Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

SurveyMonkey Launches an Enterprise Version


For years there has been a well-established tradition among certain distinctive tech companies that goes a little like this: A company launches and builds up a successful product or service. People like it so much they start using it at work, even though the corporate IT policy doesn’t officially support it.

Examples that come to mind over the years include the original PalmPilot and, more recently, the cloud file storage service Dropbox. It’s a common enough occurrence now that the tech industry has created a phrase to describe the phenomenon: The consumerization of enterprise IT.

It’s an overused term in recent years, although it’s a rare company that can really claim to have done it effectively.

Here’s one that seems to have done it, but one that you probably wouldn’t necessarily think about in that way: SurveyMonkey. It turns out that SurveyMonkey, a 14-year-old company that specializes in doing Web-based surveys and questionnaires, has never had an enterprise-class product.

Now it does and it is called SurveyMonkey Enterprise, an enterprise-grade version that tracks how everyone in a company has been using it, and aggregates all their account data — including the historical data from past surveys — in one place.

“We have 15 million survey creators and every one of them has signed up as an individual,” CEO Dave Goldberg told me in an interview last week.

There are a lot more reasons for having an enterprise product, said Goldberg, a lot of which has to do with the way that companies like to do things, such as billing. Rather than having individual’s report what they spend on surveys on their monthly expense report, companies now will have a single invoice to pay and IT managers can control who has an account and who doesn’t, as well as terminate those accounts when employees leave. For legal reasons, companies also want to own the data they collect, which is easier to establish when it’s a corporate-created account.

Early customers of the new enterprise service include insurance giant Aetna, Hearst, the New York Giants football team, Yamaha, the National Health Service in the U.K. and Brazil’s TAM Airlines.

It has certainly been a busy year for SurveyMonkey. In January, it raised about $800 million in debt and equity financing at a valuation of about $1.3 billion. More than half of that funding came from Goldberg himself and from the private equity firm Tiger Global Management. Google — the company, not its ventures arm — is also an investor.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik