40% of our new engineering hires will likely be based mostly in India: Notion CEO

In an interview, Ivan Zhao, founder and chief government of Notion, mentioned going ahead, 40% of the corporate’s future international engineering hires will likely be based mostly in Hyderabad.

“We’re specializing in hiring much more right here. In truth, Hyderabad is our solely engineering centre that’s exterior of the US,” Zhao mentioned. The centre in Hyderabad was arrange following Notion’s acquisition of workflow automation platform, Automate.io in a money and inventory deal in September 2021. The latter’s companies and operations have been totally built-in into Notion on 31 October, in line with Automate.io’s web site.

In response to Zhao, Notion presently has 35 staff in India, a determine that he goals to extend within the close to future.

As a platform, Notion provides doc writing, database and data administration, and venture administration as three companies unified below one platform. Zhao claimed that that is what differentiates the platform from different real-time office collaboration and administration platforms resembling Asana and Slack, and even Microsoft Groups.

However, not like its friends, Notion has leveraged its recognition on TikTok amid the pandemic to create communities of customers globally, together with in India.

“Practically 70-80% of our user-based communities are exterior of the US. India is without doubt one of the sizable communities for us on this regard; whereas it’s nonetheless not within the prime 5 among the many international communities, it is without doubt one of the quickest rising ones amongst our prime 10 or 15 geographies,” Zhao mentioned.

These communities have helped bolster Notion’s person base. Zhao mentioned whereas the corporate presently experiences “over 20 million month-to-month energetic customers,” the precise determine is “far more.”

Nevertheless, he declined to share the break up between client and enterprise customers; solely stating that Notion’s income is “predominantly from B2B operations.”

“Loads of our customers are B2C, however our income stream is predominantly from companies. It’s in round 2019 that we made our ‘private person’ plan virtually utterly free, and this contains restricted storage as nicely. We serve startups, mid-sized firms and huge enterprises. Our product is given at no cost, or for actually low-cost, to customers. This helped us construct a superb group of customers world wide, who then took our platform to their workplaces, which helped increase our enterprise,” he mentioned.

Describing the platform as being “product of Legos”, Zhao mentioned that customers are right now leveraging the flexibleness to construct their very own options resembling doc templates on Notion. “Final 12 months, we had various customers who earned over $1 million inside a 12 months, simply by promoting Notion templates or apps that will work on prime of our platform. On web sites resembling Etsy, we have now tons of people that promote Notion templates,” he mentioned.

Zhao mentioned Notion has leveraged this recognition to already develop into worthwhile regardless that he claims to haven’t spent “most” of the corporate’s enterprise capital funding. The newest spherical came about in October 2021, when it raised $275 million in a funding spherical led by Coatue Administration and Sequoia Capital. The corporate was valued at $10 billion on the time.

The corporate is steadily utilizing this funding to increase its implementation of generative AI — which it rolled out final month below ‘Notion AI’.

“We work with distributors to offer the AI instrument, of which OpenAI is one. We use a number of off the shelf language fashions, and faucet the prevailing information on Notion to feed into the AI fashions. By doing this, Notion AI will perceive your beforehand written paperwork in addition to ongoing initiatives, to present outcomes which are very particularly tailor-made to what one explicit person is writing. That is higher compared to a generic platform like ChatGPT, which doesn’t have context of 1 explicit person’s prior work,” Zhao mentioned.

To make certain, use circumstances and functions of generative AI gained prominence after the launch of Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot final November. The instrument, which amassed over 100 million energetic customers throughout the first two months of launching, has since seen a number of rivals and compatriots form up, together with Google’s personal language model-based Bard, and Microsoft’s ChatGPT-based Prometheus Mannequin powering Bing AI search.

The expertise has seen widespread curiosity from all quarters — on 16 April, Mint reported that India’s prime faculties are enterprise generative AI analysis to unravel particular use circumstances inside academia and analysis. One other report on 18 April detailed how India’s bellwether info expertise (IT) companies business is racing to construct generative AI capabilities for shoppers throughout monetary companies, healthcare, retail and different industries.

It’s the latter facet, coupled with the much-debated facet of belief and authenticity within the supply materials of a generative AI instrument, that Zhao mentioned Notion is specializing in.

“Notion right now is without doubt one of the first common cases of AI embedded in present workflows and inside a writing software program, made accessible in a platform the place customers are literally working. What works for us by way of AI is that individuals already belief the knowledge and data they’re feeding to the AI in Notion, which is a bonus compared to bigger rivals,” he mentioned.

This, nevertheless, comes with its personal challenges. In response to Zhao, these embody the price of AI engineers, in addition to the price of distributors that promote the massive language fashions and AI algorithms behind generative instruments. For Notion, OpenAI is certainly one of its distributors, and whereas Zhao mentioned that the corporate can be working with a number of different distributors, he didn’t disclose their names.

Past this, one key problem for Notion additionally lies to find the precise approach to implement AI.

“Integrating AI nicely takes much more, and is determined by the standard that you just wish to create inside a workflow. AI shouldn’t be free, so this wanted us to determine a brand new pricing mannequin the place we can not give all of the options to all customers. There may be additionally a person expertise downside in integrating AI nicely — if you would like simply AI solutions, you’ll be able to merely go to ChatGPT or Google Bard. However, if you would like AI in a instrument that you just’d use on a regular basis, you’d want to determine intelligent person interface or structure trade-offs, which is quite a bit tougher,” he mentioned.

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