SurveyMonkey CEO talks new Ottawa office and company’s year of growth

Online survey and cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) company SurveyMonkey has officially opened its new office space in Ottawa, and its helping ring in a new era for the company as it moves into the world of enterprise data services.

SurveyMonkey CEO Zander Lurie dropped by the capital city to celebrate to new office and also took the time to speak with about what the new space means to the company’s Canadian operations and how its plans to become the number-one provider of “people-powered data” is going.

Zander Lurie, CEO and board member of SurveyMonkey

“Ottawa is the centre of all things growth for SurveyMonkey,” says Lurie, calling it the company’s “eastern headquarters” and noting that the Ottawa-based team runs all Canadian operations as well as part of the eastern United States.

SurveyMonkey first entered the Ottawa tech space in 2014 with the acquisition of Fluidware, a home-grown online survey provider and application tool. Since then the Ottawa team has grown from 75 Fluidware staff to over 150 SurveyMonkey employees currently working in the new office space. It houses much of the company’s engineering team but Lurie says Canadian operations have grown and is now home to a full suite of marketing, sales, design and legal teams.

Employees started moving into the new office in August, it takes up over six floors in downtown Ottawa and covers 40,167 square feet.

SurveyMonkey’s new Ottawa office, downtown on Laurier Avenue West. Source; SurveyMonkey

The space offers game and activity rooms, a training floor and design centre as well as a library, board rooms and HR interview rooms as well.

The Game Room has a pool table, foosball table and ping pong table. Source: SurveyMonkey
“The overall goal for the new office was to keep the open concept and activities that the team has come to enjoy, but include important facilities such as a formal reception area, dedicated training room and activity area, as well as larger meeting rooms.” Source: SurveyMonkey

Similarly to when it built its San Mateo, California headquarters, SurveyMonkey included its employees in the design of the new office, taking their feedback into account and making sure the space offered amenities that are important to them.

The first-floor café will have a barn door that opens to the patio, which should be ready by next summer. Source: SurveyMonkey

Lurie says this is an important part of the company’s culture and that SurveyMonkey is invested in creating a positive culture that rewards belonging and enables people to be themselves; and getting employee feedback on the project is exactly what the company is best at, reaching out to people and collecting data.

It’s strong background in collecting people data is one reason the company decided to re-brand last year and launch four new and redesigned services to enter the world of enterprise data. spoke with SurveyMonkey president Tom Hale last year about the SurveyMonkey Audience, CX, Engage and Apply tools that are meant to help companies better interact with customers and use the data collected.

Lurie says the idea is to use the data SurveyMonkey collects, much of which is operational data, to enable companies to drive success centred around “the voice of the customer.” It’s not about offering a whole new platform he argues, but integrating with existing platforms to help user get more personalized feedback about customer or employee wants and needs, pointing to SurveyMonkey integrations with Salesforce and Workplace by Facebook as key examples.

SurveyMonkey’s past year has been an an interesting one, in September the company went public on the NASDAQ stock market, selling its IPO above its expected price range according to a New York Times report.

In addition to its re-branding last year: the company also started using artificial intelligence with SurveyMonkey Genius to help users develop intelligent surveys, it built a new Canadian data centre, and grew its Ottawa team from around 100 employees to over 150 that currently occupy the new office space.

The new office space is a visual representation of the last year’s re-branding, with a new mission to “power curiosity.” Factoid plaques are apparently scattered around the office to the library room and the bright colours correlate with the brands personality, said a SurveyMonkey spokesperson.

“The in-house Brand Experience team researched and brainstormed to find ways to express curiosity, as well as the tenets of our values and culture in our new rooms, walls and hallways.” Source: SurveyMonkey
The library room. Source: SurveyMonkey

Lurie says developing the space and listening to employee feedback shows the core values of what SurveyMonkey is all about. The office and mission represent the company’s goal to be as diverse and inclusive as possible, he says, noting that the lighting, colours, and even names on rooms play an important role in making sure that employees want to spend time there, enjoy and be curious about the work they do.

“Curious people are the ones who want to learn and grow, they challenge others and like to be challenged and that’s how you grow as individuals and as a brand.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Meagan Simpson
Meagan Simpson
Meagan Simpson is a staff writer for IT World Canada. A graduate of Carleton University’s journalism program, she loves sports, travelling, reading and photography, and when not covering tech news she can be found cuddled up on the couch with her cat and a good book.

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