Public Markets

SurveyMonkey Said To Pursue IPO After Nearly Two Decades In Business

According to Recode, SurveyMonkey is prepping for a 2018 IPO. The report indicates that the firm is currently working to select bankers to help it manage the transaction, a fact that should preclude a short-term debut.

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The potential IPO marks yet another potential unicorn debut in 2018, a year that could see a larger number of public offerings from tech’s biggest (still private) players. Helping to fill out the potential 2018 IPO class are names like Xiaomi, Lyft, Spotify, and Dropbox. (Fair warning: This is not the first time that a year has been expected to come up IPO heavy. Recently preceding years eventually fell flat.)

Other offerings aside, the SurveyMonkey IPO has been a long time coming. The company was founded in 1999, according to Crunchbase, meaning that it has survived at least two pullbacks in the tech industry on its path to the public markets.

Along the waym it has raised a staggering amount of capital. Crunchbase pegs the number at $1.14 billion, inclusive of debt. The firm’s last known round, a $250 million equity investment, came in 2014.

A Fortune article from that period noted that the firm had “revenue of $113 million in 2012.” An interview from 2016 put that figure at “about $200 million in revenue, with EBITDA margins in the mid 30s.” So the firm grew about 70 percent during the period, while putting up profit numbers that many current startups would pine after.

What will the firm be worth at IPO? Its 2014 valuation of $2 billion is now quite dated, but it forms a reasonable starting point. In 2016, at a $200 million revenue result (it isn’t clear if the number is a trailing or a run-rate metric), the firm was worth about 10 times its top line. Presuming growth since then, the firm will be cheaper on a per-dollar revenue basis.

SurveyMonkey has positive EBITDA, which can be a decent Rule of 40 proxy number. That would imply that the firm is perfectly healthy from a growth-profit balance perspective. The $2 billion valuation sounds potentially defensible. However, the market will decide what the company is worth.

And with an IPO on the way, perhaps we’ll know soon enough.

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