Remember that $70 million round of funding we announced way back a week and a half ago? A crazy amount of stuff has happened since then, but I wanted to go back to the topic of the funding announcement and add a cool new detail: there’s a small “CEO Club” that’s helping to build Evernote.
In addition to the VCs and professional investors who participated, we set aside 10% of the round for a small group of founders and CEOs who have been my friends, mentors and main sources of inspiration ever since I moved to Silicon Valley five years ago. I’m deeply honored that these six great entrepreneurs accepted our invitation to invest in Evernote and help us build a hundred year startup:
- Marc Benioff, Founder and CEO of Salesforce.com
- Jerry Yang, Founder and CEO of Yahoo
- Hiroshi Mikitani, Founder and CEO of Rakuten
- Sky Dayton, Founder and CEO of Earthlink, eCompanies, Boingo and Helio
- Loïc Le Meur, Founder and CEO of Seesmic and LeWeb
- Alexis Ohanian, Co-founder of Reddit and Hipmunk
Each of these people managed to build companies from scratch that succeeded in changing the world and, in many cases, are still changing it.
Marc was my main inspiration for thinking about the cloud and was one of the first people to turn me on to the magic of Japan. Jerry built one of the first, great Internet companies and gave me invaluable advice for keeping the culture of a team intact through rapid growth. Mikitani-san is the strongest thinker I’ve ever met on what it means to be a truly international company; a company that doesn’t just sell everywhere, but builds everywhere as well. Sky is the textbook serial entrepreneur, a great simplifier of complexity, and once helped me meet an important New Year’s Resolution. Loïc is a true statesman, a genius at spotting talent and one of the first people to really give Evernote a boost. Alexis is the leading authority on making information overload fun, adorable corporate mascots and how to make products beloved by Stephen Colbert.
When I think about what these people have created, I am reminded that Evernote is just at the very start of our journey. We’re 1% done and have a colossal amount of work ahead. All of our accomplishments over the past five years are just a drop in the bucket and we aren’t really sure of what we’re doing. This is humbling and slightly scary.
And then I remember that until they managed to build world-changing, multi-billion-dollar public companies out of nothing, they’d never done it before either.
And that’s an encouraging thought.