When SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, 47, died unexpectedly Friday night, he left behind a company that was on a steady upswing, thanks largely to the accomplishments of his six-year tenure. 

As Goldberg's 500 employees mourn the loss of their leader, they must simultaneously figure out how to maintain the momentum he helped create. SurveyMonkey -- which offers online surveys -- will also have to determine whether or not to adopt the philosophies of its former CEO, who said he had no interest in taking the company public just yet. SurveyMonkey is reportedly valued at $2 billion. 

Earlier this year, when asked if he had plans to file for an IPO, Goldberg told Fortune that SurveyMonkey has avoided going public for liquidity's sake alone.

"We don't need it for capital. We don't really need it for currency. So it would really require us to find that we couldn't get liquidity other ways for employees and investors," Goldberg said. "We'd have to sort of say that the benefits would outweigh cost. I've run a public company before. It has its plusses and minuses." 

SurveyMonkey was founded by Ryan Finley in Madison, Wisc. in 1999. Spectrum Equity and Bain Capital Ventures acquired a majority interest in the company in 2009, and Goldberg became CEO as part of the transaction. Goldberg -- who was also well known in Silicon Valley for his marriage to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg -- said that the company was profitable at the time. It was doing $27 million in sales with just 14 employees, according to Forbes.

In 2012, SurveyMonkey had revenue of $113 million. The company offers free surveys and makes its money from a small percentage of customers who pay for premium services like analytical tools and high-volume surveys. Earlier this year, it also introduced a benchmarking service, which allows companies to see how they stack up in areas like employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

Goldberg said that the company had done a lot of "interesting things" to earn the patience of its investors and employees as it has staved off an IPO.

"Two years ago [we] did an $800 million financing of debt and equity where we allowed investors and employees to sell their shares. And that was at about a $1.3 billion valuation," Goldberg told Forbes, adding that, more recently, it did a $250 million round of financing, which put the company's valuation at $2 billion. "So we've been trying to provide liquidity for investors and employees without necessarily having to go public."

Goldberg's successor will have to decide whether or not to take the same strategic approach when it comes to delaying an IPO. And it remains to be seen whether SurveyMonkey's investors will extend the same patience to the next chief executive. 

The company hasn't named an interim successor yet. Selina Tobaccowala is the company's president and chief technology officer, and Tim Maly is its chief operating officer and chief financial officer.

SurveyMonkey has said little after Goldberg's death. "Dave's genius, courage and leadership were overshadowed only by his compassion, friendship and heart," a statement read. "We are all heartbroken. 

Published on: May 4, 2015