The older I get, the more I think I need something like Evernote. The company makes software that augments your memory.
Evernote’s software lets your record just about anything and then recall it as you need it. You can take a picture of a business card, sync it with the Evernote software, and it will keep that card with all of the other things in your computer that are related to the same business. When you want to recall something, you search for it in Evernote and you get automatic recall of things you wanted to remember, like the name of the restaurant that serves your favorite wine.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company is announcing today that it has raised $2 million in venture funding from Japanese wireless carrier NTT DoCoMo. The deal closed in January. Back then, Evernote announced it had raised money from Troika Dialog Investment, but it finally has permission to talk about all of the funding, totaling $6.5 million, now
Phil Libin, chief executive officer of the Mountain View, Calif.-based company, said the service has exceeded expectations since its launch in mid-2008 and now has 1.5 million users. The web-based service is available on the freemium model, where it’s free to use but those who want more features can pay $5 a month. The Evernote Premium service can do things such as synchronize Evernote files between different gadgets.
Libin said the funding will be used to expand in new geographies and to support more languages and local versions. The company is also creating new versions of the service to run on more platforms and cell phones. The service is already available on Windows and Mac computers as well as on the iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm Pre, and Windows Mobile phones.
The process involves multiple steps. You can use Evernote to clip out anything — headlines, text, pictures, handwritten notes, take voice notes, or save photos. You can add categories or put the clippings into notebooks. Then Evernote indexes the data and you can search on anything via keyword, tags, notebooks or other categories. The search results show you everything associated with certain topics.
The company is hitting its stride now, but it wasn’t easy. It was founded in 2005 by Stepan Pachikov, an Azerbiijan-born entrepreneur who founded a number of Russian software companies. He developed the necessary image recognition and processing technologies to make the service work quickly. The vision of creating a memory aid was always the same, but Libin joined in mid-2007 and helped the company do a major relaunch.
Libin said the company has been profitable on a gross margin basis — meaning the cost of adding a new subscriber is less than the overall revenue stream — for the past eight months. It isn’t yet profitable if you factor in engineering and other overhead costs. Libin predicts that will happen next year. He said that within the first month, only about a half of 1 percent of users pay the monthly subscription fee. But after a year, about 8 percent pay. Usage is split about 50-50 between desktops and mobile platforms, with the iPhone being the most popular mobile platform.