Our driving goal at Evernote is to help make people smarter. That’s a big mission, and we never planned on pursuing it alone. In 2008 we opened up the Evernote APIs to developers to see what other smarts-enhancing apps smart people could build. It’s time to take things further. We want to help developers build not just great products that work alongside Evernote, but great businesses that do, too.
So this year, we’re launching the Evernote Accelerator. It’s a one-month long residency program here at Evernote’s headquarters in Redwood City, California. We’re going to work with a small number of teams — no more than six — and do everything we can to help them build their ideas into successful products and businesses.
The Evernote Accelerator will serve as the culmination of our 2013 developer program activities. The program started just a few weeks ago, at SxSW, when we announced the details of our 2013 Devcup competition to build great Evernote integrations. This year, in addition to awarding Devcup winners cash prizes and trips to San Francisco (for our third annual Evernote Conference), we will invite some of the best winning teams to our Accelerator program.
Work inside Evernote
Our accelerator program is designed specifically for entrepreneurs who are using the Evernote platform. The developers here at Evernote will work with and advise the participants as they build their integrations. We’re physically building the Accelerator workspaces now, right next to where designers and developers will be sitting. Working on a project in the Evernote Accelerator will literally be working inside Evernote. In addition to the general guidance any good accelerator provides, at the Evernote Accelerator you’ll be able to get on-the-spot tactical advice from Evernote’s own developers as you work on your project.
The Evernote Accelerator will include a structured curriculum designed to help startups take their existing projects and make them into workable businesses. We’ll be using a proven program that all the participants will go through together. To supplement that education, we’ll be bringing in Evernote’s friends and partners to host sessions on topics important to the startups in the Accelerator. We’ll fine-tune these sessions as we get closer to the Accelerator itself, but topics likely to be covered include crowdfunding, hiring, working with mobile carriers, architecting for multiple platforms, and pitching. Some of these sessions will be open to the public, giving participants a chance to mingle with other cool people here in Silicon Valley.
The Accelerator program will be intense. It will run for just four weeks, from October 21 to November 15. But that also means four weekends, and we’ll have great activities to help the teams recharge and get some perspective while they’re working on their projects. We are looking forward to working with teams from outside the Bay Area, and we love being tour guides here.
As the Accelerator term concludes, we’ll host a big, fancy event where the projects are shown off. Then, we’ll help the teams move on to their next adventure by connecting them to investors, startup talent, or even other accelerators and programs that we regularly work with.
To reiterate, the Evernote Accelerator will feature:
- An intensive curriculum to help launch early-stage companies.
- Workshops with Evernote engineers, designers, and business execs.
- Talks and sessions with notable technology leaders.
- A public closing gala where the new businesses are rolled out to the world.
- Fun group activities in the San Francisco Bay Area.
When developers win, we win
So how much equity do developers have to give up to join this accelerator? Zero. This program isn’t taking equity in its participant startups. We want our developers to succeed, and when they do, Evernote will succeed with them. We look forward to actively supporting Accelerator projects by promoting them to Evernote’s users through various channels, including our app store, The Trunk. Once our participants are in the Accelerator, they’re part of our family. We’ll look out for them and help them grow.
To make the program work for early-stage entrepreneurs, we will provide travel, housing, and office space inside the Evernote HQ to our participants, as well as Evernote’s legendary daily team lunches in our cafeteria, and a stipend to cover additional living expenses.
Here’s how you get in: Learn about our API and cloud service, build an app (or service) that works with Evernote, and submit it to our 2013 Devcup competition. You must participate in the Devcup to be eligible for consideration for the Evernote Accelerator. (If you want to compete in Devcup but don’t want to be considered for the Accelerator, that’s cool too.)
The Evernote Accelerator, along with the rest of our 2013 developer programs, is being produced with the help of a few major partners, including DOCOMO Innovation Ventures and the Honda Silicon Valley Lab.
DOCOMO Innovation Ventures is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTT DOCOMO. It runs a 10-billion-yen (about $100 million) venture fund, and an incubation program to support startups, primarily in Japan. DIV is underwriting the DOCOMO Mobile Magic Award, which will go to the best mobile product created for the Devcup.
Honda Silicon Valley Lab is part of Honda R&D Americas. It’s an open innovation lab for global Honda R&D focused on information technology. HSVL is behind the Honda Innovation Award at Devcup, a transportation-focused prize for the best enhancements to the in-vehicle experience.
The winners of these Devcup prizes will be considered for the Evernote Accelerator.
The Evernote Devcup and Accelerator program is also supported by Amazon Web Services, which is offering server credit to participating teams during the development portion of the competition, and to the winning teams to help keep their projects going after the 2013 Devcup concludes.
We are looking forward to building an international team of Accelerator participants. Evernote hosts hackathons and meetups around the globe. If you would like to meet Evernote developer folks and talk about the platform, the Devcup competition, working at Evernote, or the Evernote Accelerator, please come meet us at one of these events.
If you have questions about the competition for Evernote Accelerator positions or would like to participate in the program in some other way, contact me, Rafe Needleman.