Sign up FAST! Login

"Evernote as a publicly traded company could be worth $10 billion, $100 billion or more."

Stashed in: Silicon Valley!, Search, Startup Lessons, @lizgannes, Awesome, Valuation, Content Curation, Curation Culture

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Josh Constine writes:

To transition from a startup into a late-stage company that aims to be around for 100 years, Evernote today confirms it’s raised a $70 million Series D round of funding at a $1 billion valuation.  Meritech Capital and CBC Capital were chosen to lead the round because they’re the firms that can help Evernote prepare for an eventual IPO.

Evernote doesn’t need the money. It still has much of the $96 million that it’s raised to date in the bank plus over one million paying customers out of its 25 million+ users. But now Evernote will have the cash to isolate itself from short-term market conditions.

But just because it’s maturing, Evernote has no plans of slowing down. I interviewed CEO Phil Libin about what the future holds for Evernote. He assured me “This funding keeps is us in the sweet spot to take risks. This is the most creative stage for the company.”

As information overload becomes more prevalent, Evernote’s mission to let you remember everything becomes increasingly relevant.

Regarding the impressive valuation as a private company, Libin excitedly admits that it’s not about Evernote being worth $1 billion today, but ”I agree with our very wise investors. I think that Evernote as a publicly traded company could be worth $10 billion, $100 billion or more.

It certainly has momentum. In the nine months since it raised $50 million in July, it’s made four acquisitions, opened offices around the world, won a Crunchie, and grew to over 25 million users. Both registered and active user counts have tripled since July.

Libin tells me “Conversion to premium goes up with the length of time someone’s been using Evernote. In the first month only a very small percentage, less than 0.5% of people pay for premium, but it goes up every month after that. Our “oldest” users, those that have been with us for about four years, are almost 25% paid premium. Overall, we have more than a million premium users.”

I still can't make basic Evernote be something I want to use.

It's one of the few products I've tried to use a dozen times and can't for the life of me make myself use.

Is it confident or arrogant of him to believe Evernote will be around for 100 years and be worth $100 billion?

It floors me that a million people are paying for it. I guess Evernote has no real competition.


I pay for it because it's the only service with really simple photo upload that then does OCR and search.

Thanks Rurik.

Uploading photos with OCR and search is by far the #1 answer I get from people when I ask why they use Evernote.

Great search is like magic.

I'm shocked Google has no competing product.

Google Drive may have something like this I think -- though not clear yet.

I'm not hearing any noises from Googlers about this being part of Google Drive anytime soon.

All I hear when I ask is, "Just Gmail it to yourself and search your Gmail."

Rurik, thank you for finding a link to a place that says Google Drive does have OCR:

Now, will people use it instead of Evernote?

Well even tech-savvy people like you weren't aware of the feature -- it got drowned out in all the noise. I feel like people will go on using Evernote for notes and Dropbox for files, like before. IMO Google Drive is me-tooish and late -- just like Buzz was in relation to Twitter and Google+ is in relation to Facebook. The horse already bolted.

In the short term, yes.

Longer term, product quality matters and word of mouth prevails.

If people like Google Drive, they will tell their friends and coworkers it's worth trying, too.

Totally agree, but 1) Dropbox and Evernote are topnotch products with many years of polish, and 2) Google has unfortunately been slow, reactionary and half-baked in many of its recent products. Consider Buzz vs Twitter, Google Music vs iTunes, Google TV vs Apple TV/Roku.

Very tough for Google here: they don't own the desktop like MS (Skydrive) or Apple (iCloud), so they're fighting for each user.

Great insight. Sounds like Google missed a golden opportunity in not buying Sun; it puts the Motorola acquisition into perspective by suggesting a reason for Google to go into hardware, but frankly even Amazon has been better at that than Google.

I guess this is why Google is trying through so many channels to own a desktop: ChromeOS, Android, and the web platform bookended by Gmail, Search, and Google+, are all attempts at giving Google *some* base on which to build.

I wonder what determines when a Google product will be best of breed (Gmail, Maps, Chrome) and when it will be half-baked (examples Rurik mentioned).

[shrug] legitimate superiority in product performance, breadth of features, and overall implementation of Design?

Gmail.. Seems to me that it succeeded through the exclusivity model (how many friends asked you for an invite?), as well as having a better overall UI and better-implemented features over then competitors Hotmail, Yahoo!, AOL, and... Altavista? I for one never looked back once I got onto Gmail, especially as it has continued to improved ever since. It also helped that Gmail was closely tied to the GTD (Getting Things Done) practice/trend, which was promoted by Lifehacker, as its network/demo also rose pre-Gawker.  And, cmon - Gchat.  Gmail as a gateway to GoogleDocs probably retained/generated a lot of referrals.

