digibyte - 'Superstar' Freshworks files for IPO

Profile picture for user slauchlan By Stuart Lauchlan August 30, 2021 Audio mode
Freshworks makes its move to go public.

New York

Following several months of speculation, Freshworks filed on Friday to raise $100 million in an initial public offering.

A filing had been rumored since April of this year, although CEO Girish Mathrubootham was coy on the subject at the time. That  changed last week as he declared:

As I reflect on how far Freshworks has come these last 10-plus years, this is a proud moment for all of us, and today, I feel really good.

The firm has been beefing up its enterprise credentials of late, bringing on board Stacey Epstein as Chief Marketing Officer, CFO Tyler Sloat, formerly of Zuora, and Chief Product Officer Prakash Ramamurthy, once Senior Vice President of Product Development and General Manager of Oracle Cloud systems management and security products. Last week it was announced that Zach Nelson, former CEO of NetSuite, has joined its Board of Directors.

In its regulatory filing, Freshworks disclosed it earned $168.9 million in revenue for the six month, 53% up from $110.5 million in the same period last year. Net losses were $9.8 million, down nearly 83% from a year earlier.

In a letter accompanying the filing. Mathrubootham said:

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! Over the years, I’ve heard it all, including: There are 600 help desks in the market. How do you expect to win? You can’t find talent in Chennai; you can’t win unless you move to Bangalore.

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 offered a ‘fresh’ approach relying on efficient, product-led, low-cost, and low-touch sales; and we targeted massive, underserved markets. And we had one simple mantra: happy employees create happy customers. In fact, we made that our mission.

My take

Personally, I’m filing this under ‘least unexpected development’. Congratulations and good luck to Freshworks as it enters its next phase.

Side note - Mathrubootham’s personal take on the IPO caught the eye as he revealed:

The code name for our IPO was Project SuperStar, named after the most successful movie star from Tamil Nadu, Rajinikanth. 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 [...] Thank you, Thalaivaa!