Freshworks Has Acquired Nine Capital Efficient Startups

Six months back, B2B SaaS vendor Freshworks, formerly known as Freshdesk, raised $100 million at a post-money valuation of $1.5 billion, marking its entry into the Billion Dollar Unicorn Club. It recently reported profitability in FY2017-2018 ending March 2018. Unlike most other unicorns, Freshworks has an eye on fundamentals, a byproduct, I should like to believe, of my badgering them for years. After my recent Bootstrapping to an Exit article, I have been analyzing the acquisition strategies of Indian companies like Zomato and CarDekho. Freshworks is a unicorn that has expanded its product portfolio with nine strategic acquisitions of capital-efficient startups.

Freshworks’ Journey

Freshdesk was originally founded in 2010 as an affordable alternative to Zendesk by CEO Girish Mathrubootham and CTO Shan Krishnasamy. Today, with the help of nine small but strategic acquisitions, Freshdesk expanded its portfolio to offer IT services management software Freshservice, CRM software Freshsales, call center software Freshcaller, applicant tracking software Freshteam for recruiters, customer messaging software Freshchat, and conversion optimization suite Freshmarketer. Consequently, it rebranded itself as Freshworks.

All the nine acquisitions by Freshworks have been for undisclosed amounts. Cloud-based video collaboration platform 1CLICK, acquired in 2015, was founded in 2012 and had raised an undisclosed seed round from Blume Ventures and The Chennai Angels in 2014.

Online social discovery platform Frilp, acquired in 2015, was founded in 2012 and had raised $500K in funding from angel investors, including Freshdesk CEO Girish Mathrubootham in August 2014 and an undisclosed venture round with Microsoft Accelerator. It had over 100K users.

App customer support offering Konotor, acquired in 2015, was founded in 2013 and had raised $155,000 in seed capital from Accel Partners, Qualcomm Ventures, and Target Accelerator. Its platform supported more than 40 million users and has customers such as Zomato, BankBazaar.com, and Faasos Food Services Pvt. Ltd.

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