Deal Watch: SurveyMonkey keeps mum on acquisition

Deal Watch: SurveyMonkey keeps mum on acquisition

By Jon Bell

DealWatchsurveyThis much we know for sure about the April acquisition of Portland’s SurveyMonkey:

A private investment group, led by Spectrum Equity Investors, acquired a majority interest in the 10-year-old online survey company.

The investors appointed David Goldberg, former head of Yahoo’s music business, as the new CEO. He replaces Ryan Finley, who founded SurveyMonkey with his brother, Chris, in 1999 with a $10,000 investment from their parents.

And under the new management, SurveyMonkey will open a new office in Menlo Park, Calif.

Beyond that, neither SurveyMonkey nor the investors are saying much.

Despite word that the Finley brothers will stay with the 20-employee company in Portland, some think SurveyMonkey will shift its focus — and its growth — to Silicon Valley.

“I am sure the locus of power will move to Menlo Park,” says Jack Raiton, a professor in the Division of Management at OHSU and a former executive at both Planar Systems and Tektronix. “The 20-minute rule in venture capital says that VCs do not like to invest in companies that are more than 20 minutes away.”

Raiton thinks it’s impressive that SurveyMonkey, which reportedly had revenues of $5 million in 2007, was able to land any funding at all in the current investment climate, let alone from a prominent group of VCs. However, the company’s valuation is likely not sky high, so the investors probably got a good deal.

“The equity partnership is likely betting that SurveyMonkey will be vastly more valuable once the market recovers and are buying it cheap now in order to sell it at a strong profit in the future,” says Rob Enderle, a technology analyst in San Jose, Calif.

That said, Enderle notes that Spectrum has one of the better reputations in the venture business.

“Which actually bodes well for this effort,” he says.

List researched by Jon Bell
$2.7M Crow Apartments (Portland) Raven Apts. (Portland)/Raven Apts. (Portland) 4/9
$1.5M Maria's Properties (Vancouver) Ferryman office complex (Vancouver) 4/6
$1.4M Ralph and Susan Coan and Trust 8,000 sq. ft./office (Tigard)/J.T. Roth Jr. and Theresa Roth 4/6
$1.2M Carole Zoom (Portland) 9,700 sq. ft./commercial (Portland) Condon Family LP (Portland) 4/8
$1.1M ABM Properties (Newberg) Mt. View Duplex Homes/Donald K. Saxton estate (Beaverton) 4/6
$1M Patrick and Dylan Murphy (Clackamas) 5,000 sq. ft./office, shop (Clackamas)/Jerry Jennings 4/6
$855,000 RH3 Enterprises (Portland) 15,000 sq. ft./office, distribution space (Vancouver)/Paul Anderson 4/28
$825,000 Tim Calhoun (Portland) 12 units at Crossroad Village Apartments (Portland)/BHB Pasadena (Portland) 4/8
$325,000 William and Traci Sundby (WA) 2,700 sq. ft./industrial (Portland)/BFH Investments (Portland) 4/6

$382M (stimulus education funds) State of Oregon Federal government 4/23
$300M (bond sale) Portland General Electric (Portland)/Jim Piro Private investors 4/14
$75M (transportation funds) Portland Streetcar U.S. Dept. of Transportation 4/30
$61M (liquidation sale) Joe's Sports & Outdoors(Wilsonville)/Hal Smith Gordon Brothers Group (MA) 4/9
$28.5M (stimulus funds) Oregon DHS' Drinking Water Program U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 4/9
$26.1M (sewer interceptor project) Advanced American Construction (Portland)/Dee Burch City of Lake Oswego 4/9
$13.9M (roadwork contract) Oregon Mainline Paving (McMinnville)/Michael J. Flanigan ODOT 4/2
$11.3M (stimulus transportation funds) Salem-Keizer Area Transportation Study Federal government 4/22
$8.8M (series B funding) SignaCert (Portland)/Wyatt Harnes Intel Capital (CA), Smart Forest Ventures (Portland), et al 4/15
$3M (alternative energy research grant) Oregon State University (Corvallis)/Edward Ray U.S. Dept. of Energy 4/29
$3.2M (roadwork contract) M.J. Hughes Construction (Gresham)/Michael Hughes ODOT 4/2
$2.2M (stimulus transportation funds) City of Albany Federal government 4/23
$1.8M (food contracts) Food Services of America (Woodburn)/Randy Irvine U.S. Army 4/9
$1M (stimulus road funds) City of Milwaukie ODOT 4/7
$658,000 (research award) Oregon State University/Edward Ray U.S. Air Force 4/17
$450,000 (fresh produce order) Columbia Fruit and Produce (Astoria)/Arnold Johnson Oregon Army National Guard 4/15
$289,000 (timber thinning) Patrick Environmental (Redmond)/Rick Dice USDA Forest Service 4/6
$289,000 (road-oiling contract) TFT Construction (Scappoose)/Thomas Fischer Cowlitz County, WA 4/16
$200,000 (research award) Galois (Beaverton)/John Launchbury NASA 4/14
$136,000 (parts order) Landa Northwest/Von Freeman Oregon Army National Guard 4/16

$39M Pending Image Holdings (Salem) InFocus (Wilsonville) 4/14
ND Q2 (WA) Lexcycle (Portland and TX) 4/29
ND Q2 iCooper (WA) Ininet Systems (Lake Oswego) 4/8
ND Q2 Spectrum Equity and Bain Capital Ventures (CA , MA) SurveyMonkey (Portland) 4/20