Meet Evernote, the poster child for the freemium movement in mobile. I’ve been using it since long before the mobile versions came out, long before their 50,000,000th user and long before the company needed a COO. Today, of course, Evernote has become the almost de facto “first app” installed on a new mobile device and is cited more times than Angry Birds as a company that is executing on the freemium business model. They have also recently hired Ken Gullicksen as COO and we sat down to discuss the company and how they leveraged mobile to build this great business.
Evernote has grown up since those early days – they now have 8 mobile products (some homegrown, others acquired), 1 million paying customers, 4000 enterprise customers and are valued at over $1B – not too shabby from their humble beginnings as a desktop note-taking app. The fascinating thing about this company is the notion, in this fast-paced and money hungry world where $1 billion acquisitions seem commonplace, that they are trying to build a 100-year company. To that effect, they are 5% of the way through and the decisions they’ve made – the business model, the acquisitions, the team, the investment, the patience – all come together well in context (the only thing out of whack are the VC dollars – I didn’t think they wanted their money locked up for that long in 1 company…). They have only just begun.
So what does a 100-year company think about the mobile world that brought them here? What about the trends in the enterprise space that have them turning their attention to corporate knowledge? How do wearable computers fit in to their master plan? And what are the reasons for trying to build a 100-year company while it seems that others around them are building to flip?
You’ve got to think great things are coming for Evernote – they have already become one of the most popular cross-platform applications of our time in a short 5 years. Not bad for a toddler.
About Ken Gullicksen
Helping entrepreneurs build exciting, early-stage technology companies is my passion. For the past 10 years, I have sourced and nurtured a number of startups – working with them when they had little more than a concept, through their successful product introductions and all the way to sale. My forte is raw company formation, working with nascent companies to shape, build and execute their vision. I have worn the hat of an engineer, engineering manager, product manager, marketing manager, business development executive, corporate development executive, startup CEO and venture capitalist, and enjoy bringing all those skills to bear in a new venture.