Notion: Breakout Jobs Memo #1

Adam Breckler
Jul 10 · 11 min read

Team

History/Motivation:

As people flooded to factories during the Industrial Revolution, many tools were invented to ease the management overload.

Notion is pioneering the notion of the all-in-one workspace.


Founders

  • Simon Last (CTO): Studied Human-Computer Interaction Lab — Undergraduate Research @ University of Maryland. Software Engineer @ Nebula.

Early Hires:

Composition:

  • Coming from a background working together at the Product Team at Inkling, the founders came from a world-class design team that spun off other design-focused startups like Mixmax.
  • No one worked at companies that could be potential customers. No one worked at companies selling to potential customers. The team needs at least one senior sales hire who has experience selling to customer companies

Advisors & Board of Members:

  • Josh Kopelman. Investor and entrepreneur in the internet space since 1992. In 1996, he took public Infonautics Corporation, a company he founded while he was a student at Wharton. He also founded Half.com (acquired by eBay) and TurnTide (acquired by Symantec). In 2014, he co-founded First Round Capital, one of the most active VC firms in the U.S.

Investors:

Josh Kopelman, Shana Fisher, Naval Ravikant, Ram Shriram, Aydin Senkut, Matt Macinnis, Elad Gil, Matt Macinnis, and Mike Vernal.

Culture


Product

Four Use-Cases

1) To-do List

Notion can be used for both personal or group note-taking and task tracking.

2) Issue Tracker

Notion can be used as a replacement for Trello or another Kanban board.

3) Lightweight CRM

Notion can be used to track contacts or prospects as part of a sales funnel.

4) Wiki / Knowledge Base

Notion can be used to share internal or external information and faqs.


Market

Target Market:

  • Served Addressable Market (SAM):
    Notion has tools to do all of the above, except citation management.
  • Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM):
    Teams and individuals looking for productivity and collaboration tools for notes, wikis, cloud database, and tasks.
  • The need for more user-friendly software is increasing. This is where Notion really shines.
  • Comparable Markets:
    Currently, the market for productivity tools is a little over $1.8B* according to CrunchBase.
  • Based on bottom-up, top-down and comps, TAM is in the range of $648M to $1.8B.
Notion in the ‘Knowledge Management’ Category Source
Notion in the ‘Note-Taking Management Software’ Category Source
  • Coda: Documents as powerful as apps. 2014. $60M.
  • Monday.com. Collaborative project management. 2012. $84M.
  • Redbooth. Collaborative project management. 2008. $20M.
  • Asana. Collaborative project management. 2008. $213M.
  • Basecamp. Collaborative project management. 1999.
  • Workfront. Collaborative project management. 2001. $375M.
  • Freedcamp. Collaborative project management. 2011. $574K.
  • Hive. Collaborative project management. 2015. $5.4M.
  • Wrike. Collaborative project management. 2006. $26M.
  • Quire. Collaborative task management tool.
  • Backlog. Collaborative project management for developers. 2004. ¥100M.
  • Paymo. Collaborative project management.
  • Trello. Collaborative task management tool. 2011. Atlassian.
  • Ora. Collaborative task management tool.
  • Joplin: Notes.
  • Google Keep: Notes.
  • Slab. Team wiki. 2016. $2.2M.
  • Confluence. Team wiki. Atlassian.
  • GitHub wiki. Team wiki.
  • JIRA. Atlassian.
  • Bear. Notes.
  • Todoist. Task management.
  • Quip. Task management.
  • OneNote. Notes.
  • Slite. Notes.
  • Schema. Product management.
  • Dropbox Paper. Generate ideas.
  • Nifty. Project management.
  • Microsoft Productivity Suite: Microsoft has increasingly been investing in its suite of cloud products, moving its traditional office suite monopoly. If Microsoft was to take this threat from Notion and others more seriously, they might be able to place a cap on Notion’s addressable market by ‘fast-following’ Notion’s feature set and incorporating it into Office 365.
  • Long Term: Lack of Integrations — Notion’s biggest current weakness compared to its competitors is a lack of Integrations. Though they have a Slack integration, this pales in comparison to the flexibility of importing/exporting/syncing data that tools like Airtable allow for. In the Long-term, if Notion is to supplant many of the other 3rd party apps that it is trying to this might be less of an issue, but in the Medium-term when customers are selecting a tool to migrate their app data to, this could become a barrier.
  • Cross-organization network effects: Because of the ‘multi-player’ nature of the Notion product and many of its use cases, it encourages information and documents to be shared across organizations which leads to a much higher viral co-efficient than many of its competitors who are focused on building tools for use within organizations.

Business

Traction

Notion growth is outpacing its peers

Customers


Funding

Funding up to date:

Risk of Further Funding:

  • Considering the fact that Notion has large funds like Sequoia Capital on their cap table, they should have no problem raising further follow-on funding in the future, given they maintain their rapid growth.
  • Many more VC’s are starting to become interested in the recent wave of ‘Pro-sumer’ businesses like Notion, Airtable, and others.

Exit Scenarios/Expected Returns:

  • IPO: Slack may be the best analogous recent public company operating in this space, who went public at a $15.7 billion valuation.
  • M&A: Avg. Enterprise Multiple (EV/EBITDA). See below.
Table of a few recent acquisitions in this space


Jobs

Notion is currently hiring for three roles which you can apply to via Xpo.


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This report is part of a series of reports included in the Breakout Jobs newsletter, curated by Ankit Kumar Singh at Xpo.Network.

About this Memo

The Author, Adam Breckler is the Founder of Prism Labs, building Xpo.Network.

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Adam Breckler

Written by

Internet Professional, Currently: Founder, Prism Labs (Prism.io) Previously: Co-founder & VP Product @ Visual.ly

The Spectrum

Thoughts of Prism Labs