Popular Online Polling Giant Raises $180 Million in First Public Offering

Jacob Maslow  |

In an upsized first public offering, pop popular online polling giant Survey Monkey raised $180 million. Initial public offering shares sold 15 million at $12 each. Previously, shares for Svmk, Inc., the company’s operating name, were selling at prices between $9 and $11, with 13.5 million sold. Svmk also sold company stock to the tune of $40 million to Salesforce, an email marketing services enterprise with a venture capital division.

Survey Monkey was founded in 1999 by current CEO Ryan Finley. When he started Survey Monkey, Ryan Finley had not yet graduated and received his degree in Computer Science from University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2015, Survey Monkey was listed on the Forbes Unicorn List of startups. One year later, the company was listed on the Forbes Cloud List at position number six.

Survey Monkey offers free and customizable surveys to businesses and individuals. This free business model is similar to flash fx, where customers can avail of free international money transfers. Non-paying customers at Survey Monkey can create and distribute online surveys to anyone on just about any topic. Uses range from asking people what cell phone service they use to polling employees about their opinions about workplace culture. In addition to its extensive free service offerings, the polling company offers paid services in the form of data analysis, bias elimination, sample selection, as well as a suite of digital data representation implements. Of its 16 million active uses, the company’s IPO documentation reports that only 3.8 percent are paying users. Future plans for growth include scaling up paid users by upselling existing users, as well as organic word-of-mouth growth via existing customers.

Since 2015, Survey Monkey has implemented partnerships with Salesforce, Google and Microsoft. Its previous relationship with Salesforce was a key factor in its $40 million stock sale to the marketing agency’s venture capital arm.

In the first two quarters of 2018, Survey Monkey’s net loss went from $19.1 million for the same period last year to $27.2 million. There was a net loss of $24 million in 2017 on revenue of $218.8 million. In 2016, Survey Monkey had $207.3 million in revenue with a net loss of $76.4 million.

According to the company, funds from the initial public offering will be used to pay debt and taxes from a restricted stock unit settlement. In addition, part of the funds will be used for working capital, acquisitions and investments in technology that will improve and expand the company’s service offerings.

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