'SaaSy' Unicorn Freshworks Strengthens Its Portfolio With Acquisition Of AnswerIQ

The move to add the US-based start-up to its portfolio will allow Freshworks to develop its artificial intelligence offerings

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The Indian start-up ecosystem is growing each day witnessing companies making strategic deals to sustain and scale up. In a bid to develop its artificial intelligence (AI) offerings, software-as-a-service (SaaS) Unicorn Freshworks acquired Seattle-based AI and machine learning start-up AnswerIQ. The US-based start-up allows large enterprises provide better customer support services. 

Freshworks founder and CEO - Girish Mathrubootham

While the financial details of the deal has not been disclosed, an official statement said AnsweriQ CEO Pradeep Rathinam has now joined Freshwork’s senior executive team as chief customer officer as a part of the acquisition deal.

“The integration of AnsweriQ’s technology enhances our AI/ML capability in the customer engagement space and offers significant value to our customers,” said Freshworks’ founder and CEO Girish Mathrubootham. “Pradeep brings executive-level acumen and expertise, which will be leveraged in his new role as chief customer officer as we double-down on our efforts to engage and keep customers for life.”

Why Does This Deal Make Sense For Freshworks?

US- and Chennai-based Freshworks was founded in 2010 by Mathrubootham and Shan Krishnasamy. The company provides SaaS customer engagement solutions to organizations of all sizes making it easy for support, sales and marketing professionals to communicate effectively with customers for better service and collaborate with team members to resolve customer issues. The company's products include Freshdesk, Freshservice, Freshsales, Freshcaller, Freshteam, Freshchat, Freshmarketer and Freshrelease. 

The company—backed by prominent investors including Accel, Tiger Global Management, CapitalG and Sequoia Capital India—entered the Unicorn club in 2018 after raising $100 million investment led by Accel Partners and Sequoia.

According to the official statement, AnsweriQ’s technology will augment Freshworks’ AI engine Freddy’s capabilities and help scale self-service for large enterprises. AnsweriQ uses algorithms to read and understand interactions from past tickets between the customer support agent and the customer, and enables a business to classify and automatically respond to issues. It also assists agents with the top three recommended responses to complex questions. 

It works within the existing customer experience systems like Zendesk, Salesforce, etc., eliminating the need to learn any new system.

According to the SaaS Unicorn, Freddy will incorporate AnsweriQ’s AI to learn from ticket data and agent actions within the Freshworks customer-for-life cloud and improve customer self-service capabilities. Freddy will extend its capabilities from a knowledge base dependent AI engine to learn from ticket conversations on the fly. 

With this, Freddy will be able to anticipate customer needs, make recommendations for agents based on the conversations and perform tasks such as refunds and cancellations with no manual input required—significantly improving customer self-service and freeing up agent time to handle more complex requests.

“Unlike clunky, siloed, legacy SaaS solutions, Freshworks is innovating to deliver a powerful and seamless experience across sales, marketing, customer success and support functions. With Freshworks’ commitment to deploying enterprise-scale AI to better understand customers and build relationships for life, this acquisition is a natural fit. I’m excited to join Freshworks as their new chief customer officer as we create delightful experiences for enterprises that use our products worldwide,” said Rathinam

Second Acquisition Within A Year

This acquisition marks Freshworks’ 12th deal after Natero, Zarget, Pipemonk, JoeHukum, Chatimity, 1CLICK and Airwoot, among others. Prior to this deal, Freshworks had acquired Natero, a customer success management software company in May 2019.

The development comes right after the Unicorn reported nearly 60 per cent year-over-year growth in billings.

The SaaS company currently has more than 2,700 employees working in 13 offices around the world. It also recently closed $150 million funding that put the company at a post-financing valuation of $3.5 billion.