This Guy Once Turned Down $500 Million for His Startup...Now It's Worth $2.5 Billion

This Guy Once Turned Down $500 Million for His Startup...Now It's Worth $2.5 Billion

Five years ago, Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith stared at a $500 million acquisition offer for his bootstrapped company doing $50 million in revenue – half a billion dollars! – and he said, "No."

Instead he gambled on himself and his family, taking an investment from a VC who convinced Smith to keep the company and to build it bigger themselves. 

On Wednesday, Smith announced some sweet satisfaction. The company raised a $180 million in its third round of financing that valued Qualtrics at $2.5 billion, 250% more than that offer.

Better still, Qualtrics is now on track to earn $250 million in revenue this year, Smith tells us.

And the value of its company has increased 150% since 2014, when it last raised money ($150 million) and was valued at a $1 billion. Qualtrics has now raised $400 million in total funding, through just three rounds.

The latest round was led by Insight Venture Partners and Accel, with participation from Sequoia Capital.

The Utah-based startup is one of our favorite tech startup growth stories. Back in  2012, when turning down a half a billion dollars, Smith was 33 years old. He had founded the company with his dad, Dr. Scott Smith, a respected professor of marketing at BYU's school of business, in Dr. Smith's basement after Dr. Smith was diagnosed with cancer. He survived. 

Qualtrics offers online market research survey software based on the work of Smith's dad and it had a particularly smart business model. They sold it first to universities, used by students to learn marketing skills. Those students took it with them to companies after they graduated and landed jobs.

Qualtrics still does online surveys, specializing in customer and employee feedback, but has since expanded into big data analysis and counts over 8,500 companies as companies, including a much of the Fortune 100 and many business schools.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/qualtrics-raises-180-million-at-25-billion-valuation-2017-4

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