Over the past few months the Notion team has been on a journey to challenge why we do what we do, why we're here and how we behave. Today we're excited to share the outcome of that process with you.
At Notion we have been through a big rebrand project. We felt that the current brand was a bit of a patchwork that we’d iterated over the years and didn’t really capture the full Notion story.
So over the last few months we have tried to put that right. As is always the case with these projects, we ended up with lots of great ideas and pages of content – but the real challenge comes when you have to distill it down into something that is both clear and concise.
Any good brand, like any good person, comes from within. You have to figure out who you are, why you’re here and how you want to behave.
For us it had to start with the problem. Pretty much every company gets started because they see a problem and think they have a better way to fix it. The problem we’re trying to solve at Notion is ‘unrealized potential’ in Europe’s enterprise tech market.
We think that there have always been amazing pockets of ideas, talent and money in Europe but it has all too often not combined together to produce big, successful and lasting companies.
The market is fragmented meaning that the ingredients for success don’t always come together in the right place at the right time. There is also sometimes a lack of belief and ambition to build businesses of real scale.
So there’s a need to bring together all the necessary ingredients to produce successful enterprise tech companies. There’s also a need to drive more recycling of knowledge, money and belief that comes from entrepreneurs and teams that have a good exit under their belts.
Of course, some of this is already happening and, to some extent, it’s simply a function of time. It takes time to build an ecosystem. People forget that Silicon Valley started in the 1960’s.
But we believe there can be catalysts in the market that can help to accelerate its progress. We want to be one of these catalysts.
With this in mind we have distilled down our purpose as ‘creating the conditions for extraordinary success.’
We’re very aware that it’s the entrepreneurs and their teams that are doing the real work. But we want to create the optimum conditions within which they can excel.
If you look up venture in the dictionary it says – ‘a risky or daring journey.’ Every one of our founders and companies are on this journey. We want to be there to support them every step of the way. We are committed to making it a little less risky.
If we are successful then the result will be generations of successful entrepreneurs coming through the Notion portfolio. The founders and their wider teams will then in turn start to recycle some of their hard earned knowledge, money and belief back into the ecosystem, and ideally back into Notion.
We see Notion as a way of life – building a brand and a platform that can live long into the future. We don’t see what we do as transactional. We want to build something that is recycling, growing and enduring.
What we do covers three main areas:
- Obviously Notion provides funding;
- We are also building a tribe of outliers where there is real power in the collective experience; and
- We are committed to leveraging all the knowledge, ambition, talent and relationships within Notion and our wider network to deliver scalable value-add to our portfolio.
We believe that if we do all of these things really well then extraordinary success will follow.
We also feel strongly that how we do this is as important as what we do and came together around four guiding principles.
We aim to ‘have fun and make money.’ For us one means nothing without the other. We want to be a top performing fund and make plenty of money for ourselves and our investors. But we want to have fun doing it and so we invest in people we want to work with and spend time with. We do serious work but don’t take ourselves too seriously.
We ‘challenge everything.’ We want ourselves and our portfolio companies to challenge the status quo because that’s how real progress gets made. In the words of George Bernard Shaw: ‘The path of progress was made by the unreasonable man.’ We like unreasonable people. We challenge each other at Notion and are open to being challenged in return. For us diversity in views and healthy debate leads to better outcomes. We should never be afraid to disagree and speak our minds. Having been through this we must also be prepared to get behind the decisions that are made. And we want the same from the companies we invest in.
We will always ‘play the long game.’ We are not looking for a quick profit. We want to help build global category leaders and appreciate that this takes time. We want to be judged through all the ups and downs of the journey, as we know as well as anyone that start-up success is never linear. We are also not focused on any single transaction. We want to build a firm, a brand, a platform that lives on well after our own careers have come to an end. A firm that is sustaining, recycling and growing over the long term in a way that benefits Notion and the wider eco-system.
Lastly, ‘don’t be a dick’ is something we always have firmly in our minds! We are committed to treating everyone the same. We take our responsibilities seriously and never want to abuse our position – although we do frequently abuse each other!
These are the fibres that bind Notion together and guide our way of life. With the launch of the new brand we have tried to express this through a new identity and new visual and verbal messaging. We think it gives us a strong foundation from which to continue to build the Notion brand and continue to create the conditions for extraordinary success.