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The 2017 CRM Service Rising Stars: Freshdesk Puts a Fresh Spin on Collaboration
The vendor has been on an acquisition spree to help agents work together and across departments
For the rest of the April 2017 issue of CRM magazine please click here

In just a year since grabbing attention on CRM’s Rising Star list for the first time, Freshdesk has bolstered its presence in the customer service space and made moves to foster productivity and cooperation among agents.

Mitch Kramer, senior vice president and analyst at the Patricia Seybold Group, calls it “a young but rapidly growing company.” Less than a decade old, the outfit has more than doubled its customer base in the past year, from 50,000 to more than 100,000. Likewise, its employee count nearly doubled, from 570 to 912. And, Kramer adds, “the firm has broadened and deepened its customer service offering through several acquisitions.”

That is an understatement. In the past year and a half, the company bought seven independent start-ups, all of them with expertise in niche areas. Dilawar Syed, president of Freshdesk, says that “the biggest benefit has been getting these amazing founders and strong product leaders to come into our companies and lead efforts. For a young company, especially, feeding off that talent is crucial.”

Last February, Freshdesk acquired file collaboration platform maker Framebench. The technology allows service agents to team up internally to interact with customers and share screenshots, images, videos, presentations, or other documents with other members of the organization, without having to create and manage a trouble ticket.

Just a few months later, in April, it picked up Airwoot, a start-up that leverages machine learning technologies to boost customer support interactions on social media platforms. “Airwoot’s AI technology provides us a powerful platform to power the social engagement centers of the future,” Girish Mathrubootham, founder and CEO of Freshdesk, said in a statement at the time of the announcement.

Next came Chatimity, whose name points to its focus and strengths in the social chat space. The company’s technology uses artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots to accelerate response times and personalize content in a way that is scalable. Its bot, dubbed MITI, uses AI Markup Language to hold conversations with thousands of users in real time.

“Our team was able to get a glimpse of what Freshdesk was already working on, and we immediately knew that our team and technology would complement and accelerate product development at Freshdesk with a strong focus on AI and chat tech,” said Tarkeshwar Thakur, cofounder and CEO of Chatimity, in a statement at the time of the acquisition. “Delivering a top-notch customer experience over chat continues to be a challenge for many companies, a problem we intend to solve with some of the next-gen chat products we are building at Freshdesk.”

Most recently, Freshdesk added to its roster Pipemonk, whose technologies aim to simplify the act of integrating disparate business applications while accelerating the flow of information and data necessary to serve customers.

In November, Freshdesk grabbed the attention of Sequoia Capital India, which supplied it with $55 million in funding to support its expansion beyond the bounds of customer service. Freshdesk had already put its money where its mouth was earlier in the year with the release of Freshsales, which helps salespeople keep track of prospect contacts, and Hotline, an in-app customer chat platform.

As Freshdesk has grown—both organically and through acquisitions—it has also continued a steady climb upmarket, catering to organizations with larger numbers. In the coming year, Freshdesk plans to update its user interface by bringing in more proactive intelligence elements, improving collaboration across departments, and fostering engagement, according to Syed. 

FRESHDESK

CEO: Girish Mathrubootham

Founded: 2010

Headquarters: San Bruno, Calif.

Revenue: N/A

Employees: 912

Customer Count: 100,000

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