Girish has a settled life and after spending more than ten years in the corporate industry and reaching designations as high as the VP, he decided to quit. Not because he had an offer from a hundred billion dollar enterprise or something alike, but because he has to bridge the gap between customer and service provider. His journey is exciting as a roller coaster ride, get on board to find out what surprises he has to unravel.
|Date of Birth||29 March 1975|
|Schooling||Campion Higher Secondary School● Degree Name AISLC – STD X
● 1980 – 1990
|Graduation||Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology and Research Academy
● Degree Name BE
● Field Of StudyElectrical & Electronics
● 1992 – 1996
|Post-Graduation||University of Madras
● Degree Name MBA
● Field Of Study Marketing
● 1996 – 1998
Residential Contact Details
Official Contact Details
|Address||Block B, SP Infocity, 40, MGR Main Rd, Kodandarama Nagar, Perungudi, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600096|
|Phone Numbers||044 6667 8040 / +91 44 6667 8080|
|Founded||Founder & CEO● Company Name Freshworks Inc. (formerly Freshdesk)
● Jun 2017 – Present
● Duration1 yr 11 mos
● Location San Bruno, California
Founder & CEO
● Company Name Freshdesk
● Oct 2010 – Present
● Duration 8 yrs 7 mos
|Also worked at||Company NameZoho Corporation (Total Duration 5 yrs 1mon)
1. Vice President – Product Management
Dec 2007 – Oct 2010 (Duration 2 yrs 11 mos)
2. Director – Product Management
Oct 2005 – Dec 2007 (Duration 2 yrs 3 mos)
Company Name AdventNet Inc. (Total Duration 3 yrs 4 mos)
a) Product Manager Jun 2002 – Sep 2005 (Duration 4 yrs 2 mos)
b) Lead Engineer – PreSales Customer Support
Aug 2001 – Jun 2002 (Duration11 mos)
Company NameeForce Inc.
● Senior Software Engineer
Jul 2000 – Jul 2001 (Duration1 yr 1 mos)
Company Name HCL Cisco ODC
● Member Technical Staff
Feb 1999 – Apr 2000 (Duration1 yr 3 mos)
Since 2004, Girish was building premise based help desk systems. This was when he came across an article stating that customers were unhappy as Zendesk was increasing their charges by 60-300%. He focused on a comment that stated – there was a lot of potential in this industry and it was time that somebody took over Zendesk’s business. Girish was already dealing with Cloud computing and knew that the comment made sense. Plus, he had the necessary experience and skill set. He had his share of doubts as a married person responsible for his wife and two sons, he didn’t wish to jeopardise their happiness. But the sense of a businessman and his instinct didn’t allow him to surrender the idea of running a company in this domain.
The real change came when he shipped a 40-inch television to Chennai, India, his hometown and it came broken. Neither the insurance company listened to his complain nor they behaved properly for 5 months. He, then made a move and posted this news on R2IClubForums, a website for people returning to India. Insurance company then finally heard his call as it feared negative impact on other potential customers. This was when he realised that it was time to change the customer service industry.
He purchased Freshdesk domain from GoDaddy without wasting much time. In a month, a team comprising six members was ready His friend Shan supported his decision. Both of them resigned in October 2010 and dedicated themselves to a dream organization.
Next big step was the payment gateway, which is a story in itself. The business model they had demanded the headquarters to be in US, as there was no payment gateway in India that could handle recurring payment solutions. But they turned the table and incorporated a US based company from India. Then came the turn for the logo and website. Getmefast.com agreed to do everything for around $450 and was chosen. These choices were made on the basis of reviews from Hacker News.
Marketing being next was started almost immediately. Girish spent barely $300-400 on advertising and got a decent return. Customer patterns and profiles were identified, target audience and market was set, the problems described by real customers were taken into notice, and a software offering customer service was designed. The lesson learnt here was – customers want a single customer relationship management solution instead of looking for one thing here and other there. With all this set, the next move was to get funding.
Meanwhile, when the business plan to convince the investors were being made, a beta launch of the product was made on EngineYard. Girish’s market value was so high, his investors were looking for this move since he left his job and started this venture. He immediately got a million dollar funding from Accel, which boosted his confidence. In his exact words – “ Somebody external trusted us with a million dollars. We have to be onto something.”
Freshdesk announced this news of getting the funds on Twitter and were hit by an opinion about the name of the company. This was a paid blogger who did it for competitors, this was revealed when Girish launched the site ripoffornot.org and openly declared a war of words on Twitter. Receiving overwhelming support from the audience was a win. This worked as a great marketing move as people knew what Freshdesk was. Since then, the company has received all the support from investors and customers.
Freshdesk which was a platform that connected different organisations with their customers through multiple channels, extended to a wide range of services. The company has made six acquisitions namely
|Platform name||Work||Year of acquisition|
|Airwoot||Customer service solution on social media||April 2016|
|Framebench||Online collaboration platform||February 2016|
|Konotor||Chennai-based messaging app||December 2015|
|Frilp||Application to discover a shop or service through their friends.||October 2015|
|1CLICK||Video, voice, and text chat platform with collaborative features screen sharing and conversation recording||August 2015|
|Chatimity||A social chat platform, which developed artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbot technology||October 2016|
As per Girish, 82% of customers leave a company due to bad customer service. Freshdesk offered a B2B model that worked well for both companies and the customers. Today, Freshworks has a market value of over 1.5 billion American dollars and has Tiger Global Management, CapitalG and Sequoia Capital India as investors who have already infused $249 million in this business.
Lesser known facts about him
- FreshDesk was rebranded as Freshworks after Girish’s startup became an international success and he started operations in Nigeria and Kenya. Freshworks is the umbrella company for Freshdesk, Freshsales, Freshservice, Freshmarketer, Freshcaller and Freshchat.
- Girish calls his startup a SaaS – software-as-a-service
- Annual recurring revenue of his company is a hundred million dollars.
- Girish analyses people on the basis of their learning skills and passion. He hired smart programmers for his company and made them learn the language Freshdesk was working upon instead of looking for programmers who knew the language but were average at their work. He believes that skills and knowledge can be acquired but the talent is innate.