Not many are going to object to this statement. Surveys were nothing but routine questions, set in boring formats, that people attempted only for the sake of it. Like in all industries, the survey industry too was ruled by some age-old giants, set in their traditional ways. The plain, dull forms were thought to be the best that surveys can ever be. None knew there was a better way, until the October of 2017.

The Inception

When Shihab Mohammed, a young engineer who was the 3rd employee of Freshworks, got the third survey reminder from his HR, he started thinking about why people metaphorically press the snooze button or even run away from the idea of filling up a survey. We’ve all done it. The unopened, uncompleted, thoughtlessly-filled surveys in our inbox stand proof.

But why? Surveys help you improve your customer interactions, what they liked & what they didn’t. It tells you how confident your employee is, what needs to be done, and how much has to be done. Surveys help you collect ideas & future predictions to design your product’s right roadmap. Without feedback, none survives.

That’s when it hit. Surveys are not boring, it’s the people who are doing it wrong!
And thus, SurveySparrow started in October 2017.

When entering the industry, Shihab was clear about the initial challenges that he had to hackle. The existing survey forms were neither engaging nor had a device-agnostic UI. He & his initial team with no further adieu started working. Taking inspiration from Whatsapp chat UI, the world’s first chat surveys were born.

Playing the cards right.

Shihab had now two competitive strengths. Firstly, his prior experience in Freshworks, where he independently launched & developed Freshdesk, his brainchild. The decade-long career he had before gave him domain expertise and a deeper understanding of the market & its trends. Secondly, Shihab wanted Kochi to be the operational headquarters. This gave him a cost arbitrage relative to SurveySparrow’s competitors, whose staffing costs were multiples higher. Shihab managed to attract the industry’s best minds to join his venture and created an opportunity for the talents who had to migrate, looking for global exposure to come back home. Securing a seed funding of $1.4 million, SurveySparrow moved to their current office at Infopark Kochi and expanded their team size significantly.

Product to Platform – The Transformation

Debuted as the world’s first chat survey that hosted a conversation UI, SurveySparrow initially focused on horizontal growth. The team managed to feature every kind of survey, forms, polls, quizzes and more. The conversational surveys proved to be more engaging & collect 40% more responses. Recognizing a substantial untapped opportunity of growth, Shihab turned the wheel towards product expansion. His aim was to make SurveySparrow a complete solution for end-to-end experience needs, rather than limiting it to just surveys.

They started by introducing a dedicated NPS platform & inbuilt 360-degree assessments. Integrations like Zapier, Intercom, Slack, Microsoft Teams unified multiple functionalities,& tasks under one roof. Along with these, SurveySparrow brought forward many breakthroughs regarding automations, & in-depth report generation.

As the company is walking towards the three-year mark, SurveySparrow has outgrown the survey industry & have entered the experience industry. With an explosive growth rate of 329% even amidst COVID, SurveySparrow has more than 50,000 customers in 149 countries.

Badges of Honour

Outpacing every competitor in the sphere, SurveySparrow is now globally trending as Momentum Leader in the G2 crowd. Recognized under its Best Survey Software category, SurveySparrow has a rating of 4.5 & up across every SaaS review site including Gartner, & Software Advice. Shihab Mohammed has been recognized as the Entrepreneur of the Year 2019, while SurveySparrow won the Startup of the Year 2019, of KMA NASSCOM. The company managed to bag many such reputed awards, & ended the year 2020 with Red Herring Top 100 North America.

SurveySparrow also has enjoyed extensive media coverage via The Hindu, Forbes India, Asianet, & more media houses, owing to the explosive growth that the company went through.

The Road ahead

Started as a survey tool that helps you create engaging surveys & collect 40% more responses, SurveySparrow has now become a robust platform that offers independent end-to-end experience solutions. To identify & refine more experiences, across all touchpoints is the ultimate aim of SurveySparrow. The next step for SurveySparrow would be to grow & expand into a multi-product conglomerate that offers dedicated & complete suites of enterprise experience solutions. To hold the pioneership in the Experience industry, rather than being a part of it is SurveySparrow’s aim.

Being someone who had to migrate to Chennai, Shihab is well-aware of the huge talent drain that the state has to endure of the lack of global SaaS opportunities. Many times, the same has encouraged Malayali entrepreneurs to establish their ventures as well outside Kerala.
Hence, to be the first unicorn company out of Kerala, and to place the state in the global SaaS map is definitely what drives Shihab’s dream.