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The Knowledge Sharing Society

The Knowledge Sharing Society
June 24, 2020

The need to organize to share best practices on various know-hows has turned some start-ups' tools into social organizing outlets. Almanac, Coda, and Notion are some of the more prominent apps that have seen surging usage in recent weeks as the scope of the protest movement has widened to include more aspects of corporate and social lives. Take Almanac, which is one of a handful of knowledge-sharing companies that are trying to organize information online and make it usable. Almanac was designed to be a go-to resource for professionals looking for examples of things like marketing plans or product management guides. Like Almanac, Coda and Notion have also seen their platforms being used for change. In addition, Black Lives Matter supporters created databases of charities and guides on how to support the movement on Notion, which was shared widely on social media.

These companies are all part of the rise of knowledge-sharing startups meant to make work more organized and collaborative — an area of particular interest for venture capitalists. Coda raised $60M from investors in 2017, and Notion raised $50M at a $2B valuation in April, while Almanac announced a $9M seed funding round in May.

Instead of just being a destination for reading content, like Medium or Wikipedia, the cohort of knowledge-sharing startups are focused on not only helping people create and organize information but also tapping into crowdsourced knowledge that is then shared and published. The goal is to make it easy to go from reading a template or guide to copying it and transforming it into making it your own, all on the same platform.

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Knowledge Sharing Apps:

Coda started in 2014 with a simple observation: In a world full of pre-built tools and applications, why do documents and spreadsheets seem to run the world? The founding Coda team crossed paths at Google, YouTube, and Microsoft, where they saw their teams stretch the limits of what spreadsheets and documents can do. Then in 2014, they banded together to build the doc they always wanted, one that erased the boundaries between words and data and where everyone could work together, in their own way, off the same data.

Notion is pitching customers a vision of consolidated workplace services that are built so end-users can customize them to their needs. Notion’s pitch contrasts pretty heavily with the overarching enterprise SaaS trends which have seen a wealth of specialized software tools hitting the market. Notion is working on tools to help it court larger enterprise customers as well, including offline access, better permission systems, and an API that can help developers connect their services to the platform. 

Founded in 2019, Almanac is a collaborative documentation tool designed to help teams “do their best work.” The service is said to save users time at work by making it fast and easy to discover, customize, and collaborate on knowledge for 15 different roles in technology. Almanac says its mission is to democratize access to 21st-century skills, insights, and tools. 

Airtable is a cloud collaboration service headquartered in San Francisco. It was founded in 2012 by Howie Liu, Andrew Ofstad, and Emmett Nicholas. Airtable is a spreadsheet-database hybrid, with the features of a database but applied to a spreadsheet. The fields in an Airtable table are similar to cells in a spreadsheet, but have types such as 'checkbox', 'phone number', and 'drop-down list', and can reference file attachments like images. Users can create a database, set up column types, add records, link tables to one another, collaborate, sort records, and publish views to external websites.

Funding & Deal Highlights:

Overwolf, the in-game app-development toolkit and marketplace, has acquired Twitch’s CurseForge assets to provide a marketplace for modifications to complement its app development business.

Microsoft announces that it would be acquiring CyberX, a security startup that focuses specifically on detecting, stopping, and predicting security breaches on internet of things networks and the networks of large industrial organizations. Terms of the deal were not being disclosed, but sources say that valuation is in the region of $165M.

Shift Technologies Inc., a San Francisco-based online retailer for used cars, is in talks to merge with Insurance Acquisition Corp., a blank-check company backed by Cohen and Company, per Bloomberg citing sources. Shift is aiming for a valuation of over $500M per a source.

Akouos, a Boston-based biotech developing gene therapies for inner ear disorders, plans to raise $125M via an offering of 8.3M shares priced between $14 to $16.50. AM Ventures (21.6% pre-offering), New Enterprise Associates (18.6%), and Pivotal bioVenture Partners (7.5%) back the firm. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as AKUS. 

Hyliion, an Austin, Texas-based electrified vehicle company, will go public via a merger with a SPAC, Tortoise. The transaction includes a $325M PIPE deal and values the company at $1.5B.

Expereo, the global provider of managed Internet, Cloud access, and SD-WAN solutions, announces the acquisition of connectivity intelligence platform Comsave, accelerating the automation of sourcing and provisioning of its suite of global Internet access services.

Yintech Investment Holdings Limited, a leading provider of investment and trading services for individual investors in China, announces that its board of directors has received a preliminary non-binding proposal letter to acquire all of the outstanding ordinary shares of the Yintech in cash. The proposed transaction, if completed, would result in Yintech becoming a privately-held company owned by the Buyer Group, and the Yintech's ordinary share would be delisted from the NASDAQ. 

Vireo Health International, Inc., the science-focused, multi-state cannabis company with active operations in exclusively medical-only markets and licenses in nine states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, announces that it has reached a definitive agreement with Jushi Inc, a subsidiary of Jushi Holdings, Inc., to divest equity in its subsidiary company, Pennsylvania Medical Solutions, LLC for total consideration of $37M. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.

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