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After all, customer is the king
When Mathrubootham’s television set was shipped broken from the US, he was frustrated with the poor customer service. But when he gave vent to his problem online, the President of the organisation apologised and shipped a replacement.

It set him thinking on how the social media has started to play an important role in customer support. Next time when you post a query on the Facebook page or a twitter handle of a company and get a response be thankful to him.

Paradigm shift in customer support...

“I realised that a paradigm shift in customer support was happening as everybody had social power. For someone like me who was developing traditional tools for customer support, it was an eye opener,” said Girish Mathrubootham, Founder and CEO. Along with his colleague Shan Krishnasamy at Zoho then, Mathrubootham set working towards developing a product that would integrate various social mediums into a customer service helpdesk. This set Freshdesk story on board.

“We started working outside office hours and later realised that it required full-time. After 175 people signed to work with us, around 2011, the product was launched which went to win the

Microsoft Bizpark award. This triggered investors’ interest,” said Mathrubootham.

Recently Freshdesk has received $50 million funding in a Series D round with Tiger Global leading and Accel and Google Capital participating. Google Capital is investing for the second time in less than a year. “The success of our funding lies in the fact that our product helps small and medium businesses address customer queries in a simple and cost-effective way while it is profitable to us,” said Mathrubootham.

The Freshdesk product is a Software as a Service (SaaS) which helps businesses to communicate with customers through email, phone, chat, Twitter, Facebook, community forums or mobile. The success of this company comes from the fact that the product is suitable for businesses of all sizes, from startups like QuizUp to big companies like Sony Pictures and

3M. Their clientele boasts of top names that include Honda, 3M, Petronas, Hugo Boss, Verizon Wireless, Clear Channel, etc.


Product development gains force...

Though Chennai missed the ICT buzz to Bengaluru, start-ups like Zoho, Freshdesk, Chargebee which develop products add pride to the metro. India is often termed as the back office of developed nations. With talented workforce, focus on developing products will be value adding. Mathrubootham is part of the team in NASSCOM Product Council, which works in promoting and nurturing product companies from India. He actively advises the startup community in India about scaling and building a global product company out of India.

In three years, Freshdesk has over 40,000 customers across the globe for which a team of 400 develop products.

The start-up bug that bit Mathrubootham made him quit a plush job as the VP of Product Management at Zoho Corporation. He was named ‘Startup Entrepreneur of the Year’ by TiE Chennai in 2012 and also won the CII Connect ‘Emerging Star of the Year’ award in 2013. Over the last sixteen years, he has nurtured and shaped the careers of hundreds of people. And his word for the budding entrepreneurs, “think big and play to your strengths.”

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