of products servicing over 52,000 customers.
To all of you I say: thank you. Thank you for believing in us and everything we could accomplish. This is a proud moment for us, and today, I feel really good.
I show this picture at almost every company meeting. It’s artwork on the wall of our office in Chennai, India. I do this to remind each of us, including myself, that we have a choice in how we approach our work. It’s aspirational for how we want to feel every day.
Freshworks is the company that wasn’t supposed to win. Whether we could differentiate ourselves in crowded markets, or compete with larger players, or build a global SaaS company from India, the doubts were always there. And people were not shy about telling me! Yet, we kept our heads down and focused on executing, focused on our mission. We realized the profound meaning of what Steve Jobs once said, “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”
Freshworks is a very special company. We were unconventional from the beginning – not for its own sake, but because we saw an opening in the market for a unique approach. We weren’t founded in Silicon Valley. We didn’t target large enterprises. We didn’t have access to a been-there-done-that talent pool. We designed our products for the people actually using them. We offered a ‘fresh’ approach and we serviced massive, underserved markets.
And we had one simple mantra: happy employees create happy customers. In fact, we made that our mission:
Freshworks makes it easy for every business to delight their employees and customers.
Dreaming in Increments
Like so many other startups, Freshworks had very humble beginnings. We started in a 700- square- foot warehouse in Chennai in 2010. Our simple idea was to create a ‘fresh’ helpdesk in response to a poor customer service experience I had. We didn’t plan nor expect to change the world. Our dreams came in increments, each building on the next and expanding our vision over time.
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. And in the future, we dream of breaking the silos of IT and HR, building a unified employee cloud.
Kudumba: Our Heart-led Culture
In the early days, when we were working hard to take an idea and build our first product, we didn’t think about ‘culture’ or even realize we were building one. But we were very clear on recognizing and celebrating the right values and behaviors. From the beginning, I wanted to build a company optimized for employee happiness; we want our employees to have the best experience of their life at Freshworks. And for us, the journey will always be more important than the destination.
There’s another word we use to describe our culture and our company: Kudumba. It means family in Tamil, the language of Chennai. Kudumba is what binds us together. It celebrates our roots and reminds us of where we started. By creating a sense of family – Kudumba – we’ve been able to scale and grow.
We believe there’s no reason why, with today’s technology, companies should be forced to use multiple tools to engage with customers across their entire lifecycle. Just as the iPhone freed users from the hassles of carrying separate devices, we envision a new product experience that breaks down data silos and creates unified experiences.
One thing I learned from dreaming in increments is that patience is critical. We’re designing products now for a future where businesses are ready to embrace our vision of a unified customer cloud – and someday, a unified employee cloud. In the meantime, we continue to execute, build our business, and focus on delighting our customers.
The Journey Ahead
I’m very proud that Freshworks is a pioneer of Indian entrepreneurship and of our ability to blend the art of Indian design with the science of Silicon Valley scaling. We’ve been on an incredible journey so far, working hard to build a company that is loved by employees and customers.
It’s day zero all over again for Freshworks as we start our public journey to build an iconic global software product company.
Note: The above blog post is based on excerpts from Girish Mathrubootham’s founder letter originally published in Freshworks’ S-1 registration.
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