How & Why Evernote Quietly Bought 4 Companies Last Year

It seems like when most tech companies make acquisitions or changes, the news makes big waves in the tech world. Obviously, Evernote is not a tech behemoth like Facebook, Google, or Apple and definitely isn’t as sexy. Evernote is basically just an app that helps you “remember everything.” You can take notes, grab screenshots of websites, upload video and audio, and you can access all of it anywhere you have a smartphone or computer. But they are a business that’s growing fast and they’ve proven that the freemium business model can work. Six months ago they had 10 million users. Now they have 20 million. At least 500,000 of those are expected to be premium users, who pay the $5/month charge to be able to access premium content. That puts their revenue around $30 million a year. Not great but not bad, either. For an app, that’s pretty dang good.

They also happen to have venture capitalists invested to the tune of $100 million, which they used last year to acquire a few other companies. So what did they acquire and why? CEO Phil Libin said he’s looking for people and companies that want to add value and intelligence to Evernote and aren’t just looking for a cash out. “We’re not buying people to give people an exit, we’re buying companies to give people a start. Selling your company to Evernote is the beginning of 80 hour work weeks,” he said.

So who did they buy? The list includes Skitch, a company called Notable Meals (which became Food), Readable (which became Clearly), and a startup called Minds Momentum, which will eventually revamp Evernote’s To-Do List app. In other words, they bought a bunch of companies that help Evernote become a much more robust, feature-rich app. But it also sounds like there are many Inception-like apps within an app… this has my interest piqued. Maybe I’ll start using Evernote again.

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