Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Technology Entrepreneurship Part 1 - Assignment 1

This is my submission for Assignment 1  Why Do Startups Succeed When Others Fail?  of Stanford's Technology Entrepreneurship Part I.


Special Instructions

Identify the start-up (name): Evernote

Describe the business (what it provides or produces) and how it is successful (number of users, market share, revenue).

‘Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for notetaking and archiving.’ [Wikipedia]. Their tagline is ‘Remember everything’. Notes can be organized, tagged, shared, searched, and commented on; and can consist of webpage clips, snap shots, audio recordings, typed notes, and even written notes. It is available on multiple platforms and for syncing to the cloud.
Funding $251M in venture backing
Number of Users: 65 million [according to maclife.com, http://shar.es/i8iEe]

Revenue: $45/year per premium user (offers freemium usage as well).
Estimated valuation: $1 Billion
Market Share: [via Onavo] US iPhone Market Share (defined as the number of US iPhone users that opened the app): 4.59%

List five specific, detailed reasons for its success.
1.   Universally useful – Human memory is limited and most humans need help remembering things—all sorts of things, from grocery lists to business plan execution tasks and beyond. This app can be useful to practically everyone in numerous contexts.
2.   Supports multiple platforms and syncs to cloud – Having the app/service open to multiple platforms allows for a wider audience of users. Having the data be able to sync makes the app more powerful and convenient.
3.   Features – The features are constantly updating, increasing the app’s robustness. Included, are the number of options for organizing, which is a fundamental functionality when you are gathering a lot of ‘notes’ from a lot of different sources to be used in a lot of different contexts. What good is it to keep something (a note, say) if you can’t find it? As such, Evernote understands the core need and user.
4.   Social Media and Partnering – Evernote is very active with its community.  They maintain Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube accounts, and their own blogs; they host events; they partner with other companies and apps, which spreads the word, taps into expanding audiences, and makes their app(s) even more robust. On a side note, I think their designs and website are well-crafted and uphold a solid image of the company for the public.
5.   Company Culture – I am a believer that a company is just as responsible for performance as you are. I think a company that really puts time into and builds a culture that they envision (vs. just talking about it) fosters better productivity and thereby better quality of work. Evernote does this with its unconventional style of running their internal offices. Phil Libin gets it and puts it in action—and I think he’s really seeing results. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/08/business/phil-libin-of-evernote-on-its-unusual-corporate-culture.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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