10 to Watch 2017: FreshWorks Studio

“We recognized a big opportunity to build quality mobile apps for both private- and public-sector companies.”

Photograph by Simon Desrochers.

When friends and business partners Samarth Mod and Rohit Boolchandani emigrated from India to attend the University of Victoria (UVic), their goals were to finish their MBAs, get good jobs while they worked on their software/app ideas and eventually join Victoria’s booming tech industry with their own startup. But when they presented their app ideas to their UVic mentor, she asked, “If you have a great idea, why not launch your business now?”

“I was just 25 and still working on my degree,” says Mod. “But we realized it was a good time to jump into business.” Their first several months were fraught with challenges as the pair struggled to remain afloat financially while learning their market.

“By the time we ran out of financial resources in mid-2015, we’d reached a crisis point,” says Mod. “But we remained positive and kept our entrepreneurial mindset. We just kept taking steps in the right direction and reached out to the community, meeting a lot of key people.”

Those people included tech entrepreneur James DeGreef, founder of ChatterBlock and GenoLogics, who hired the pair for a small project and was so impressed by their quality of work that he decided to invest in their company.

Since then, FreshWorks has grown to 12 employees, with plans to expand to a team of 30 or 40 by the end of 2017. With key clients such as the City of Victoria, Pet Command and the Province of BC, FreshWorks is rated by the Clutch ranking as one of Canada’s top application-development firms.

Q&A with Samarth Mod of FreshWorks Studio

What was your biggest startup challenge?

The pressure of trying to finish our MBAs and simultaneously start a business was enormous! Our biggest challenge was a lack of financial resources, and we didn’t understand our market or how to connect with the right people at the right time.

What are you most proud of?

We’re very proud to employ talented local young people. Our team members have a strong work ethic and are passionate to learn new technology. They may not have work experience, but we see their expertise. They are just like us when we started our company.

What advice would you give someone just starting out?

Understand that entrepreneurship is tough. It’s very fulfilling, but you need to accept the reality of the difficulties you will face and be prepared to accept failure. Failure is
truly a mark of success.

FreshWorks Studio Business Profile

Type of business: Mobile app development company for iOS and Android.

Year founded: 2014

Owners/principals: Samarth Mod and Rohit Boolchandani

Employees/contractors: 12

What sets you apart? “Dedication to a collaborative approach for creating elegant, sophisticated apps that meet market needs.”

This article is from the April/May 2017 issue of Douglas.