Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

I want Freshworks to be like the Infosys of IT services: Girish Mathrubootham

Edited excerpts from an interview with Nasdaq listed Freshworks founder & CEO

Harichandan Arakali
Published: Sep 30, 2021 08:43:23 AM IST
Updated: Sep 30, 2021 09:01:45 AM IST

I want Freshworks to be like the Infosys of IT services: Girish MathruboothamGirish Mathrubootham, Founder and CEO, FreshWorks

On the significance of Freshworks’ IPO

It would be like a bellwether moment… like Infosys being the bellwether for IT services, Freshworks could be the bellwether for SaaS product companies. “I told Shekhar (Kirani of Accel) that's what I want. I want Freshworks to really be like the Infosys for IT services. We want to be that company for SaaS products.

On the work ahead, after the IPO

The IPO is a significant milestone for Freshworks in India. And we will celebrate that as a big event for us, but the work does not end at the IPO. It's really Day Zero. I look at the IPO as fulfilling my responsibilities to the VC investors by creating liquidity for them in the public markets. But at the same time, I'm actually getting ready for the next journey where I'm taking on responsibility for a completely new set of investors.

On what his achievements have enabled him to do

If you look at what's the connecting thread between Freshworks SaaSBOOMi, Together Fund and my angel investments, it's the same thing—India as a product nation. So when I look at my role as the CEO of Freshworks, I'm grateful that I have this opportunity to be able to lead from the front and show how it's done and give hope that you can build software companies and SaaS companies from India and take them to scale.

On his love of startups

I’ll tell you what my wife says. ‘I have to be a startup for you to spend more time with me’. I just enjoy spending time with startups and so, I have done more than 60 angel investments as an individual. And now I'm also part of Together Fund.

On bringing staff back to the office

If you ask most Freshworks employees, I think they would all say that we missed the energy in the office. People who come in always say that, ‘Hey, I love the energy’. I love the vibes. We have fantastic food and great coffee. And it's just meeting people. So we want to bring people back, but we want to do it at a time when it is safe to do so. And we will be compliant with all the local regulations.

On the future of work at Freshworks

You will definitely have work from home as an option. And that's more challenging also because in every meeting, if you have everybody in the room, it's okay. But you're going to have meetings in the future where some of them are on Zoom and some of them are in the room and you have to make those meetings work. So we are also going to set up hybrid offices in more cities, where people can come in two or three times a week.

(This story appears in the 08 October, 2021 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)