Freshdesk eyes Australia as a 'critical' market for more growth

Freshdesk believes it is only at the very start of growing its business in Australia, despite already doubling its customer base since opening its Sydney office 10 months ago.

Freshdesk has doubled its Australian customer base to more than 5,000 within 10 months of opening its Sydney office but has its sights set for further growth.

Nishant Rao, Freshdesk chief operating officer, explained Australia is a "critical" market for the company, in particular the small to medium business (SMB) sector, which has driven a majority of the company's business in the local market so far.

"We have incredible passion around the small to medium sized businesses, and if you think about that number in Australia it's in the millions. While we're proud of 5,000 customers, it's still an early start; there are still tonnes of further growth we hope to see," he said.

"At the same time we see the growth has been very encouraging for us. We set 100 customers in 100 days and that was easy. It shows we have the product market fit. The whole objective of putting an office on the ground was fundamentally figuring out what we needed to do from a go-to market standpoint to take the story to Australia."

Rao said the company will continue to invest in the Australian market with plans to "double, triple" the headcount from the current team of five.

"Resources aren't really a constraint; we want to grow responsibly. A big part of it will involve looking at our best serving model of how much is online and how much is in person, and then figure out [what the] net size of the team should be," he said.

He added that the company has experienced particular growth from the education sector, and will use it as an opportunity to strategically take a "verticalised" approach in the Australian market, saying the company will offer, for example, one solution to universities and another one to retailers.

Some of the company's local customers in Australia include Harvey Norman, Fujitsu, Australian National University, and Red Balloon.

Since launch, the company has secured $100 million in total funding from Accel Partners, Tiger Global, and Google Capital, with Rao saying that the company still has "a tonne of funding" in the bank before it needs to launch into another funding round.

Last month, the company launched its in-app mobile messaging service, Hotline. The release stemmed from Freshdesk's acquisition of two-way messaging solution Konotor last year. Konotor was subsequently merged with Freshdesk's existing chat product Mobihelp to form Hotline.