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15. SurveyMonkey

Question everything

Founder: Ryan Finley
Launched: 1999
Funding: $1.2 billion
Valuation: $2 billion (PitchBook)
Disrupting: Surveys, software
Rival: Gallup, Qualtrics

George Kavallines

SurveyMonkey, the online survey platform, expanded its efforts during the bizarre 2016 presidential election and enabled Americans to voice their opinions on the candidates, issues and everything in between. The company is a veteran among Silicon Valley firms, having been started in 1999 by Ryan Finley, a computer science graduate from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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Today SurveyMonkey is responsible for more than 3 million online survey responses every day and counts nearly all of the Fortune 500 as customers, along with private companies, academic institutions, organizations and individuals. They can put out a survey and gather quick feedback in order to discern opinions and make better decisions. In fact, during the election the company worked with NBC News, TIME and the Washington Post to get a read on what voters were thinking and feeling leading up to November.

The company has not been without its challenges. In May 2015 longtime CEO David Goldberg (husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg) died suddenly. After installing new CEO Zander Lurie in January 2016, he announced several months later that about 13 percent of the workforce was being laid off. The waters are calmer now. The company has been hiring again and now has close to 700 employees. Over the years, it has raised more than $1 billion from investors such as T. Rowe Price, Spectrum and Tiger Global Management and now has a valuation of about $2 billion, according to PitchBook.

With $200 million in annual revenue, there is, not surprisingly, constant speculation about an IPO. Lurie told TechCrunch last year that he's not ruling it out but that it likely won't happen this year.

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