Photo: Courtesy of Notion

Notion, a San Francisco-based startup that’s developed a cult following for its cloud-based collaboration tool, raised $50 million in new funding at a $2 billion valuation.

Why it matters: The entire round happened after the coronavirus pandemic spread to the U.S.

  • Index Ventures led the round, and was joined by existing investors.
  • Notion says it's been profitable for the past 18 months.

“I think the velocity of how fast this moved is, I think, something nobody could have predicted,” Notion COO Akshay Kothari tells Axios of the company’s decision to raise funding once the Coronavirus crisis hit.

  • “I think a lot of potential recruits would want to join a stable company, and a lot of our customers would want to use Notion knowing that it’ll be around for a long time,” he adds.
  • According to Kothari, after rebuffing Index Ventures and others for more than a year, the startup called up Index’s Sarah Cannon on Wednesday of last week, and was finalizing the deal by Friday.
  • “The Notion team is visionary, the market is the 1B people that use Microsoft Office, and the engagement looks like Slack,” a source familiar with Index Ventures’ thinking tells Axios.

By the numbers:

  • Grew from one million to four million user in the last year, and saw China-based user signups grow threefold since the virus pandemic started.
  • According to Forbes, the company reportedly has an annualized run rate of $30 million.
  • Notion says its latest funding gives it 10 years of runway.

The big question: “I think long term were most likely an enterprise product,” says Kothari. Can a startup that’s entirely grown on word-of-mouth take on enterprise customers?

Go deeper: Tomorrow's workplace apps are pretty, cloud-based and collaborative

Go deeper

Virtual school is another setback for struggling retail industry

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A virtual school year will likely push retailers even closer to the brink.

Why it matters: Back-to-school season is the second-biggest revenue generating period for the retail sector, after the holidays. But retailers say typical shopping sprees will be smaller with students learning at home — another setback for their industry, which has seen a slew of store closures and bankruptcy filings since the pandemic hit.

45 mins ago - Health

The pandemic hasn't hampered the health care industry

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The economy has been tanking. Coronavirus infections and deaths have been rising. And the health care industry is as rich as ever.

The big picture: Second-quarter results are still pouring in, but so far, a vast majority of health care companies are reporting profits that many people assumed would not have been possible as the pandemic raged on.

Column / Harder Line

How climate and business woes are sinking a natural-gas project

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Trump administration recently touted its approval of America’s first terminal on the West Coast to export liquefied natural gas. There’s just one problem: it probably won’t be built.

Why it matters: The project in southern Oregon faces political and business hurdles serious enough that those who are following it say it will be shelved. Its problems embody the struggles facing a once-promising sector that's now struggling under the weight of the pandemic and more.