Evernote hopes to be “IPO-ready” by end of 2013 (but would rather stay private)

While seemingly every other popular tech startup is aching to go public, Evernote is playing it slow and steady.

Evernote CEO Phil Libin said he hoped to make the company “IPO-ready” by the end of 2013 while speaking to a group of developers and investors in Tokyo yesterday, the New York Times reports. Once that happens, he still wants to wait several years before going public to truly take advantage of the freedom being private allows.

“This is the time the company can take the most risks, for the next couple of years,” Libin said. “Once you’re a large public company, it’s also very difficult to take big risks, because you have to take report to the market every quarter and the market will punish you for failure.”

The company has 30 million users now, but by the end of next year Libin hopes to reach more than 100 million users and have near $100 million in revenues, the NYT reports.

His statement comes a little over two weeks after the company landed a massive $70 million funding round, which valued it at $1 billion. At the time, Libin said that he could see Evernote being worth $100 billion or more as a public company. Now though, he seems more interested in taking the company places public investors wouldn’t allow.

“Our goal is to take those risks now, and once we figure out the best business model, then we’ll go public, we’ll I.P.O.,” he said. “The whole point is not to be forced into an I.P.O.”

Libin’s stance is particularly interesting today, as Facebook’s IPO dominates the news cycle. Facebook’s offering will earn it billions, but this morning’s surprisingly weak stock performance is already raising questions. By staying private, Evernote can continue to innovate without the scrutiny of the public.

Evernote offers a suite of digital note-taking products with the goal of letting you remember everything. The core Evernote app lets you save pretty much anything — including text, pictures, and other files — to the cloud, which is then accessible from desktop and mobile devices. All of Evernote’s apps are free to use, but the company offers premium features at $5 per month (or $45 per year) rate that gives you larger upload capabilities, offline access, and more.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Evernote has now raised around $166 million.

Photo: Libin at VentureBeat’s Mobile Summit 2011/Devindra Hardawar

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