Evernote’s success is a lesson to all IT companies

Evernote, the capture and archive software company whose products allow users to capture and save a wide variety of data including notes, audio, photos and web pages on its easy to search web cloud, has emerged as one of the hottest up-and-coming IT companies following its Series E funding round in which it raised $70 million against a $1 billion valuation. This is just the latest in a long series of milestone for the rapidly growing company that since its launch in February 2008 it has managed to entice both large numbers of users and investors to the site and its success is a lesson to all IT companies.

The figures behind Evernotes success are impressive. In Evernote’s first year they attracted over a million users to the site, two years later in July 2011 it had grown to 11 million, by December it had 20 million and today it has over 30 million and adds about 100,000 a day. This growth hasn’t gone unnoticed and its latest funding round brings its total investment to $165.5 million from assorted investors including Sequoia Capital, Morgenthaler Ventures, Meritech Capital and CBC Capital. Evernote’s product is not unique and it has many competitors including Memonic Simplenote, Microsoft OneNote, Yojimbo; Journler, Circus Ponies NoteBook, Lognoter PIM version, Springpad, Zotero, gnote, BasKet Note Pads and NixNote; so how has Evernote managed to grow so big and so quickly?

Evernote’s success has been down to three main reasons – its cross functional, expansive and freemium. Unlike other software providers Evernote can be run on a multiple of platforms including PC’s, Mac’s, Android, iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, WebOS, Maemo, BlackBerry (including BlackBerry Playbook), and Google Wave. More importantly because content is saved in the cloud it means the different versions are interconnected so the user can save content on one device and access it on another. Evernote also doesn’t stop innovating and acquiring. In the past nine months it’s acquired four companies and apart from the basic Evernote software it now provides Skitck, Webclipper, Evernote Hello, Evernote Food, Evernote Clearly, Evernote Peek; all of which saves in the same location meaning content on the same topic can be grouped together.

Finally to finance the site Evernote operates on a freemium basis. Users are provided with 60 MB/month for free which contains advertising on both the web interface and in the application. If they need more space they can pay $5 per month or $45 per year for 1,000 MB/month usage which also includes faster word recognition in images, greater security and text searching within PDF files. As of last December there were just 750,000 premium users but the company plans to expand it by adding both a Chinese and a business versions of its software which will administrators to better control security and data.

In an era when companies that make photo sharing apps are sold for $1 billion, its easy to argue that Evernote is worth the same.


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