Being a fan of Rajinikanth helped this Chennai man become a great entrepreneur

Sreedhar Pillai

Jul 15, 2016 15:52:31 IST

Six years back the Chennai based Girish Mathrubootham was working with Zoho - a software service company specialising in business software. Girish was drawing a salary of Rs 36 lakhs annually and was one of the driving forces in Zoho. But he was feeling a bit “bored about it” and wanted to start something of his own and bring out his hidden entrepreneurial qualities.

Girish grew up in small town Trichy and was always a crazy Rajinikanth fan. He would watch the superstar’s films first day first show (FDFS). On 1 October, 2010 he watched Rajinikanth’s Enthiran (Robo), with few of his friends FDFS at his favourite Sathyam Cinemas in Chennai. The same day he went back to office to find out that his bosses accepted his resignation he had submitted a couple of days ago.

Later, Girish and his colleague Shan Krishnasamy quit Zoho and set up Freshdesk: a cloud-based customer service tool, launched on a SAAS platform at a warehouse in a Chennai suburb with just four employees. Nearly six years down the line, Freshdesk is located in a swanky new office in Perungudi, the IT hub of Chennai and employs 800 people. Freshdesk raised funding last in April 2015. At the Freshdesk office you can feel the larger than life presence of Rajinikanth, as the walls are adorned with graphic work of superstar.


Girish Mathrubootham in his office.

In an exclusive interview to Firstpost Girish Mathrubootam says: “Yes I’m inspired and motivated by Rajini sir. When I left Zoho six years back, it was like an interval block of a Rajinikanth film. From nothing, FreshDesk grew and I was greatly motivated by Rajini sir in our entrepreneurial journey. Every day morning before leaving for office I used to listen to the song “Vetri Kodi Kattu” (hoist the flag of victory) from Rajini sir’s blockbuster Padaiyappa (The film is the typical rags to riches story and in the beginning of thr song, Rajinikanth has lost everything but song ends with him becoming a millionaire). It made me work hard against all odds.”

When some foreign investors wanted him to relocate his company from Chennai to Bengaluru the Silicon Valley of India, at the last minute the plan was dropped. “ It was a scene straight out of Arunachalam, where Rajini sir refused to sign the documents and leave the place with that famous dialogue – “Ithu Thaan Da Enga Ooru, Ithu Vittu Enga Da Poven ?” (This is my place, why leave this place and go where?). We decided to stay put in Chennai and it has paid off handsomely” explains Girish.

Girish feels that there is so much to learn from a Rajinikanth film. A few years back Rajinikanth made a film jointly with some of his old producers, who had fallen on bad days, and shared the profit with them.  Girish Mathrubootam says with a smile: “I think Silicon Valley got inspired by our superstar.  Wealth creation to me means creating wealth not only for founders and shareholders, but also for all the employees who are passionately building the company along with us. I think it is a great opportunity that I have as the founder to be able to create and share wealth. Some of our employees are crorepathis as we believe in stock options.”

When asked about his Kabali plans, Girish said: “ The advance booking are yet to open, I will try my best to watch the film FDFS at my favourite screen. And on Saturday I’m planning as usual to give Kabali tickets to all our employees and their family through corporate booking. Last time when we did it for Lingaa there were only 252 employees today it is around 800.”

He has only one dream left, to meet the superstar in person and invite him to his office.

Updated Date: Jul 15, 2016 15:55:39 IST