Silicon Valley-based questionnaire platform SurveyMonkey is coming to Australia, cherry-picking Sydney for its Asia-Pacific headquarters which will open later this year.
Since company CEO Dave Goldberg took on the top job in 2009, SurveyMonkey has been chasing international expansion. It has grown from a team of about 12 to almost 300 people, acquiring a number of startups along the way and announcing its new London office before Christmas, all in the space of five years.
“Since I’ve joined what I’ve really tried to do is capitalise on the things that make SurveyMonkey successful to date,” Goldberg said, pointing to the the ways the tech company makes the collection and analysis of data easier and more accessible.
“It looks like we’ve grown a lot, and we have but we try to have measured growth, we try not to just grow at what ever rate we can, we try to grow in a way that makes sense for the business.”
And what makes sense for the business right now, Goldberg says, is the move into Australia which is being driven by huge demand from the local market as well as the ability to service Asia from Sydney.
While the company doesn’t have office space in the Harbour City yet, it is actively recruiting staff, and will fill 25 positions over the next three to four months with sales, marketing and customer service roles all up for grabs.
“What’s new for us now is we’re hiring sales people for the first time. That’s a new thing so we’re going slowly at it. We’re not going to hire a hundred sales people this year. We could, we could afford it, we make good money, we have plenty of cash but we’re going to try and take it slow and figure it out before we ramp it up.
“We want to prove things out before we go too fast.”
SurveyMonkey already works in 15 different languages and accepts 50 different currencies but Australia has been flagged as a strong growth market.
“Australia’s actually our best market on a per capita basis. It’s our third largest market overall after the US and the Uk so it’s bigger than Canada for us,” Goldberg said.
“It’s even better then the US on a per capita basis. One in ten Australians take a SurveyMonkey survey every month.”
Australia’s data-hungry businesses will also be the first outside the US to access the company’s full product suite including SurveyMonkey Audience which was built by a team from Precision Polling, a Seattle company that SurveyMonkey acquired. The Audience tool enables people to buy responses from a pool of several million people from around the world to answer questionnaires and provide feedback.
“The way our SurveyMonkey Audience product works is we recruit people from the backs of all our regular surveys to take these surveys and we ask them to take additional surveys for charity,” he said.
“That requires us to have a large base of users to begin with so you can imagine we will do it in other markets. We thought Australia was good because we have such a large base here on a per capita basis and there wasn’t really any good alternatives for people to be able to buy respondents from.”
Goldberg said we can expect more product extensions like this one from the company in the future.
“Like SurveyMonkey Audience and Enterprise, you’ll see more of those from us,” he said. “We want to help people make better decisions with data and so that means moving from being just a tool and we’re already broader surveys.”
He says the ultimate goal is to be an integrated data platform, combining various tools with data sources like audience or social media analytics, as well as email marketing and customer support tools.
“It’s happening now and there’s a lot more of it,” Goldberg said. “We are big data, we collect a lot of data. We get over 75 million surveys each month right now on a global basis.”
Specifically SurveyMonkey wants to bring implicit and explicit data together and is developing a few API integrations to realise this goal.
“Implicit is data captured while you’re doing things explicit is ‘you tell us stuff’,” he explained.
“We’re explicit data at scale, if you will. We think both are valuable, we think implicit gets to see a large number of people and what they’re doing but you don’t know why.
“I think we just have a lot of work to do to integrate with other providers and other companies to be that sort of explicit way of collecting data in lots of different places.
“It would make sense for us to be integrated with CRM tools, HR tools and all sorts of things.”
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