Startups constructing work software program for different startups have been an enormous focus of funding in Silicon Valley as keen VCs hope to seize a chunk of the following Slack. Notion Labs, a worthwhile work instruments startup that just lately hit a reported $800 million valuation, isn’t making it simple for VC companies to give them cash, however they’re partnering with a few of them alongside top accelerators like Y Combinator in an effort to change into one other family title in work software program.
Notion has north of 1 million customers and has attracted hundreds of younger startups to its platform, which mixes notes, wikis and databases into a flexible instrument that may assist small groups reduce down on the variety of enterprise software program subscriptions they’re paying for. Notion fees startups $eight per worker (when billed yearly) to use the service.
Over half of the startups from Y Combinator’s most up-to-date batch are Notion clients, the corporate tells TechCrunch, and the startup appears intent to speed up their adoption amongst small groups. They’ve approached and partnered with dozens of accelerators across the globe together with Y Combinator, 500 Startups and TechStars to convey their portfolio startups onto Notion’s platform, providing admitted startups $1,000 in free companies every.
The new program is a part of the corporate’s efforts to embed their platform as an “operating system” for startups early-on after which scale as their clients do.
“I think we find ourselves in a really interesting spot where I think YC startups know about us and start with it,” COO Akshay Kothari says. “Our goal with the new program is getting to the point where if you’re a new company, you don’t even think about it, you just start with Notion.”
Kothari says their platform appears to work finest for startups within the sub-50 and sub-100 worker vary, however they do have bigger clients like UK banking startup Monzo which has organized their 1,300+ staff across the platform. Notion itself is unsurprisingly an influence consumer of its product, operating all the things however inner and exterior communications by itself software program.
The corporate provides a pair pricing tiers relying on dimension, however people also can use the software program for $5 per thirty days, one thing that Kothari believes provides it benefits over different instruments in driving adoption inside corporations. “There are a lot of similarities between us and the early stages of Slack in terms of engineering and product design people loving it, tech and media loving it, but one unique thing about us is that you can use Notion alone. Slack alone would be a bit lonely.”
The corporate is pitching clients a imaginative and prescient of consolidated office companies which are constructed so end-users can customise them to their wants. Notion’s pitch contrasts fairly closely with the overarching enterprise SaaS traits which has seen a wealth of specialised software program instruments hitting the market.
Notion is engaged on instruments to assist it court docket bigger enterprise clients as nicely, together with offline entry, higher permission methods and an API that may assist builders join their companies to the platform. Notion has been iterating its product slightly rapidly for an organization that has 9 engineers and no PMs, however Kothari says that they don’t consider piling extra money or doubling staff goes to be the important thing to scaling extra rapidly.
“We definitely want to create a large company, a company that could eventually go public or whatever is the right — you know it’s too early for a lot of that stuff. Our preference is to stay small,” he says. “[Notion] doesn’t have a board, it doesn’t have a whole lot of external voices, pretty much everyone in this office decides what we’re doing next.”
Notion has raised hundreds of thousands in funding from traders like First Spherical Capital, Ron and Ronny Conway, Elad Gill and most just lately Daniel Gross. The Information‘s Amir Efrati reported earlier this yr that Notion had raised a $10 million “angel round” at an $800 million valuation. The spherical was much less about elevating extra cash than it was about closing convertible notes, Kothari tells TechCrunch, noting that Notion has been worthwhile for the final 12-18 months.
“I guess we were profitable before profitability became cool. I think profitability helps you to control destiny a lot better because you’re not out fundraising every year or 18 months,” Kothari says. “Interestingly now, I think it’s cool to be profitable again. When I joined Notion I would tell VCs or investors ‘Oh, we’re profitable,’ and they would be like ‘Oh, so you’re building a lifestyle company.’”
Kothari himself was an investor that dumped cash into Notion founders Ivan Zhao and Simon Final’s concept to create a platform that might assist non-engineers construct software program. That was 6 years in the past after Kothari offered his earlier startup to LinkedIn, he joined a few yr in the past as COO.
Some VCs might have been skeptical early-on, however the story of Notion over the previous yr has been VCs preventing to rating a spot on their cap desk. In January, The New York Times‘s Erin Griffith reported that VCs had “dug up Notion’s office address and sent its founders cookie dough, dog treats and physical letters” to court docket their curiosity. The unrequited VC craving has earned Notion the fame for being enterprise averse, one thing Kothari pushed again on a couple of occasions.
“So, again, for the record, we don’t hate venture capitalists.”