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Ten years after launching Qualtrics from their family home in Provo, Utah, Scott Smith and his sons, Ryan and Jared, began thinking about venture funding. The company had impressive profits, so raising outside money wasn’t an obvious next step, but Ryan had big ambitions.

If they were considering VCs, Jared insisted they talk to Bryan at Sequoia.

Bryan Schreier
Sequoia Capital

Jared and I worked together at Google, and we’d stayed in touch. He left to work on the “family business,” which he described very modestly. I was shocked when I finally saw the numbers. They were generating $30 million in revenue and doubling each year.

Jared Smith
Co-Founder, Qualtrics

I wasn’t trying to be humble. Compared to Google, it seemed like small potatoes. But Bryan made it clear that Sequoia recognized that Qualtrics had a massive market opportunity.

Ryan Smith
Co-Founder & CEO, Qualtrics

We needed people on our board who could help us build Qualtrics into a billion-dollar company—but also let us do it our way. The night before I met with Michael Moritz, I had a nightmare that we had to move Qualtrics to the Bay Area. Thankfully, Michael was convinced we could build it in Utah. That was huge.

Jared Smith

We’ve bet on Sequoia, so we expect a lot from them, and we listen carefully. They have consistently been able to look around the corner and tell us we’re in trouble before we realize it ourselves.

Bryan Schreier

Maintaining that rate of growth is incredibly difficult as the numbers get bigger. We encouraged them to get ahead of deceleration by investing heavily in enterprise and international.

Ryan Smith

I was scared to death. Running a business is kind of like driving a boat. It might look fast and shiny from the shore—but out on the water, you’re down a motor and getting thrashed by waves. That’s what it was like when we first went international. At times like those, you need a partner who is in the boat, not on the shore. Bryan was always right there with us.

Bryan Schreier

New business areas do not mature overnight. In fact they often take more than a year to have the desired impact. We had to lock arms and commit as a team. They never said it, but I could tell that Ryan and Jared were thinking, “You pushed us really hard to do this—you better be right.”

Jared Smith

And then last year, Europe hit its numbers four out of four quarters. It’s pretty phenomenal to see that region accelerate. Sequoia understood what we needed to do to achieve that.

Bryan Schreier

I didn’t do anything other than simplify what they should solve for, and then recognize it would take six quarters, not two. Whenever they pick one area to improve on, they get it right.

Ryan Smith

All our rocky “bet the company” moments have taken longer than we planned. The board could have killed any of them, but Sequoia had the resolve to stay in the boat.

Today more than 8,500 enterprise customers, including two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, rely on the Qualtrics Experience Management platform to measure and improve customer satisfaction, employee experience, product engagement, and brand loyalty.

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Qualtrics
A single system of record for all experience data
Milestones
  • Founded 2002
  • Partnered 2012
Team
  • Ryan Smith
  • Jared Smith
  • Scott Smith
  • Stuart Orgill