Posted on Wednesday, Jun 20th 2018
According to a recent IBIS World research report, the US market research industry is estimated to have grown 3.2% annually over the last five years to be worth $22 billion. Billion Dollar Unicorn SurveyMonkey is a leading player in the industry. After several years of delaying its IPO plans, earlier this week, it finally filed to go public.
San Mateo-based SurveyMonkey was founded by software developer Ryan Finley in 1999. It was bootstrapped for the first few years, and was run as a very tight ship. It added its first employee three years after being founded. Today, SurveyMonkey offers end-to-end capabilities for conducting online surveys and analyzing their results. Its survey is used by more than 3 million people every day across the globe.
SurveyMonkey operates on a freemium model. The free version grants access to unlimited number of surveys with 10 questions per survey. Users can also select to pay a fee ranging from $37 a month to $99 a month. The premium subscriptions grant users access to unlimited surveys, unlimited questions per survey, phone and email support, customization capabilities, and advanced data analytics capabilities. Additionally, SurveyMonkey also offers enterprise level plans.
SurveyMonkey may have started out as a survey tool. But over the past few years, it has expanded its offering to include a lot more, especially for its enterprise users. Acquisitions of companies like TechValidate have helped it expand its capabilities within the content marketing space. The service allows organizations to leverage survey results into testimonials that can be used for marketing, social media, and case studies. Its enterprise offering allows businesses to create surveys and collaborate on their results while ensuring data confidentiality.
The company has seen strong revenue growth over the past few years. Revenues were around $28 million in 2009. The management’s keen eye on financials helped it deliver pretax earnings of $25 million in that year. By 2012, revenues had grown to $113 million with pretax earnings of $62 million. In 2016, analysts estimated that it brought in $200 million in revenues with profit margins of 35%.
SurveyMonkey has been venture funded so far. It has raised $1.1 billion in funding from investors including its late CEO Dave Goldberg, Tiger Global Management, Google Capital, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, SunTrust Robinson Humphreys, Bain Capital, T Rowe Price, Social Capital, and Spectrum Equity Investors. It was last valued at $2 billion in 2014 when it raised $250 million in 2014. The market has been looking forward to a public listing. But the company has been delaying its plans for a while. Earlier this week though, it confidentially filed its draft S1 to go public. It filed under the JOBS Act, and will reveal its financials closer to the listing date – expected to be later this year.
More investigation and analysis of Unicorn companies can be found in my latest Entrepreneur Journeys book, Billion Dollar Unicorns.
This segment is a part in the series : Billion Dollar Unicorns
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