SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg unexpectedly passed away late Friday night due to head trauma from an exercise accident in Mexico. Goldberg was not just one of the most popular CEOs in the Silicon Valley, but he was also one of the most successful. Goldberg was married to Facebook (FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg and was just 47 years old at his time of passing.
For those who don’t know, SurveyMonkey is an outrageously successful online questionnaire service that allows users to subscribe as monthly or annual members for rates of up to $780 per year. As of May 2015, SurveyMonkey has over 20 million customers. More impressively, the company has raised $1.2 billion in capital (via four rounds of VC, private equity, debt, and financial funding).
SurveyMonkey was founded in 1999 in Portland, Oregon. Goldberg took control as CEO in 2009 and moved its headquarters to Palo Alto, California (the epicenter of venture capitalism). Since Goldberg took the helm, SurveyMonkey’s popularity has exploded. As recently as December 2014, SurveyMonkey was valued at $2 billion and raised $250 million in VC funding (which partly comprises the $1.2 billion raised to date).
Goldberg had big plans for SurveyMonkey and believed it had a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on its formidable market share. Goldberg claimed that SurveyMonkey is “used by every Fortune 500 Company,” and that “there are more opportunities for us to sell directly to [even more] companies.” SurveyMonkey hopes to spend its new funding on mergers and acquisitions, thereby further distancing the company from its competitors.
Before his death, Goldberg acknowledged the potential for an IPO, but believed it wasn’t needed for the near future. The additional $250 million in private funding will enable SurveyMonkey to thrive without issuing public stock, an act that can prove quite devastating if not properly overseen.