SurveyMonkey Expands Business Into Paid Analytic Services

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This story originally appeared on Reuters

Online polling company , one of the United States’ most richly valued venture-backed firms, launched a new tool on Thursday to help companies better understand their customers.

The tool, known as Benchmark, aims to bolster the fee-based, rather than the free part of SurveyMonkey’s , helping it justify the $2 billion valuation it commanded when it raised $250 million in funding in December.

"The way to think about this is SurveyMonkey democratized the way people collect data," Chief Executive Dave Goldberg said in an interview on Monday. "The next step is democratizing comparative data."

Organizations are increasingly relying on ever more intricate slicing and dicing of data, much of it generated by social media and the growing digitization of communication. Call it "Big Data," although some data scientists say that term covers only the largest data sets.

Goldberg aims to allow organizations to compare metrics such as website feedback and employee engagement with other similar organizations. Fees vary depending on the granularity of the requested data.

Some very basic information comes free, but most pricing starts at $799, SurveyMonkey said, adding it believed that pricetag sharply undercut current market prices.

Competitors vary according to the sector, but include Foresee for website satisfaction and Press Ganey for patient satisfaction.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based SurveyMonkey’s existing core business allows organizations to quickly set up online surveys. Most are free, but the company does charge fees for advanced features, such as downloading results.

Benchmark has been in a trial phase for several months, with customers including Hallmark Cards, Jive Software, and Next Day Blinds.

(Reporting by Sarah McBride; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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