Organisational development at Notion and Itxaso del Palacio’s promotion to Partner.
‘It’s all about the team’ is a mantra we use when making investment decisions, so it’s important we apply the same lens to our own organisation.
At 20 people, Notion is a relatively big team by VC standards. From the get-go, we wanted to build the type of VC we wished we’d had to back us on our own entrepreneurial journey some years ago and a sustainable, multi-generational brand name firm, recognised as the leading European investor in B2B SaaS and enterprise technology. So we have invested heavily in building skills, capability and diversity (albeit from an admittedly low starting point), with succession planning to ensure ongoing relevance and endurance. We are playing the long game at Notion.
Many VC firms hire exclusively bankers and consultants with a focus on ‘smarts’ alone. At Notion, we love smart people and have plenty of them, but our target profile goes well beyond this. We look for the entrepreneurial empathy that only comes from having ‘walked a mile’ in a founder’s shoes (all our senior people have founded/built/led businesses) plus the growth mindset to dream big and drive scale, and a strong cultural fit. Notioners have a strong moral compass but don’t take themselves too seriously and have a lot of fun together and with the extended Notion Family. Our “guiding principles” section on our website summarises all of this well.
Itxaso has been a tremendous addition to the team and we are delighted to announce her promotion to Partner today. No shortage on the ‘smarts’ with a PhD in Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital, she teaches entrepreneurial finance at UCL. She has also founded and built her own startup, so knows how hard this really is. With limitless energy, she covers a huge amount of ground (literally as well as metaphorically!) and is extremely well networked. She is passionate about great products and is probably the most product-led of all the investing partners at Notion. Itxaso has already led three exciting deals at Notion with product-led growth at their core and we expect great things from her.
There have been other developments in the investment team too, with Susie Meier joining us last month as an Investment Associate and the promotions of Stephanie Opdam and Kam Mieczakowski to Vice Presidents. With 6 different European nationalities in the team, we are covering our target markets well.
Beyond the investment team, we have two other critical legs to the firm: Operations, headed by Ian Milbourn and our world-renowned Notion Platform, headed by Stephen Millard. On the former, we have expanded the team considerably over the last year with Jonathan Groves joining as General Counsel and Charlotte Salasky as Investor Relations Director (both announced in January) and Will Southgate’s promotion to Vice President, Finance. On the Platform side, we remain determined to deliver a truly differentiated founder experience, one where we are instrumental in the support we provide. Again a big investment with 6 permanent staff members internally and a long list of experts externally who we can call upon to support and add value to our portfolio. We recently added long-time friend of the firm and go-to-market rock star, Andy Leaver, to our Platform team who has an exceptional profile and pedigree, having been a senior executive at no fewer than 5 consecutive B2B software unicorns (Ariba, SuccessFactors, Bazaarvoice, Workday & Hortonworks) and we promoted Maddy Cross to Talent Director, a real thought-leader on how and when key hires can drive success in B2B SaaS.
So all in all a lot of growth and development at Notion - a tremendously talented team whom I feel privileged to work with and learn from every day but whom I also love spending time with as people. I can’t wait for the end of Covid lock-down to get back together in person.