Notion Capital

London-based venture fund focused on the SaaS-based and cloud computing markets

Summary

Notion is an entrepreneur-led venture capital firm focused on high potential businesses in the Cloud Computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) markets. Based in London, Notion invests across Europe in enterprise tech start-ups, typically growing fast with $1m+ in revenue, and founders who share our burning desire to build global, category-leading companies.

The fund was established in 2009 by Ben White, Chris Tottman, Ian Milbourn, Jos White, Stephen Chandler. It currently manages $350 Million in assets in 55 investments.

History

The White brothers revealed plans to create the fund in October 2008, using around £20 million of the £100 million they made that month from the sale of MessageLabs to Symantec. The brothers, with partners, had earlier built and sold the technology companies RBR Networks, eventually Cisco’s largest distributor in Europe, and then Internet service provider Star Internet. The three companies reached revenues of over US$100m a year. The other founding partners in the fund, Stephen Chandler, Ian Milbourn and Chris Tottman, were all former executives from those companies; Chandler being MessageLabs’ financial director as well as being an investment corporate financier at UBS, and Milbourn a vice-president of corporate finance. Tottman held positions at both MessageLabs and Star.

Investment Criteria

They typically lead, most often syndicating with preferred partners, with a first investment of $3-5m and a commitment to ‘double down’ on their best performing companies. They use the following when considering investing in a new enterprise: An early stage enterprise tech/SaaS company with more than $1m ARR (annualised recurring revenue), strong trailing and expected growth of 2-3X plus, headquartered in Europe, with the ambition to build massive global scale. They demonstrate the leadership, resilience and growth mindset needed for their extraordinary journey, are open to making big, game changing hires and are committed to building a VERY big business”.

Values and Mission

Notion has its roots in SaaS. Indeed with MessageLabs they started a SaaS company in 2000 long before the term even existed. They were calling the delivery model Application Service Provider or ASP.

With MessageLabs they just thought it was a better solution to the growing email-driven virus problem. Residing in the Cloud meant the service was not tethered to any device or location and could draw on economies of scale like a water company that filters its water close to the source. It also gave them access to huge amounts of data that they could tap into and predict when an email contained a virus.

This still informs their thinking to this day. Software should reside wherever it can deliver the most value to the customer. And it should leverage data at scale to further enhance and differentiate that value.

They have now evolved beyond their SaaS roots and now focus on three core delivery models:

  • Software-as-a-Service – software that resides in the cloud as a single instance with either a fixed, subscription or transactional, volume-based revenue model.
  • B2B Marketplaces – an online marketplace serving the needs of a specific industry and digitizing the end to end commercial process.
  • Hardware/Software Hybrids – an ever-increasing array of connected devices and platforms presenting new opportunities for software applications and ongoing service based revenue.

Portfolio

Notion Capital currently invests in the following companies: Adfenix; Adbrain; Apperio; Avrios; Brightpearl; Currencycloud; Dealflo; DemystData; DueDil; elevaate; FiveAI; Futrli; Glofox; glow; GoCardless; hazy; HeyJobs; Idio; KisanHub; localz; Loop Email; Mews; Mojn; New Voice Media; Paddle; Panaseer; ProFinda; scoota; Scortex; shutl; Smartpipe; smartup; Star; Status Today; Topia; Tradeshift; Triptease; Trustev; Unbabel; VirtualStock; Vizolution; Volo; Vortexa; wercker; Workable; youlife.

References