SurveyMonkey Is Going Big On Australia And Says Melbourne Is Just Like Silicon Valley

With three new recruits, including two ex-Googlers, and a goal to raise $125,000 for Australian charities in just 18 months, SurveyMonkey has hit the Australian market with full force.

Head of product development Brent Chudoba was in Australia last week ahead of the launch of SurveyMonkey’s newest product offerings Audience and Contribute, which went to market earlier in the week.

While the business has been operating in Australia for over 10 years, servicing more than 20,000 paying customers with subscription plans through its premium service, Australia will receive a full sweep of the research and polling company’s products ahead of other competitive markets such as Canada and the UK.

SurveyMonkey allows individuals to create free online surveys but also has a range of products for the large and small businesses wanting to increase brand awareness, test concepts or pricing or develop competitive research.

Last year SurveyMonkey’s worth increased to US$1.35 billion after raising $US800 million from Google when it came on board as a shareholder.

Along with marketers, agencies and professional services set to reap the most benefit from SurveyMonkey’s services, Chudoba says Australian charities will also win with hopes to raise $125,000 within the first 18 months of the products launch.

At the end of taking a survey with SurveyMonkey, respondents will be given the chance to donate 50 cents to a charity if they take one more additional survey. Chudoba hopes the new strategy will mean more surveys are complete and more money goes to charities – everybody wins.

“Contribute is our consumer offering where we recruit people to take surveys. So we ask people at the end of Survey Monkey customer surveys,” which he says can be anywhere between 2 or 3 million people a day, “if they would like to take another survey for charity.”

“Because we’ve got such an active group of respondents – they’re taking surveys to provide feedback will shape marketing decisions [and…] what they’re doing feels good,” he says. “It takes a couple minutes of their time and a small donation will go to help their community.”

The Australian charities involved in the program so far are Royal Flying Doctors and Mission Australia, but Chudoba said he is also hoping to get The Red Cross on board.

Eyes on a blossoming market

The products have been launched on the Australian market, ahead of Canada and the UK, because of the “blossoming tech scene,” in particular the internet and software space says Chudoba.

After a visit to Melbourne, Chudoba likened the vibe similar to “as when you’re in San Francisco or Silicon Valley” with the number of successful internet companies being developed. He said if an overseas company can be successful in the Australian market, then you’re almost guaranteed to be successful in Asia also.

“Australia is a nice bridge into Asia. If you can get your market working here, then there’s an even bigger opportunity to break into South East Asia. There is a lot of leadership and talent in Australia.”

Helping to make the transition are ex-Googlers Alexandre Lamvohee and Simon Capel, as well as Richard Taylor. As the first three Australian employees of Survey Monkey in Australia, the trio have just returned from a two week training program at the SurveyMonkey head office at Palo Alto in San Francisco’s bay area.

With big plans to flourish, and fast, Chudoba says the business hopes to have 30 people employed in the Sydney office by next year.

He also said he expects people to take to the new services quickly because it can give small businesses a competitive edge in the marketplace.

“There isn’t the deep expertise in marketing, advertising, consulting and financial advisory [in small businesses]… so our product is the perfect tool for them to win client business,” he said. “To go show [clients] and say, ‘hey this is real data, survey work we’re conducting in the field to understand your market.’

He said larger enterprises also stand to benefit from its tools.

“Tech companies like Spotify use SurveyMonkey when they launch into new geographical markets and they want to talk to customers and find out what kind of music they’re listening to, find out if they use iTunes, Rhapsody or do they use CDs, or are they aware of Spotify?”

SurveyMonkey currently is the largest survey provider in Australia with “more people creating surveys than any other company, and probably all other survey tools companies combined” in the country, says Chudoba.

“Our decision has been fully validated by how friendly everyone is,” he said and plans to make Australia one of the company’s most successful markets yet.

The CEO of SurveyMonkey Dave Goldberg, who is married to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, also recently made the trip to Australia in May for the official opening of the Sydney office.

During his time in the country he even paid a visit to the communications minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office and tweeted a photo of the pair together.

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