Founders of Chargebee have an inspiring story that restores your faith in the age-old saying that there is no substitute for hard work.
- Chargebee caters to thousands of subscription businesses in SaaS, e-commerce, OTT, and across North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
- It serves over 18,000 customers which include over 3,000 paying customers and more than 15,000 freemium customers.
- With the latest round of capital infusion, Chargebee’s valuation tripled in six months and is now pegged at $1.4 billion.
Starting a business is not easy. It is proven that only three out of ten startups survive to cross the initial threshold of 5 years. With this high margin of falling in the pit, it is rewarding that this startup lived through to tell its tale. It is easy to say that a single idea can make you win, it takes dedication, time and investment to build scalable products, attract customers, and build an entire business with sheer hard work, effort, and patience.
This success story is about Chargebee, which was founded in 2011. It is a San Francisco and Chennai-based recurring billing startup that recently raised $125 million in Series G funding from Sapphire Ventures and existing investors Insight Ventures and Tiger Global which puts the startup’s valuation at $1.4 billion.
They came to address a simple problem of why subscription-based services are not picking up in India. Their concept found its investors in foreign. They made top executives of enterprises turn their heads by expanding their business of automating operations in subscriptions and billing.
Watch: Chargebee makes its way into the ‘Unicorn Club’
In 2009, Krish Subramanian was working at Cognizant. He came at crossroads when he was offered a long-term opportunity to make an account and build a team in the US. It would have require 5–7 years of investment. Instead, he decided to return to India and build his own company. Co-founder Rajaraman Santhanam, Subramanian’s college friend was working at Zoho at that time, building a SaaS platform.
Since college days both wanted to run their own company. With time they roped in Saravanan KP, and Thiyagarajan T both of whom were working at Zoho alonside Santhanam. The three of them resigned from Zoho to become Subramanian’s co-founders at Chargebee. In the early days, their makeshift office was a drawing room at one of the co-founder’s home. Who knew one day these champions will be sitting in their own office in San Francisco, US with the golden gate view.
Success didn’t come easy. Before launching Chargebee, Krish and Rajaraman incorporated Bubblepath, Inc in 2010. Despite undetered commitment to build a business together, they couldn’t sustain it.
The Business Model
Explaining the working of the company: Chargebee’s product is built to focus on SaaS needs of businesses that provide solutions to clients across sectors. They also provides key business metrics, reports and insights, to help clients grow rapidly.
Especially, during the ongoing pandemic, Chargebee noted that its customers across the spectrum were able to get more out of its solutions by pivoting and finding new opportunities and capturing the exploding opportunity. This reduced the time spend by developers in writing custom codes for every billing need. The support team can say goodbye to the endless sheets of customer data. The marketing and sales teams can experiment more. Taking the high road in the ongoing success story, Chargebee founders are planning to take the company public with an IPO shortly after they reach their goal.