Maps.. seems to me a clear superior to then competitor Mapquest, literally a no-brainer for many. Again, better overall UI (SO clean compared to the clunky design of Mapquest), performance, and the most important for this product - ACCURACY. Perhaps the novelty (respectability?) of Google Earth bled into adoption/awareness of Maps.

Chrome.. seems to me to have demonstrated a clear performance superiority when it debuted (Speed/responsiveness, Omnibox related), as well as displaying a better core (visual) Design. I remember distinctly when I transitioned from FF to Chrome Dev, and it had everything to do with speed, how it "felt" to use. FF felt like it was heavy, getting heavier, a little IE7-ish. Ported extensions from FF sealed the deal. The raging tech PR praising performance characteristics didn't hurt either.

Further, Chrome success may also have been due to the Dev structure/community of Chrome, ie the multi-channel Development/Release; the very, very, frequent/aggressive updating; and the fact that the community was basically culled from existing Chromium. Google gave monetary rewards for solving bugs!

Also, wasn't this the time that Google really put support behind Open Source, in some ways even bringing mainstream awareness to Open Source, thus leading to its increased value and adoption industry/community-wide -- or at least, its acceptance as the altruistic movement in Web? The latter phenomenon thus would have given Google a positive association as a guardian/proponent of the original ideals of the Internet (as defended by the EFF, CC).

... Please correct me if I'm wrong. I wasn't a tech reporter or dev then, and not now. Just a user...

Sounds like Google excels at anything it strongly commits to.

It also sounds like since Larry Page became CEO there are fewer commitments but all are strong.

Notice how in just since I wrote that last comment (May 2012) Google has gotten much stronger in hardware between the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10, plus the ChromeOS Pixel.

or, excels at things it truly understands?  Yes, the leadership during those times had to have played a pivotal role.


It's smart for a business to only strongly commit to things it truly understands.

@lizgannes writes:

Evernote had the tagline “remember everything” on the first day the company was formed in 2007, and it planned a freemium payment model from the beginning, Libin said.

“We said we wanted to make an external brain for everyone,” Libin said — as he has said many times in the past five years. “The driving force was no one is really happy with biological memory.”

“They said if you’re successful, you will have the holy grail of targeted adverting because people are telling you what’s important to them,” Libin said. “We considered that very briefly but I was never comfortable with that model. I always thought it would undermine the trust. We turned that down. We’d said we’d rather shut the company down.”

Evernote almost ran out of money. Thank goodness for a random Swedish user wiring them $500k.

Also, Evernote has always refused to go with an advertising based model. “The guy from Sweden might not have fallen in love if it was an advertising company,” he said.

No capes! And no pivots!!

[Read more.]

Adam, perhaps one of the reasons Evernote isn't clicking for you is you haven't developed a structure for it yet? The designation and relationships of my notebooks within evernote is key for me and I think I'd see it as a confusing amorphous product without them. It's like someone giving you a digital warehouse and saying "here you go!" Without structure it isn't nearly as powerful, especially since it is designed as a mobile, quick reference product and not longer term warehousing like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Eric, I think you're right.

Getting started is the hardest part because I ask myself what I want to use notes for.

I don't often take notes anymore -- instead I send stuff to someone in email if it's private OR I stick it on PandaWhale if it's okay for it to be public.

Notes, to me, are a means to get feedback, whether privately through email or publicly through websites.

Evernote is a brilliant product (paid version, offline notes)... to move so slick from windows desktop to android phone to tablet and have it all with me everywhere: real later, clip to save, clip a link etc: can't work with anything else

The real trick, Adam, is definitely the structure --- stacks of notebooks is one angle, how you sort, view and find is another: this tool replaces an outline tool I used to use(a TSR, if you know what that is, from the pre-windows world of msOS) and until evernote had *never* found a replacement

(it also helps to get used to the different sizes and orientations of interfaces across screen sizes)

(I am liking PandaWhale but I need the privacy!)

I think a lot of the big Evernote fans start on the desktop.

Perhaps the reason I don't get it is I'm starting from mobile, which is a confusing experience because as you say, there's no structure.

We're thinking about adding some privacy to PandaWhale after we're happy with the public product. But we're just getting started and have a long way to go.

Interesting is that Pinterest only recently added Private boards.

Meanwhile, have you heard of

Truth be told I have been liking Pandawhale (my activity has increased since discovering, if you noticed) for saving and discovering, and it sits with Tumblr, Clipboard, Instapaper, Pinterest, and Svpply as my collection tools.  But to be honest, Clipboard is the only place where I genuinely/actively/selectively note things for myself (albeit, still not in a Power manner), while Tumblr is legit imagery curation/inspiration.  

Nice links:

Quora post by Clipboard CEO on differences btw Evernote, Pinterest, and Clipboard

4 Ways to Curate, which is where I learned of Pearltrees, as well as Kippt, Bundlr, et al.

You May Also Like: