Zendesk applied for the Techcrunch20 competition (later renamed Techcrunch40), which purpose was to identify the 20 hottest start-ups worldwide with products ready to launch. Approx 700 companies applied, and we were amongst the final 100 that were selected for final interviews and diligence, before it was narrowed down to 20, or 40 as it turned out to be.
The process wasn't extremely smooth. A conference call was scheduled for, in a two-hour window (in the middle of the night local time, of course) but we got snubbed. Not once but twice. And then suddenly one night they called and were ready. We had the interview done by Jason Calacanis (of Mahalo) and that was a mildly awkward affair. It was over in four minutes and basically ended with Jason saying "So you've built a help desk with a blog and a some RSS?". Ouch!
And yes, the help desk industry isnt very sexy. Its not very sexy to work in a help desk, and its not very sexy to work with help desk software. We acknowledge that and understand that a conference like Techcrunch20 needs a little sex to attract a crowd.
The help desk industry has literally been flying under the radar for a decade now. And its still the big four (IBM, HP, CA and BMC) that holds 40% of the market. The remaining 60% are shared amongst a large and scattered crowd of vendors doing things more or less the same way, without challenging the existing paradigms or bringing anything new to the table.
But we believe that times are changing. We believe that Zendesk will be a cost-effective and extremely convenient help desk alternative for thousands of IT organizations all over the world. And our optimism is also fueled by a company who made the cut for Techcrunch20: Texas-based GotStatus. Their mission is to do for IT Management, what Google Analytics have done for web site statistics. GotStatus is an easy and convenient way to monitor your hardware and services, without adding more software or complexity to an already cluttered IT infrastructure. Its almost as if Zendesk and GotStatus are twins separated at birth. And of course an integration is next step. Stay tuned.