By Lizette Chapman
Big-data company Qualtrics has closed a big round–a $70 million infusion from Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital in the company’s first-ever institutional funding.
The round, which the venture firms say is their largest-ever joint investment, will be used to expand headcount at the Provo, Utah-based company from 200 to 450 during the next year, expand its software-as-a-service products beyond market research and accelerate global growth.
“It took a lot of arm-twisting on our part. They had a ton of options,” said Ryan Sweeney, a general partner at Accel Partners.
Co-founded in 2002 by Scott Smith, his son Ryan Smith and Ryan’s Brigham Young University classmate Stuart Orgill, Qualtrics started as a research tool for academics. By becoming popular in academia–it is now in use in every major university in the U.S.–the company built a loyal following. When students graduated university, entered business schools and began their professional lives, they continued using Qualtrics so they could easily collect, analyze and act on large amounts of unstructured data without programming.
The company, which has been profitable since launching, has more than 4,000 enterprise customers worldwide including Barnes Noble, CVS/Caremark, Geico, Microsoft, Neiman Marcus, Royal Caribbean, Southwest Airlines, Thomson Reuters, Toyota, Vodaphone
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