5 Questions with SurveyGizmo Co-founder and CEO Christian Vanek

January 29, 2012, Daily Camera, Boulder, CO

Boulder’s SurveyGizmo is a young, fast-growing online survey software company that aims to give business-to-business companies, researchers, non-profit organizations and educational institutions the tools needed to create online surveys, questionnaires and forms.

A privately-owned company, SurveyGizmo has nearly 150,000 users in more than 60 different countries. The company reached a milestone this past year, as a total of 200 million surveys were completed through their software. In 2012, the firm looks to double its office space by March and add 20 to 30 new employees.

The Camera recently caught up with SurveyGizmo co-founder and CEO Christian Vanek and talked with him about his company’s history, current services and what the future holds.

The interview below has been edited for clarity and space purposes.

1. What is the backstory of SurveyGizmo?

SurveyGizmo is a bootstrapped startup in every sense. The co-founder and I began SurveyGizmo in 2006 without investment capital or employees — both of us kept our day jobs full time that first year. The idea for SurveyGizmo came from our consulting clients who expressed the need for an affordable survey product that had all of the features that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

For about three months we worked very closely with 10 or so interested customers — they told us which features to build and how they worked. To thank them, they received free lifetime use of the software (most of whom still use the product today).

This approach was very different from the first company I started, where I built a software product without customer input based on my own designs. The evangelistic believe that working closely with customers is really what started SurveyGizmo growing. Today nothing is more important to our product design process than the input we get from customers — we’ve built some strong relationships with customers and they’re helping us succeed because they feel a sense of ownership in the product.

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