Evernote targets businesses with Salesforce partnership

Evernote, the cloud storage company that styles itself as its customers’ “second brain”, is partnering with Salesforce.com to provide its note-taking applications to businesses.

Salesforce customers will now be able to access Evernote on the popular corporate management platform. Evernote allows users to access and organise notes, audio and pictures stored in the cloud from any device, and share them with others.

Phil Libin, Evernote chief executive, said selling the service to businesses could end up contributing up to half of the company’s revenue. Evernote has 75 million users, up from 40m this time last year, and has signed up almost 8,000 companies to Evernote business.

“It is a very big deal for us,” he said. “We provide what end users want to fall in love with and Salesforce knows what IT departments need, how to talk to them and how to sell to them.”

By the time the company goes public – in 2015 or 2016 at the earliest – the distinction between tech companies focusing on the consumer and on enterprise would be “really irrelevant” as employers realise providing enjoyable technology is key to keeping the best workers, he said.

“Our investment hypothesis is that knowledge workers rule the world and companies will bend over backwards to make sure they have the same great experiences as they have in their personal lives,” Mr Libin said.

Evernote is deliberately targeting Wall Street banks as customers to get potential investors using its service as part of its preparation for an initial public offering in the coming years. It is also working with government to try to change rules that restrict what employees in regulated industries are allowed to store in the note-taking application.

But Evernote suffered a security breach earlier this year when hackers accessed user information, which could have compromised confidential corporate data and intellectual property.

Mr Libin said it had “very dramatically” increased Evernote’s investment in security this year but it was hard to guarantee the service could not be hacked. “When it comes to attacks by criminals, there’s no magic. You just have to wake up every day and work on it,” he said.

Clarence So, an executive at Salesforce, said it takes time to win the trust of businesses. “I think people love their apps, consumers love using it and it is super convenient. They’re going to have to work on becoming a trusted brand with Evernote business,” he said. “They are going to have to earn that trust every day.”

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