Helpdesk software company Freshdesk – an Indian startup that quickly scaled up to rub shoulders with the global leaders in its domain – has raised US$31 million in a series D round of funding led by Tiger Global, which brings its total investment to US$44 million. Of particular interest is the participation of Google Capital – one of the two VC arms of the search giant. This makes Freshdesk the first Indian company to get backing from Google Capital, which has only five other companies in its portfolio. Accel Partners also participated in this round.
Freshdesk will use the fresh funds to step up its global expansion. The SaaS-based company acquired 10,000 new customers in the last two quarters, bringing the total number on its roster to 23,500 in 120 countries. These include firms like 3M, Hugo Boss, and Petronas. Growth in the North American market, where its main competitors Zendesk and Desk.com are based, has been a priority area. Hiring a US-based president helped in the scaling up.
“We already have a great product which is doing very well, so distribution is the focus now.” Girish Mathrubootham, founder and CEO of Freshdesk, tells Tech in Asia. “This funding will help in sales and marketing. For example, in non-English-speaking countries like France, Germany and Poland, language is a challenge. We have started a channel program to overcome this with the help of local resellers.”
New forms of customer support
A recent G2 Crowd report rated the helpdesk from Freshdesk as the best in comparison with Zendesk and Desk. But rather than resting on its laurels, Freshdesk is constantly upgrading itself. In January this year, the company came out with FreshService, an in-house IT support service. The response has been good, Mathrubootham says, and a lot more research and development will now go into ramping this up.
One of the biggest customer segments for Freshdesk now is ecommerce. Mathrubootham recounted how they noticed a disjunct between customer enquiries and order fulfilment because they were on different tracks. Freshdesk integrated the system to make these processes seamless, which in turn reduced response time.
Another new venture from Freshdesk is Freshfone. This recognises the reality that a lot of people are still more comfortable talking to support personnel over the phone rather than getting help online or on social media. Freshfone integrates phone support into its helpdesk software so that companies can also talk to their customers over the phone through Freshdesk. This will also keep track of the conversations, customers, and their problems. “With Freshfone, there is no need for companies to invest in expensive telephony solutions separately,” Mathrubootham claims.
“Customer support is undergoing a dramatic shift globally — fueled by the rise of cloud computing, subscription pricing, mobile devices and social media. Freshdesk has embraced and accelerated this shift, helping their clients provide great customer service,” said Gene Frantz, general partner at Google Capital, in a statement today.
This Chennai-headquartered tech startup thought big from the very outset and it’s paying off.Editing by Steven Millward