From the Wires
SurveyMonkey Raises $800 Million in Debt and Equity Recapitalization
By: Business Wire
Jan. 17, 2013 10:00 AM
SurveyMonkey (“the Company”), the privately-held global leader in web-based survey solutions, today announced it has initiated an $800 million debt and equity recapitalization, led by CEO Dave Goldberg and Tiger Global Management, LLC, at a valuation of approximately $1.35 billion. Google Inc. is also becoming a new shareholder. The combined transaction represents one of the largest capital raises by a privately-held US internet company.
The recapitalization will consist of two stages. In the first step of the transaction, existing early investors in the Company sold approximately $444 million in equity to a group of new and existing shareholders. The equity sale closed in late December. To complete the recapitalization, SurveyMonkey expects to raise an additional $350 million in debt financing. The proceeds from the debt will be used to buy shares from employees and shareholders as well as retire the Company’s existing debt.
A number of factors have enabled the Company to remain privately held while pursuing a recapitalization of this size. These factors include: a strong, profitable business model that generates significant free cash flow; favorable credit markets; and institutional investors who are increasingly looking for growth opportunities in privately-held technology companies.
“This transaction affords us all of the capital benefits of a public offering without the costs and distractions of an IPO and the demands of operating as a public company,” said Dave Goldberg, SurveyMonkey CEO, who has significantly increased his ownership in the Company as part of this transaction. “Given SurveyMonkey’s momentum and growth profile, this transaction is an optimal way to reward employees and longtime shareholders with meaningful liquidity while also providing opportunities for Tiger Global, Google Inc. and other new investors who are drawn to our strong business model.”
Upon the closing of the transaction, Lee Fixel, Partner at Tiger Global, will join SurveyMonkey’s Board of Directors. David Lawee of Google Inc. will also join the Board as an observer.
“SurveyMonkey has established itself as the global leader in the online survey industry, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to increase our ownership in the company,” said Lee Fixel. “The Company is uniquely positioned for persistent growth both domestically and abroad, and I look forward to joining the Board as we continue to create shareholder value in the years ahead.”
“SurveyMonkey has experienced tremendous growth since we led a recapitalization of the Company in 2009. We are pleased that this transaction enables us to realize a compelling return on our investment today and allows us to participate in the Company’s further growth as a significant continuing shareholder," said Ben Spero, Managing Director at Spectrum Equity.
SurveyMonkey created the online survey tool market. Profitable since its inception in 1999, SurveyMonkey changed the traditional survey and market research industries by introducing its web-based platform, which flourished virally with no traditional marketing spending.
In 2009, an investor group led by Spectrum Equity Investors acquired the Company and appointed Dave Goldberg CEO. At the time, SurveyMonkey had 2.5 million free users and about 20 million unique monthly visitors to its website. Over the past four years, the Company has made a series of strategic investments and greatly expanded its international offerings.
Today, SurveyMonkey is the market leader with over 14 million free users, 360,000 paid customers and 65 million monthly visitors to its website. Having pioneered and perfected the high-margin freemium business model to achieve scale, the Company now sits squarely at the intersection of several key technology trends including cloud-based software-as-a-service, data analytics and the consumerization of enterprise software.
ICONIQ Capital, Social+Capital Partnership and Laurel Crown Partners have also become new equity holders in the Company. JP Morgan is leading a syndicate providing the debt financing. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and SunTrust Bank are also participating in the debt financing.
SurveyMonkey is the world's largest survey company, with over 1 million survey responses every day. SurveyMonkey has revolutionized the way people give and take feedback, making it accessible, easy and affordable for everyone. The company was founded in 1999 with a focus on helping people make better decisions, and has built technology based on over 10 years of experience in survey methodology and web development. Customers include 99% of the Fortune 500, academic institutions, organizations and neighborhood soccer leagues everywhere.
The company has over 200 employees throughout the United States and Portugal, with headquarters in Palo Alto, CA. For more information, visit www.surveymonkey.com.
About Tiger Global Management, LLC
Tiger Global Management, LLC is an investment firm that deploys capital globally through its private investment and hedge fund partnerships. The firm’s private investment funds have ten-year investment horizons and focus on growth-oriented private companies in the global Internet and technology sectors. Tiger Global’s private investments include Facebook, Linkedin, Square, Yandex, Mail.ru Group, Ctrip, New Oriental, 360buy, Flipkart, Makemytrip, Justdial, Netshoes, Despegar, MercadoLibre, Trendyol, and Eventbrite. The firm’s fundamentally oriented hedge funds invest primarily in public equities with an emphasis on long-term trends in the global technology, telecom, media, and consumer sectors. Tiger Global Management, LLC was founded in 2001 and is based in New York with affiliate offices in Beijing and Singapore.
About Spectrum Equity
Spectrum Equity is a private equity firm focused on investing in innovative growth stage businesses in the information economy. Spectrum has been an active investor in digital media and SaaS businesses including Ancestry.com, Animoto, Demand Media, iPay Technologies (acquired by Jack Henry & Associates), ITA Software (acquired by Google), NetQuote (acquired by Bankrate), RiskMetrics Group (acquired by MSCI), Seamless, Seisint (acquired by LexisNexis/Reed Elsevier), and SurveyMonkey. Founded in 1994 with offices in Boston and Menlo Park, Spectrum has raised $4.7 billion in capital across six funds.
About Google Inc.
Google is a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information. Google’s innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top Internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world.
Google is a trademark of Google Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.
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