The Beautiful Game: Freshworks and the power of 10

Perseverance. Adversity. Defeat. Triumph.

Freshworks has covered the pitch with an extraordinary decade in SaaS.

Ten years strong, we buried the goal into the back of the net with big league wins­­—we were ranked number 16 on 2020 Forbes Cloud 100 list, recognized in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for IT Service Management Tools, named a ‘visionary’ in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for CRM customer engagement center, to name a few.

And now capping this exceptional decade with style—as the first of many tens—we hosted our first ‘virtual’ global conference, Refresh 2020. Celebrating the evolution of customer experience with a confluence of fetching keynotes and discussions by thought leaders and influencers, the highlight of the event was our product launches, Freshworks CRM and Freshworks Neo.

As we continue to grow in leaps and bounds, it’s important to talk about our ethos—the sense of our being. What we believe in and stand for. For a lot has changed in ten years but what has remained constant is our core belief: when it comes to delighting customers, experience matters.

Freshworks legend has it that our goal of delivering exceptional customer experiences took root 10 years back in time. 

2010 was the year of football. As the World Cup fever ruled TV screens, millions held on to the edge of their seats to witness the extra time goal of Andrés Iniesta. As Spain became a champion with its first World Cup trophy, the same year our founder and CEO, Girish Mathrubootham, embarked on becoming a customer champion with Freshdesk—a ‘fresh’ helpdesk software with the power to transform customer experience. And no, it wasn’t a one-time goal but a commitment to wow customers for life.

Heralding a customer-centric future, the numbers give us away. Freshworks is now one of the world’s fastest-growing customer-engagement software companies for businesses of all sizes, the Fortune 500 as well as the not-so-fortunate 5,00,000. As Freshworks upscaled from $1 million to a $100 million in annual recurring revenue in five years, we also expanded our range of products and forayed into multiple markets, growing exponentially from a six-member team to a SaaS unicorn. Now, an agile, empowered team of more than 3,000 across geographies is playing in the global CX arena.

As Freshworks establishes itself as a big game player in SaaS, G never tires of asking us to look ahead, keeping our eyes on the goal of ‘product-led growth’.

Good business and football: a team of tens

The ‘beautiful game’ of football and a great business share some of the same ideals—whether it is assembling talented players, fostering teamwork, or building a strong leadership team of forwards. Suman Gopalan, our CHRO at Freshworks, voices how we prefer folks with “a passion for the role” to just the qualification for the role. Just like a playmaker needs to be aware and calm under pressure when the game is afoot, only smart people who are passionate about building great products, designing great experiences, and building scalable platforms can deliver delightful customer experiences.

“That’s the whole notion of craftsmanship that defines every role at Freshworks,” she says.

Teamwork is another point where the fields converge. A game is not won by a ball or a goal post, it’s won by a ‘team’ of exceptional players who play to win. As a team, every person has to do their part to be successful. A goal doesn’t happen because of only two players, it takes a team of eleven on the field to get the ball into the end zone.

In an attempt to promote grassroots football in India, G set up FC Madras in 2019, the only football club based out of Chennai with a residential football academy to boot. A passionate man, G described his dream to CNBC-TV18 thus: “To get the next Messi or Ronaldo from India, we need the support of all sports lovers in this country.” 

Screenshot of G speaking about FC Madras

G’s fervor to bring India to the forefront of world football is shared by all Freshworkers.

So, on our tenth anniversary, we spoke to our folks who love football, and asked them about their favorite number tens—exceptional leaders and team players who inspire them to tackle and dribble everyday issues like a pro and stay ahead of the game.

Here’s our list.

  • Lionel Messi: The most decorated player of his generation, Messi redefined football with his playing, ruling club football from his throne in Barcelona, and sticking with his club from the start of his career. As a forward, he never fails to deliver moments of wow to audiences.
  • Dennis Bergkamp: Bergkamp is the proof that form is temporary, but class is forever. After his not-so-splendid performance at Inter Milan, it was under Arsene Wenger at Arsenal that Bergkamp came into his own at club football. A deadly mix of craftsmanship and talent, the Iceman is one of the forever greats to don the number ten.
  • Wayne Rooney: The top scorer for both the English Premier League giants Manchester United and the English national team, Wayne Rooney is a workhorse par excellence. The epitome of teamwork, Rooney can often be seen assisting defenders and sprinting up the pitch to create the next opportunity for a goal.
  • Diego Maradona: The man who scored the glorious goal of the century and (displayed?) the infamous ‘Hand of God’ in the same game, Diego Maradona will always stand for the heady concoction of killer skills and unbridled passion for the game.
  • Luka Modric: Coming from a severely war-torn Croatia, and heralded as one of the best central midfielders of his generation, this great number 10 is lauded for his determination. Modric won the Champions League four times with Real Madrid, and put Croatia back on the world map of football.
  • Zinedine Zidane: Zidane is the ultimate playmaker—a forward of forwards. Capable of single-handedly setting the pace of a game, Zizou, as he is lovingly called, will forever be remembered for the two goals he scored in the final of the 1998 World Cup winning France the tournament against the mighty Brazil.
  • Carli Lloyd: America’s number ten, and a serial winner of multiple awards. Winning each the FIFA World Cup, Olympic Gold Medal in Football, and FIFA Women’s Player of the Year not once but twice, Carli Lloyd brought trophies to the United States that had hitherto eluded them. A forerunner in her field, Carli has her self-designed soccer clinics to nurture upcoming talent.
  • Marta: Brazil’s number ten. The first player in the world to score in five editions of the Football World Cup, Brazil’s Marta is widely ranked as the best female footballer of all time. This heavily-decorated footballer rose against multiple odds as she earned the respect women’s football in Brazil deserves.
  • Ronaldinho: Twice winner of the FIFA World Player of the Year and the architect of Barcelona’s first Champions League win in 14 years, Ronaldinho brought the rhythm of samba to life on the pitch both with his playing and personality. With his wizard-level legwork, he truly represents the magic of football.
  • Del Piero: Lovingly called by his fans Il Pinturicchio, Del Piero is a Renaissance man of Football, with glaring achievements on and off the field. Loyal to his club Juventus in the domestic league, and the proud patent holder of the Del Piero goal, which remains a marker of the majesty of his right foot, he is now also associated with multiple charitable organizations.

Ten is a wholeness of experience, a ten on ten. It’s the mark of perfection—which is why it’s the number engraved on the jerseys of these precise marksmen that have their eyes on the goal. Freshworks shares their spirit. At Freshworks, we are an organization of number 10s—taking the whole team forward to strike the ultimate goal of enabling our customers to get and keep their customers for life. 

Freshworks. We are ten. Ten going on hundred.