Mountain View-based Evernote, the company that offers a memory-like app for taking and organizing notes, is opening a “studio” in Austin, TX. That office, er, studio, will eventually be home to 100 Evernote employees. Just don’t call it a “satellite.”
“One of the things that’s prevented us from expansion is this notion of a satellite office,” said Phil Libin, the BBQ-lovin’ CEO of Evernote. “We didn’t want to lose the culture at Evernote and we’re paranoid a remote office wouldn’t feel like this. The Austin studio will be an autonomous team of developers, designers, QA engineers, and product managers. It will feel like a raw, independent startup.”
A studio is a unique concept for a startup, and that’s because Evernote has a unique 100-year goal. Evernote investors and executives all want to see the company thrive for decades. There’s no exit strategy. They’re in it for the long haul. Rather than spread the company out geographically while maintaining a central company identity, they want to grow Evernote by creating mini-startups within the brand. It will be really interesting to see how and if this works out for Evernote.
Libin says the studio will even have its own branding, which will be unveiled this week (fingers crossed for an Evernote elephant wearing spurs and cowboy hat). The goal is to have 12 people in the Austin studio by the end of the year, but they will be hiring up to 100, as fast as they can.
Evernote is on a hiring warpath. Currently there are 95 employees around the world, but they are working on hiring 400 more.
“We’ve tripled in size in the past 12 months, and we are going to do that again in the next 12,” says Libin, who spoke to VentureBeat by phone. “We’re constrained by how quickly we can find excellent people. Austin will hopefully double the rates.”
Why Austin? “Because it’s awesome there,” says Libin. He is a famous BBQ lover (his favorite joint in Austin is Rudy’s) who became smitten with the culture of Austin when his previous company was bought by Vignette in 2000. He was reminded of his plans to go back to Austin every time he attended the Austin-based tech conference South by Southwest.
“[The Austin studio] is another milestone completed for us as a company,” says Libin. “This company has really big expansion plans, and there’s a huge talent shortage in the Bay Area, so we started thinking about where else we could go that has a great talent culture.”
And before your mind starts wandering, Libin says this studio, and the expansion it signifies, isn’t a sign of a bubble.
“Everything is bigger in Texas, including their boom and bust cycle,” he says. “It’s the first place people go to and get out of Silicon Valley is Texas. We’ve been talking about building a 100 year company, and there will be a whole series of bubbles and booms during that time. [The Austin studio] will be there through good times and bad times. This is a place we want to be in the long term.”
Evernote will be hosting a party at the Austin W this Wednesday from 7-10pm. Libin will be there. He’ll be the guy with BBQ stains on his shirt.