$10m Raised, Pre-Revenue, Notion.ai Adds AI to Email Messaging with Co-Founder Guy Suter


In Episode #529, Nathan interviews Guy Suter and he runs Notion.ai. His mission is to improve communication using artificial intelligence. Previously, he co-founded BitLeap and led the product to the world’s top selling appliance after 2008 acquisition by Barracuda. He started venture data backup, cloud storage, group chat, file sharing with Copy.com and CRM with Nutshell.com



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Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Brand New World
  • What CEO do you follow? – Jay Simons
  • Favorite online tool? — Picasso
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “How early stage capital works…and influence management has been the biggest learning experience”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:35 – Nathan introduces Guy to the show
  • 02:10 – Guy and his co-founder started with a data backup company
  • 02:46 – Notion.ai is currently on prerevenue
  • 03:00 – Notion.ai started 3 years ago
  • 03:47 – Notion.ai was launched in November 2016
  • 04:18 – Digital communication was problematic
  • 04:55 – Notion.ai has raised a total of around $10M
  • 05:13 – Guy started with a lot of SaaS businesses
  • 06:13 – Guy shares the revenue opportunities for Notion.ai
  • 08:00 – There’s a huge barrier in entry to Notion.ai’s space
  • 09:00 – Guy discusses the companies that are trying to make another category
  • 09:40 – Notion.ai is beneficial to everyone who uses email to interact
  • 10:40 – “Our goal is not to make the best email app In the world”
    • 11:00 – Notion.ai has features that differentiate them from others and offer value
    • 11:10 – Notion.ai is more “people-centric”; the focus is on relationships and what’s important based on the message
  • 11:43 – Average number of downloads
    • 12:09 – Notion.ai helps clean-up inboxes quickly
    • 13:00 – Less than a million but more than tens of thousands of downloads
    • 13:39 – The number of downloads consistently grows daily
  • 13:55 – Team size and location
    • 14:20 – Guy shares why they chose Michigan
    • 15:50 – Notion.ai has someone that was from LinkedIn
  • 16:00 – Connect with Guy through Twitter
  • 17:30 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. The digital communication space has been problematic and we need a solution.
  2. Raising big capital on pre-revenue IS possible, if you have a great product that helps people become more efficient in communicating.
  3. Have patience, take time, focus on building the right culture, and get your team on board.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Drip – Nathan uses Drip’s email automation platform and visual campaign builder to build his sales funnel
  • Toptal– Nathan found his development team using Toptal for his new business Send Later. He was able to keep 100% equity and didn’t have to hire a co-founder due to the quality of Toptal
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible.
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books.
  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens and follow-up with email sequences
  • @GuySuter – Guy’s Twitter handle
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives