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SurveyMonkey changes its name as it expands beyond surveys

June 9, 2021, 12:00 PM UTC

Say goodbye to SurveyMonkey, and say hello to Momentive. 

The Silicon Valley company best known for online survey tools has changed its name to Momentive to highlight to customers and investors that it also sells a range of business software. Still, online surveys remain the core of Momentive’s business, and the company will retain the SurveyMonkey branding for its flagship product, CEO Zander Lurie said.

SurveyMonkey was founded in 1999, and it held an initial public offering in 2018. Like most tech companies that have gone public in recent years, including Dropbox, DocuSign, and Smartsheet, Momentive is unprofitable, but its sales have grown each year.

In 2020, the company’s revenue rose 22% year over year to $376.6 million, while its losses increased 24% to $91.6 million. Since going public, the company’s shares have risen 25% to $20.

Over the years, SurveyMonkey has become one of the leading providers of corporate surveys, used by executives to learn how customers respond to certain products or how employees feel about issues like working from home. Lurie became SurveyMonkey CEO in 2016, following a six-month leadership stint by Bill Veghte, who became the company’s chief after the sudden death of CEO Dave Goldberg in 2015. 

The company’s fiercest rival is Qualtrics, which was acquired by SAP in 2018 and has since spun out and gone public in 2020, with SAP retaining a majority ownership. 

Like Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey has been developing new software and services extending beyond corporate surveys. Lurie describes these new features as tools to help translate employee and customer feedback into product development and business management decisions.

Executives felt that the name SurveyMonkey, while relatively well known, created a misperception that the company was only focused on surveys, and that a new name would better reflect its broader portfolio of software and services.

The new name, Momentive, is “a made-up word” that “symbolizes momentum, adaptability, active, momentous—this moment in time,” Lurie said. Executives spent the past year working with the corporate branding firm Salt to evaluate “hundreds of names” and researching—through surveys, of course—how different constituents responded to various names, he said.

Some of the discarded names included Bellwether, one of Lurie’s favorites from early in the branding process, and Fireclay, a name representing the “idea of being able to mold something,” Lurie said. Regarding Fireclay, management decided that the name might evoke too many negative thoughts of Northern California fires from last summer, he said.

In the end, Momentive was the winner because it matched the company’s perception of its software and influence. 

“If you’re collecting feedback about a product or campaign or pricing strategy or service offer, you’ve got to collect great feedback and make the right call, and we feel like Momentive gives us a big canvas to paint there,” Lurie said. 

The company is also investing heavily in A.I. to help customers analyze the language in corporate surveys to determine their effectiveness or if they contain words that “might be triggering language” for certain groups, Lurie said. A spokesperson added that Momentive’s machine learning team is comprised of 16 employee and is led by four women of color, a contrast from most corporate A.I. groups, which are predominantly led by white men.

As Momentive expands beyond surveys, it will likely face new competition, not just from large business software companies, but also from larger consulting firms. Businesses typically use consultants like McKinsey and Bain to help make business decisions based on data gathered from surveys. 

Some of Momentive’s new products are intended to help clients reduce their reliance on consulting firms.  

“Some people do go off and work with McKinsey or Bain or others with our data,” Lurie said. “And we celebrate that. We don’t try to be everything to all people. But we want to help you with software…[and] get the kind of data you need to take action.”

Lurie characterizes the name change as being “a more exciting day for me than the IPO day by far,” representing “a signal of our ambitions to paint a bigger, bolder strategy.”

“I mean, IPO day was an important milestone, and a quick fun celebration in New York,” Lurie said. “This is a much bolder and strategic move for us to define the category and take a bigger share of it.”

Story updated at June 9, 12:00 PM ET with spokesperson’s comments on Momentive’s A.I. team.

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