Inside SurveyMonkey’s new Ottawa urban jungle

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A peek inside SurveyMonkey’s new offices, including unique event and lounge spaces, at 200 Laurier Ave. W. All photos by Mark Holleron.

Four years after first coming to Ottawa, Silicon Valley tech giant SurveyMonkey has found a long-term home for its “HQ2.”

Earlier this year the San Mateo-based survey software firm moved into its new downtown offices at 200 Laurier Ave. W. The firm’s 150-plus employees have four floors and more than 40,000 square feet of space to monkey around in, including a first-floor gathering space for all-hands meetings and events.

Accents of purple, blue and green dominate the walls, which also feature inspirational quotes from the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Dave Goldberg, SurveyMonkey’s late former CEO. Though the hallmarks of a modern tech office are all there, the space also includes a departure in the form of a quiet reading space where employees have formed a modest, communal library.

“It’s smart, it’s playful, it’s curious,” SurveyMonkey CEO Zander Lurie told OBJ during a recent visit to Ottawa.

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True to its nature, SurveyMonkey used its own application to survey Ottawa employees on what they’d like to see in the new office, from Canada-themed boardroom names to the gaming console of choice for the games room.

The democratic design was an approach the firm also took in shaping its San Mateo headquarters, and Lurie extolled the benefits of giving employees a hand in the process.

“When you ask people questions, you give them an opportunity to respond. They have more ownership, they feel more accountable, they feel invested and they feel heard,” he said.

“People really want to feel like they're in a safe and warm environment where they can collaborate, where they can grow.”

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Growth remains in the cards for SurveyMonkey’s local operations, which began in 2014 with the acquisition of Ottawa’s Fluidware, then an outfit of around 90 people. Lurie says that buying Fluidware and tapping into the capital’s talent market had set the “linchpin” of SurveyMonkey’s enterprise strategy.

Following the acquisition, Fluidware’s base product became SurveyMonkey Apply, a tool used to help companies sort through applications. Furthering the local ties, the company also counts the University of Ottawa among its enterprise customers.

Lurie said the 750-person firm is growing its Ottawa offices the most quickly, calling its Canadian home an “HQ2” of sorts. He noted it’s adding talent across all divisions of the company but especially on the technical side to build out the enterprise products.

SurveyMonkey wouldn’t say exactly how long it’s holding on to the space, but confirmed that it’s a “long-term” lease with room for expansion on two adjacent floors.

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