I attended last year's FounderConference, which was at MSFT's Mountain View campus, and captured the content of the event. I also took a panoramic shot that Alain used for the 2011 conference, and in exchange he comp'd a ticket for me to attend this year.
As part of my goal to help entrepreneurs worldwide be more successful (i.e., my fundraising manifesto), I've captured the content of this year's Founders Conference below. This year's event was much larger than 2010, at the Mountain View Center for Performing Arts, with about 500 people attending.
Some of the highlights for me were:
- Guy Kawasaki (pictured onstage above) giving tips to entrepreneurs and generally entertaining everyone with his past experiences -- he's very genuine.
- Naval Ravikant of AngelList describing how to pitch to investors
- Phil Libin, the CEO of Evernote, discussing how Evernote has succeeded with a freemium model (see my notes below).
- George Zachary of CRV and other VCs describing investor pitch do's & don'ts
- There were many other speakers -- here's the full agenda
Phil's talk was, for me, the most valuable of the day. Phil dug into detailed metrics for Evernote, including how many users stick around past the first 30 days (answer: about 55%), how long those users stick around after 30 days (answer: Nearly all of them -- amazing!) what percentage of his userbase he monetizes from free to pay, at $5/month (answer: 0.5% in the first month, but rises to almost 24% of the users that stick around after 36 months, again amazing).
Phil also discussed how Evernote focuses on adding users organically, and shared a bunch of stats on the business. The most amazing chart is the one I took the picture of, at right -- it shows a Silicon Valley-style hockey stick graph, except, as Phil points out, for 2 big differences: 1) It's real, not a projection, and 2) it's a graph of revenue, not users. Phil got a round of applause for that one, and the graph shows what look like sediment layers of each traunch of users as he defines them, and how much revenue each provides. Watch the video for full details, it's worth catching.
There was also a great presentation by Tim Young on his Magic 5 slides he's used for fundraising. You can find the related TechCrunch article here.
Here's my quick hello at the start of the conference:
Phil Libin of Evernote describing Evernote's growth (my favorite talk of the day)
Tim Young discussing the "Magic 5 Slides" of pitching
Guy Kawasaki's 'Founder Pep-Talk' followed by Naval Ravikant:
VC Pitch Session & Panel:
Robert Scoble and Loic Le Meur discussing how to build traction with social media:
Panel on how to launch at a conference:
Brian Wong reviews 1 minute pitches
CarWoo's experience raising money from Y Combinator as 2 married founders with children