SurveyMonkey CEO Zander Lurie Sees Plenty of 'Green Field' to Compete in 'Massive' Market

February 14, 2019

By Chloe Aiello

Despite tumbling shares post-earnings and the loss of a longtime executive, SurveyMonkey CEO Zander Lurie is bullish on the future, saying independence from big tech backing could prove to be an advantage in an increasingly competitive market.

SurveyMonkey ($SVMK) is a subscription software as a service company that offers customizable surveys and a suite of back-end data analytics tools for individuals and enterprises. Its shares have been tumbling since it reported earnings in line with analyst expectations Wednesday evening. Lurie attributed the plunge to the expiration of SurveyMonkey's post IPO lock-up period.

"We had our lockup released today, so a lot of the shareholders who have accumulated stock over the last 19 years finally had a chance to sell it. I think if we deliver on the plan that we laid out for shareholders, our shares will perform just fine," Lurie said.

Concurrently with Wednesday earnings, SurveyMonkey announced that Chief Financial Officer Tim Maly will retire at the end of March.

Lurie told Cheddar he will serve as interim CFO, but is confident the company can absorb Maly's departure.

SurveyMonkey has had a volatile couple of months since its September IPO as it fights to compete in a crowded space with huge competitors like SAP-owned ($SAP)Qualtrics and Google ($GOOGL). But Lurie told Cheddar he sees independence from big technology companies as a strength for SurveyMonkey as it fights for customers.

Lurie noted that Qualtrics is now "owned by SAP, so you can imagine them steering deeper into SAP's customer base."

"That leaves a lot of green field for us to compete, especially for shops that are using Microsoft ($MSFT) software, Salesforce ($CRM) software," he added. "We see a massive category that can support several multi-billion dollar companies."

Distance from big tech companies might also help keep SurveyMonkey far from the data scandals that have plagued them in recent months.

"We have built the biggest canonical data set in the survey category with over 50 billion responses," Lurie said. "That data is our customers' data and we invest significant dollars to protect that data. Our business is really built on people paying for our products." He added that he commends Europe's data protection regulation for "raising the bar" for data security.