How Evernote's Phil Libin Plans To Build A '100-Year Startup'


websummit phil libin

Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote

Phil Libin

Evernote CEO Phil Libin isn't interested in flipping his cloud note-taking company. In fact, he says his team has "no exit strategy" despite the fact that it has amassed 80 million users and raised $250 million.


Instead, they want to create what they call a "100-year startup." Libin explained what that means on stage at Dublin's Web Summit.

A 100-year startup has two parts, says Libin.

Complimentary Tech Event
Transform talent with learning that works
Capability development is critical for businesses who want to push the envelope of innovation.Discover how business leaders are strategizing around building talent capabilities and empowering employee transformation.Know More

1. It should be a company that's around in 100 years, which means Evernote's product needs to be durable.

2. It should still be a startup in 100 years, which means it should still be an innovative company that people love.


"It's impossible to know what the product will be in 100 years but it's easy to know what the brand will be," Libin said. "We want to be the Nike for your mind. Nike has built the world's best brand for people who care about being athletic and who care about their bodies. We want Evernote to be the most visible brand for people who care about productivity, being smart, and their minds."

Evernote launched five years ago. To help motivate his team for the long journey, Libin says the company has a big banner that reads, "5% accomplished."

"Evernote is our life's work," Libin explained. "It's my third company. The whole point is [my team and I said] we don't want to sell another company. We wanted the next thing [we built] to be sufficiently epic, so that we never want to do anything else. I hope to be involved in Evernote forever."

Disclosure: Enterprise Ireland kindly sponsored Business Insider's trip to Dublin to cover Web Summit and F.ounders.