Ideas can come from anywhere. Sometimes it could be staring you right in the face for years and you may not see it. Luckily for Girish Mathrubootham, his eureka moment happened by accident. In mid-2010, the techie was browsing through Hacker News, a web community for geeks, where he read that online customer support company Zendesk had increased its rates by 60-300%, leaving its customers very unhappy. One irate customer had remarked that there was a huge opening in the market for someone who with a product at the right price. “It was like a slap on my face for not seeing the business opportunity in customer support, especially since I had been building on-premise helpdesk systems since 2004 at Zoho,” recalls 37-year-old Mathrubootham, who was a vice-president at the Chennai-based CRM company at the time.
Over the next couple of weeks, Mathrubootham researched the companies in the space and took the usual, tech route to entrepreneurship — zeroed in on the domain name, roped in a co-founder (Shan Krishnasamy) and then quit his regular job. Freshdesk finally started in October 2010 in a rented out conference room of a friend’s company with an investment of ₹50 lakh bootstrapped by Mathrubootham. What is it? It’s a B2B cloud-based helpdesk software that allows organisations to support their customers over e-mail, phone, website and social media. Given the founders’ background, it was easy to zero in on product features and functionality and what platform it should be based on. “We decided to build a cloud-based offering because one, there weren’t many cloud-based systems in the market. Two, our experience at Zoho convinced us that everybody will move to the cloud in the future,” says Shan Krishnasamy, chief technology officer, Freshdesk. “The economics of the cloud is proven.