September 26, 2018 / 3:41 PM / 3 months ago

SurveyMonkey shares soar 56 pct in market debut

Sept 26 (Reuters) - SurveyMonkey's shares rose as much as 56.25 percent in market debut on Wednesday, giving the online survey company a valuation of $2.33 billion.

The company sold 15 million shares at $12 a piece, higher than its expected price range. It raised $180 million in net proceeds, which is likely to be used to draw down debt. It had initially planned to sell 13.5 million shares.

Its shares opened at $18.75 and by 1516 GMT touched a high of $19.88.

SurveyMonkey's top shareholders include U.S. hedge fund Tiger Global, which will hold 25.1 percent stake after the offering, and Facebook Inc's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, who will own 8.5 percent.

Sandberg had recently said she would donate her SurveyMonkey stocks to a charity she started with her late husband, Dave Goldberg, who was the CEO in the company from 2009, until his death in 2015.

Founded in 1999, SurveyMonkey provides survey software products to measure feedback and the platform is used by about 3 million people daily.

While its basic, survey-taking offering is free, it has a paid version which gives users access to an unlimited number of surveys, advanced analytics, team collaboration capabilities and 24/7 support.

The company said it has around 600,000 paying members, as of June 30. Around 16 million active users are engaged with SurveyMonkey's product, Chief Executive Officer Zander Lurie told CNBC in an interview on Wednesday.

It reported revenue of $121.2 million for the first six months of 2018, up 14 percent from a year earlier. Net loss, however, widened to $27.2 million from $19.1 million in the same period - a concern for many industry experts who take the absence of profit to mean lack of substantial growth.

The company said it has incurred net losses every year since its incorporation in 2011.

However, investors took heart from Salesforce.com Inc's venture capital arm Salesforce Ventures' decision to buy $40 million of SurveyMonkey's stock in a private placement at a price equal to the IPO price.

SurveyMonkey said 98 percent of the Fortune 500 companies use its platform. Its top clients include Netflix, Johnson & Johnson, and Box. Its biggest competitors are Google's "forms" service, Qualtrics, and Medallia.

Reporting By Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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