Freshworks takes on Asean on the back of rapid expansion

Sidharth Malik, chief revenue officer at Freshworks talks about the company's plans for ASEAN and shares some of the lessons they've learned along the way.
MARCH 20, 2019 - 6:36 PM

Software-as-a-Service firm, Freshworks, has launched its first regional hub for the ASEAN market in Singapore, from which it intends to more fully engage the region, both by ramping up brand awareness and adoption, and by increasing its network of partner resources to meet accelerating customer demand in the region. 

According to Freshworks, ASEAN is registering double digit year-on-year growth. 

"As of now, we're looking at Singapore as a go-to-market office from the perspective that we are able to cover the whole ASEAN market quickly," Sidharth Malik, chief revenue officer at Freshworks, shared with BT.

"We don't cut revenues per geography right now. But from a customer acquisition perspective, we're growing at 45 per cent life," he said. "Having said that, there is a decent-sized revenue base available to us today in the ASEAN market and we definitely want to go deeper on that." 

With the addition of the Singapore office, Freshworks, which is headquartered in San Bruno, US, now has nine global offices spread across four continents. It currently has an extensive partner and reseller network in ASEAN covering prominent regions like Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Korea.

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Freshworks, which in July last year raised US$100 million from investors led by Sequoia and Accel Partners giving it a valuation of US$1.5 billion and unicorn status, is one of the fastest growing in the world. From the launch of its first product in June 2011, they set up their headquarters in downtown San Francisco in 2014, and expanded into London and Australia the following year. 

"Our first six customers came from four different continents so we've been global from day 1," said Mr Malik. "As we grew as an organisation, we saw a lot of deal flow from larger enterprises and we knew that we needed to be closer to customers. Also, we started to get on board of a lot of global businesses, like we have Decathlon all across South-east Asia and Australia as a customer.

"For organisations like that, because they are global in nature, they also wanted multiple language support. So we started localising our products and started supporting multiple languages. And that helped us grow in the Asia and continental Europe regions." 

Locally, the company, whose expansion into Singapore is supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board, is looking to hire a 10 to 15 member team to staff their new offices at Prudential Tower as a starting point. Beyond that, the enigmatic Mr Malik says it will depend on their growth trajectory. 

He said: "Singapore is a great launch pad into the region, as businesses are focussing on technologies to innovate. Our customers and partners in the region have shown confidence by delivering great customer experiences, and we look forward to continuing the momentum."