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BENGALURU : Shares of Freshworks Inc. surged in their trading debut on Nasdaq, reflecting soaring demand. The company’s shares started trading at around $46, a 28% gain over the IPO price of $36. At 10.10pm India time, the company’s market value rose to $13 billion.

With the listing under the ‘FRSH’ symbol on the Nasdaq Global Select Market exchange, Freshworks has become the first India-born software-as-a-service firm to trade on a US exchange. Other Indian companies listed in the US include Infosys, Wipro, WNS, Dr Reddy’s and HDFC Bank.

Earlier this week, Freshworks raised its initial public offering (IPO) price to $36 per share, from a price range of $32-$34 per share previously, underscoring strong investor interest. It also granted underwriters a 30-day option to buy up to an additional 2.85 million shares of Class A common stock at the IPO price after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions. This will potentially boost Freshworks’ total fundraise to $1.13 billion.

Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and BofA Securities were the lead book-running managers, while Jefferies and Barclays acted as book-running managers for the offering. “Today is the realisation of a major milestone for Freshworks. So, I feel like an Indian athlete who has won a gold medal at the Olympics. I’m excited about what’s next for Freshworks and what a global product company from India can achieve [...] Today is day zero for Freshworks and the beginning of so much more," said Gireesh Mathrubootham, founder and chief executive officer, Freshworks.

Mathrubootham told the media on Wednesday night that 76% of employees hold shares in the company. “More than 500 of our employees in India are crorepatis now. At least 70 of those are below 30 years of age, just out of college a few years ago."

With the robust listing, Freshworks has become the most valuable SaaS startup from India, racing ahead of the likes of application program interface (API) development platform Postman, which was recently valued at $5.6 billion and mobile application testing platform BrowserStack, valued at $4 billion this year.

The Nasdaq listing of Freshworks, which was last valued at $3.5 billion in November 2019, heralds a new era for Indian startups looking to list in the US. Payments service provider Pine Labs, Walmart-owned e-commerce behemoth Flipkart as well as mobile advertising major InMobi are among those planning public listings in the US in the coming months.

“The way Girish and Shan thoughtfully and deliberately built a winning team over the last decade played a critical role in reaching this exciting milestone [...] We are fortunate to be partners in this industry-defining company, along with Accel, Tiger Global and CapitalG," Sequoia India managing director Mohit Bhatnagar and Sequoia partner Carl Eschenbach said in a blog post.

Freshworks has raised more than $327 million in funding till date from Accel, CapitalG, Sequoia India and Tiger Global Management. It has more than 52,500 customers across 120 countries.

The company recorded around a 45% jump in revenue in calendar 2020 to almost $250 million. Its losses, however, widened 84% to $57.3 million during the year. For the six months ended 30 June, Freshworks managed to narrow its net loss to $9.84 million from $57 million net loss a year earlier.

The company, which was co-founded in 2010 in Chennai before shifting its headquarters to San Mateo in the US, continues to have a large workforce in India, catering to more than 52,000 customers globally. It has close to 4,300 employees.

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