The IPO game is rolling well for SurveyMonkey, which just raised far more in its debut than it previously expected.
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SurveyMonkey, founded in 1999, has had a long road to the public markets. It raised $1.1 billion during its life as a private company in a combination of debt and equity. Its most recent infusion came in 2014 when a private equity round injected $250 million more. That was only its third-largest infusion.
Crunchbase’s first recorded investment into SurveyMonkey came in 2009, meaning that those investors have been waiting for a return for some time.
That lengthy path to liquidity at scale must make its recent moves all the sweeter. The San Mateo-based company managed to both price its IPO above its expected range, and sell more shares than anticipated during the process.
That means more money twice, as the firm sold more units at a higher per-unit price. How much more? It depends on how you count. The Nasdaq-listed SurveyMonkey had a prior, expected IPO price range of $9 to $11 per share. And it wanted to sell 13.5 million shares.
At its final $12 per-share price and 15 million share bloc ($180 million, all told), here’s the math:
- Compared to $9 per share and 13.5 million shares, SurveyMonkey raised $58.5 million more than expected;
- Compared to $10 per share and 13.5 million shares, SurveyMonkey raised $45 million more than expected;
- Compared to $11 per share and 13.5 million shares, SurveyMonkey raised $31.5 more than expected.
Normally here I would make a joke that, due to SurveyMonkey’s persistent and rising GAAP (all costs counted) losses, it’s good that the firm raised more money than expected. However, the firm has a long history of operating cash flow positivity, and in 2017 and the first half of 2018 it had free cashflow in the green as well.
So it’s doing fine, even if it leaks buckets of net income. Which leads us to the lesson from today’s news. SurveyMonkey is only so impressive as a company: it loses money, having grown only 13.8 percent from H1’17 to H1’18, and so forth. Thus the market enthusiasm for its shares that we’ve seen tells us quite a lot about the state of the public markets. And I’m not sure how much of what we’re being told is good.
Top Image Credit: Li-Anne Dias.