Finnish philology, computer clubs, back of business cards life-changing opportunities sit patiently, utterly overlooked, in coded forms. Seeking someone who'd spot the missing link or the undeniable connection and then pour in the time and effort to pursue them.

The Origin

For Girish Mathrubootham, one such opportunity sat in a Hacker News comment. It was a user's lament against a Helpdesk system that had recently raised its prices. Something happened to Girish the moment he read it.

So he did.

A stranger's comment proved to be the trailhead of a once-in-a-lifetime company. In mid-2010, Girish gave up his job, assembled a crew, and went on to found, Freshdesk.

With the help of initial feedback, they assessed the polarities at the centre of what customers wanted and what the market offered. With a mission to make customer support "refreshingly easy" for small and large companies, they've scaled to 80,000 customers worldwide.

The spidey sense in me told me that I should throw my hat into the ring. That was the moment I decided to build something in the customer support market delivered as SaaS.

Girish Mathrubootham

Founder & CEO, Freshdesk

The Challenge

By the time they were nearing 500 customers in early 2012 - increasingly, there were too many things to deal with and too few people to tend to them.

Freshdesk was built around creating great customer experiences, and they understood that billing was essential. So, they had a team of two developers focused full-time on handling DevOps and billing-related issues.

They had built a billing engine on rails, on top of Braintree subscriptions, to handle most things independently. But the rate at which they were growing, it turned out, the engine would be of little help.

Constant requests flooded their emails.

The sales team wanted them to issue discounts and extend trials.

The finance team needed a way to accept and manage different payment methods.

The support team needed information on specific subscriptions at a click.

The team of two went all in. They handled the queries for some time and created an admin billing interface with different groups in mind.

The tensions remained. They had to tinker with the billing engine every other day, which began to slow things down across the company.

I've always thought of payment gateways like Braintree as more connected to the bank and less connected to the customers. Never the other way around. A customer-driven SaaS business needs a reliable system like Chargebee that takes care of the latter.

Kiran Darisi

Co-founder, Director - DevOps

The Solution

They decided to use Chargebee to see if they could quell the chaos around billing because different teams relied on it to deliver.

To avoid dealing with a moving target, we started onboarding their new customers through Chargebee and slowly migrated their old customers.

Thus, Chargebee's admin interface became the source of truth for all their operations. Whenever a customer signed up for a trial, a subscription was created in Chargebee. At the time of a paid conversion, a customer could put in a card within Freshdesk, and then Chargebee made sure that the card information was sent to Braintree and the results were relayed back to Freshdesk.

The Results

Scaling is about outpacing one's growth and transforming into a new kind of company with the lessons from yesterday. It gets even more complex in horizontal markets like Freshdesk's.

Nothing produces more anguish than losing a prospect right when they're at the edge of a purchase decision. With Chargebee, Freshdesk ironed out all conversion kinks that depend on the payments experience:

  • The ability to accept and reconcile multiple payment methods. ACH, PayPal, checks, and cash
  • The ability to accept multiple currencies
  • A seamless in-app checkout experience powered by APIs.
growth story

People at Freshdesk understand that growth is only worthwhile with retention. The key to building a lasting business is ensuring customers derive recurring value. Chargebee helps Freshdesk in:

  • Offering more control to customers within their app
  • Sending lifecycle emails throughout various stages.

Clocks might tell us that all hours are the same. But ask individuals in different teams, and you'd get different answers. Engineering hours. Reporting hours. Support hours. Each team is focused on tucking their progress towards different KPIs in precious hours.

The fact that billing's thread ties back all the teams requires a system that lets teams work together towards a better customer experience without hampering their productivity.

With Chargebee's robust webhooks system, every single change made to a subscription, from the customer's side or any of the teams, gets immediately reflected in one system.

And with role-based access, different teams use a simple interface to take actions that matter most. Fast.

Serving customers from startups to enterprises to government agencies, dealing with different billing use cases, tax systems, accepting multiple currencies and being sane.

That was then.

From 500 customers, they've scaled to 80,000 and underwent three different pricing iterations. And over the last year or so, three new SaaS products have been released, and all are managed with Chargebee.

in 5 years
Different currencies
Products on
our platform