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Exclusive: Evernote considers IPO as growth picks up

By Liana B. Baker

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Evernote, which makes a popular app for taking notes and storing data on tablets, phones and personal computers, is considering filing for an initial public offering by the end of next year, its chief executive told Reuters on Friday.

Evernote has more than 14 million users, with about 500,000 users who pay $5 a month for premium access, the company said. People use Evernote to record notes, organize data, store photos and search for documents. The app is available on Android and Apple devices.

An IPO is inevitable, but the company is not in a rush to test the public markets, said Chief Executive Phil Libin.

"If everything goes relatively smoothly over the next year and a half, I can see us filing our paperwork by the end of next year. If everything doesn't go smoothly, that's fine with me and (we) could delay it, but there's no rush," he said.

He said if market conditions stay as they are, the company would go public in 2013.

"Ideal conditions are to start (the) filing process at the end of next year in order to IPO by 2013," Libin said.

Libin, who founded the Mountainview, California-based company in 2008, declined to comment on how much money it would want to raise in an IPO. He said the company has not yet hired bankers or lawyers for the IPO. Sequoia Capital invested $50 million in the company in July.

He said the company's annualized revenue was $16 million over the past 12 months and growing quickly.

"Revenue grew 300 percent in the past year. It is growing exponentially and accelerating," Libin said.

About 70 percent of people start using the app through Apple and Google's Android powered devices, he said. The app attracts 40,000 new users each day.

"From a year ago, our total users tripled, the rate at which we're growing quadrupled and our revenue went up by a factor of 5," he said.

Libin said the company first turned a profit six months ago, but he said the company will lose money over the next few months as it hires, opens an office in Austin and buys companies.

Evernote, which has 102 employees, is planning to hire 400 by the end of 2013, in the United States, Russia and other countries. It will return to profit in a few months, he said.

"At some point we will have too many employees to stay private," he said. "We've spread the equity around pretty broadly."

Libin added that Sequoia Capital bought shares from employees when it invested in the company in July. He said the company has declined several takeover offers.

(Editing by Robert MacMillan)

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